After a beautiful Christmas Eve service at our church, we traveled to Al's brother's house for our Christmas celebration with Al's family. They made low-fat, low-sodium dishes for Al to eat, along with some regular dishes. The fish chowder (healthy) was delicious! We had a great time, as usual, and Gail brought her boyfriend, John. It was his first time meeting Al's extended family. We left there at midnight, Al and I each driving our own cars in order to make more room for everyone. Missy and Gail drove their cars too, but we had David with us, so we needed both our cars. We got home at 1, and Al went right to bed, but I filled stockings. It was before close to 2 before I got to bed.
Despite the late bedtime, I woke up before 7 on Christmas Day. I prepared the turkey to go into the oven and put the stuffing into the crock pot to cook. (We couldn't have ham so we made turkey instead.) In order to make it festive, I put cranberries in the stuffing. Cooking it in the crock pot was a suggestion from a friend of ours. She also suggested stuffing the turkey with orange and lemon slices, with onions and a sprig of rosemary. It came out good! Once the turkey and stuffing were cooking, I began preparations for our traditional breakfast of scrambled eggs and grapefruit, with oatmeal and cantaloupe for Al. When everyone woke up, we opened our stockings and ate breakfast. To my surprise, I found a scented candle in mine.... Al had slipped it in while I was filling the other stockings. Missy and Eric and Gail and John arrived just after we got dressed. After setting out snacks and making coffee, we sat down to open our gifts. Al read a Scripture, as he does every Christmas morning. It was a particular blessing this year! As we opened our gifts, we found a few unexpected surprises. For example, I had gotten (by request) boots for Janet and shoes for Erin, and one of the girls had gotten shoes for Caroline! I think Gail got shoes from someone as well. I was surprised and tickled to receive several gifts from John, as well as from Gail, and a pair of red Scottie dog pajamas from Missy. It touched me that she remembered how her grandmother used to breed Scottie dogs. Last year she gave her little niece, Noelle, a stuffed Scottie dog for the same reason. Well, finally we had finished with all of our gifts except a long rectangular package from Al to me, which I assumed was a bathrobe (one of the ideas I had given him), and then the surprise gift we were all anticipating from the girls to Al. Well, he brought me the box, and I opened it. I immediately saw that it was not a bathrobe. I saw these cylindrical drawings on the box and thought, "oh, good; he got me glassware.... we always need that! But this is a strange way to pack glassware!" Well, as I actually began to open the box, I saw the words "Personal Computer" written on it. I STILL didn't get it.... I thought "why would they pack glassware in a personal computer box?" I was floored when I opened the box and found..... an HP LAPTOP, the very one on which I'm typing this post! Well, needless to say, I was thrilled. It was one of those "I'd love to have it but it's impossible" things. Al said, "Well, that was the big gift for this year," little knowing what Missy, Gail, and Caroline had in store for him. They went downstairs ahead of us, and he followed, with me close behind. I got there just in time to hear him say, "ALL RIGHT!"and see his face when he discovered..... a TREADMILL! I had known about this for a couple of weeks and had been given the assignment of NOT letting him buy one. It was very difficult. The day we got the Christmas tree I had to enlist the help of one of his friends who was trying to tell Al where he could get the best deals on treadmills. Dinner was suppose to be at two, but we didn't actually eat till four. After dinner we played some games and had dessert. then Al helped me set up my laptop and tried out his treadmill. We had so much fun, and since the next day was Sunday, I did not have to go to work. We enjoyed the "afterglow" of Christmas in our church service with our brethren in Christ..... always a blessing, and we still had Dave, Becca's, and Noelle's arrival to look forward to on Tuesday evening. I even got an extra day off on Monday because of a heavy snowstorm!