We spent Christmas Eve at my grandma's house with most-but-not-all of my extended family. It snowed about three inches through the day, which was beautiful to look at but made for a slow drive home (thanks to Josh for getting all of us back to my parents' house safely!).
For the first time in a few years, my brother and sister and I were all at my parents' house on Christmas morning. It was a special year for that to happen, because it was their first Christmas at their new house. For a house they bought only a couple of months ago, it was amazing how comfortable and cozy and festive it felt: not strange, not even that new. It's a good place.
Wish, by the way, was loving having a bunch of family around. He has long considered my mom, sister and dad among his closest confidants, but after this holiday, we add my brother and my sister's boyfriend to that list. He also loved running around in the backyard and on quiet snowy roads.
He even has his own stocking. What's not to love?
His stocking included a cookie cutter shaped like a Keeshond (that's his primary breed, but he's definitely not purebred). I loved it!
After stockings, we went upstairs to open the gifts under the tree.
My mom and dad gave each other pans!
Josh and I borrowed my brother's rake in October and may have possibly not returned it yet. This Christmas, there was a mysteriously shaped package under the tree with our names on it.
Our own rake!
Many, many thanks to each family member (and Santa) for the sweet gifts.
We posed for a few photos...
...before heading to my aunt's house for the rest of Christmas Day. This is also her first year in a new home, and it was perfect for our group. (I was between Josh and my brother at the dinner table.)
Later, as longstanding tradition dictates, we played White Elephant, the dice game that rewards rolling doubles with prizes (and sometimes "prizes"). There were tons of dice being circulated, but my very favorite was the tiniest little dice you could ever imagine.
(My winnings were a box of tea and a box of Clif Bars!)
After the game and dessert, my aunt took us on a quick walk to see the neighborhood lake at night. It was a gorgeous evening and not too cold.
And then we went back to my parents' house, where we relaxed on the couches, visited with my parents and enjoyed our White Elephant prizes. And Wish fell asleep with the cheetah.
We missed our Colorado family, but it was a wonderful holiday in Minnesota.