We had a fun and low key Christmas this year, spent with family in northern California.
Christmas Eve was spent with Bill’s parents at a Chinese restaurant in Newark that we frequent. It’s right down the street from their house and the Cantonese-style food is consistently good. We order the same dishes almost every time as well… green beans with minced pork, fried pork shops with a sweet sauce, and we go back and forth between a steamed whole sea bass or catfish with black bean sauce on a bed of soft tofu or a deep fried whole flounder with a delicious sauce that I have no idea what it’s made of. Tommy devours the fish and pork!
That night, about halfway thru our meal, a handful of police officers from the Newark Police Department arrived for their dinner. As much as it surprised our server, we happily paid their bill. It was Christmas Eve and these guys were on duty, it was the least we could do.
Tommy was thrilled when one of the officers gave him a sticker that looked like a police badge. He wears it proudly on his backpack now.
As Tommy gets older, Christmas is becoming more and more fun for all of us. He kept telling me that he was going to go find Santa as soon as he heard him on the roof. When I told him that Santa knows when kids wake up and that he might not leave any presents if he woke up, he changed his plan, stating he was just going to stay in his room if he “heard a thump on the roof.”
Helping Jackie decorate spritz cookies… a cookie that we only make for Christmas. One taste and so many wonderful memories from my childhood come to me.
He was also mesmerized by the Christmas tree and Mom and Dad’s house. We only have a little four-foot tree at home… with plans to get a bigger tree once we’re living in a more permanent house. And, to be honest, Bill and I never really had the motivation to get a normal tree until Tommy came along.
This year was the first year he was hugely anticipating a visit from Santa Claus. We set out some cookies and chocolate milk and a couple of carrots for the reindeer. He dictated the note to Jackie and then signed his own name.
Getting him to bed on Christmas Eve was a challenge. I think he finally settled down and fell asleep close to 11pm. It made me laugh since I distinctly remember being just as restless every year when I was a kid.
Christmas morning, Tommy was awake at a reasonable time (about 8:30), but the “rule” was we couldn’t open any presents until Grandma was up. She was up shortly after and he LOVED seeing his gifts from Santa and getting to open presents from Grandma and Grandpa.
We got dressed and headed to Jan and Mark’s house for brunch and some more gift opening. Newly-married Scott and Cindy joined us along with Scott’s two kids, Genevieve and Max. Jan and Mark had a sunroom built on what was their patio and it worked perfectly as a comfortable space for us to eat brunch and open gifts.
Jan got a new DSLR earlier in the year and is working on taking more photos whenever we get together, so we took a group shot that morning.
Tommy was such a ham.
We headed back to Mom and Dad’s house after brunch to relax, play with new toys and take a nap. Yes, more than just Tommy took a nap.
Then we headed back to Jan and Mark’s house for Christmas dinner. Grandma was able to join us too.
We enjoyed a delicious prime rib roast with Yorkshire pudding, grilled brussels sprouts and a couple of salads. Mom found a recipe for scalloped potatoes that didn’t have them smothered in cheese that was really delicious.
We also had a few yummy hors d’oeuvres. Tommy was particularly fond of a baked, bacon and bleu cheese dip that Beverly made. I think a few folks were impressed with him liking bleu cheese. So far we have yet to find a cheese he doesn’t like!
Jan set the table with three different sets of china that all belong to Grandma.
This one was a setting that belonged to Great-Grandma Reeves and was the set she received when she got married.
This one, called Blue Danube, was a set that Grandma slowly collected when she and Grandpa were RVing across the country.
The third was a setting that Jan and Mom’s late brother, Steve brought back with him from Vietnam and gave to Grandma.
I loved the different place settings and how eclectic it all looked. It made for a very pretty table for Christmas dinner.
My two favorites of the evening: the scalloped potatoes and Bill’s pan-fried brussels sprouts with bacon. Yum!
Dinner was amazing and it was a really nice, chill day. A happy Christmas for us all.