The day after Operation: Christmas Cheer came Operation: Home for Christmas. Which got off to a rocky start when my train was delayed 3 hours due to a fire on the tracks in West Philadelphia. I was so happy when my train finally arrived that I barely noticed that the license plate didn't say "Fresh" nor were there dice in the mirror
I was able to be home for a full two and a half weeks, which were jam packed. Serious busy-ness going on. I worked from home the first 4 days, wrapped all the presents, did a lot of baking, a lot of decorating, even some cooking, plus some shopping, visiting, and eventually some lazing, too.
These are some of the decorations. The top middle photo is the bonsai tree with some ornaments and a bow because Mom and I got a little silly. The middle photo is a bunch of the figure decorations. Daddy thought they looked ready to attack, so I put them in a more proper formation with the Nutcracker leading the way. The bottom picture is Daddy wearing the Christmas card holder as a hat. The big left picture is the tree, the most beautiful one in years according to the parents. The big right picture is the Christmas eve table scape with Grandma's china and Christmas tree napkin holders. Plus Mom's tree display in the center.
These are the cookies I baked. I did everything but the magic cookie bars. I even made some cookies that I don't even like. (Which weren't nearly as fun to taste test, of course.) I don't mind baking but standing up for hours did take its toll on my getting-older body. And I did swear. A lot. (Which I think Mom got a little too used to because she barely checked on me.)
This was the first year I contributed to Christmas Eve dinner. I made shrimp ceviche and baked brie. I'm not sure the change was fully enjoyed by all, but I thought they were good.
This is the second year that it has just been me and the parents first thing Christmas morning. It's still a little weird but better than last year, especially since everyone was able to come over in the afternoon. I always end up taking pictures at our gatherings and luckily everyone usually humors me. First set are our candid shots, second set are our posed ones.
And that was Christmas at home. Unfortunately, Mom was sick for about a week of it so we didn't get out and about as much as we usually do, though she did rally to take me to traipse around Chapel Hill, which was Heaven, of course. And the day before that I went with Daddy to Greenville, on what was supposed to be just a trip to Harbor Freight but we ended up adding several other stops and got home many hours later.
I'm the middle child so I never got the parents all to myself. So I'm not going to lie, it was kind of nice to just chill with them every evening, even when we were each huddled around our laptops and even when I was forced to watch HGTV or Duck Dynasty. I know I'm forgetting tons of stuff but know that I was in North Carolina, with my family, and it was good.