We woke Christmas Eve and started on our way to the meet Jennifer, Madalyn and Derek at Fair Oaks Mall to visit with Santa. This is one my very favorite activities during the holiday season. We have been coming to visit with this Santa for many, many years. According to Jennifer, “Why would we go anywhere else, he is the perfect Santa”.
Randy and I were very surprised to see that the line was not very long. One year we were in line for three hours when Derek was three months old. Fortunately, Derek slept most of the time and we took turns staying in line while other members of the family did some shopping. This time we were only in the line for 1 ½ hours.
The theme this year was Ice Age Continental Drift so there were character displays and other activities for the children as they waited in line. Madalyn and I spent a few moments at Teavana sampling their wonderfully flavorful Chai tea and looking at all the beautiful tea sets on display. Before you knew the children were sitting on Santa’s lap and sharing what they wanted for Christmas.
We spent a little time shopping and then stopped at Starbucks for mochas and hot chocolate and then back to the hotel for us and a short nap before getting ready for dinner and church. I was so excited when we came out of the mall and realized that is snowing. Snowing!!! I ran over to a tree and asked Randy to take a picture hoping to capture the snow falling. Of course, I look wonderful but you really cannot see the snow. Then we came back to our hotel and took a video of the snow falling to send back to our neighbors in Florida. Silly, yes but funny too.
Jennifer and family, and Kristine would be spending Christmas Eve with their dad and Bonnie having dinner at Carrabba’s, church service and opening presents then home for a good night’s sleep and dreams of Santa leaving presents under the tree. Randy and I had a quiet dinner and attended mass at St. Timothy’s.
We arrived very, very early at Jennifer’s and enjoyed a very tasty egg casserole, eggnog pound cake and coffee for breakfast. Derek played Santa finding and giving a presents to each member of the family. I really loved that time was given to each family member to read the tags, open the gifts and share them with the family before moving on to the next present.
Presents opened, wrappings discarded, the children were off to spend time discovering all the ins and outs of their new possessions. The adults spent time in various activities around the house. As I was helping Jennifer set the dinner table when Randy came running into the dining room to let me know that neighbors Janice and Pat were heading out. Randy knew that I wanted to wish them a Merry Christmas before we left town. By the time I got back to the house the dinner table was set and dinner ready to put on the table.
We started dinner first opening our crackers that were filled with paper crowns, toys and jokes. We put on our crowns, took turns reading the jokes and then settled in to enjoy a wonderful dinner. Jennifer had prepared a glazed, spiral-cut ham, scalloped potatoes, asparagus, shoepeg corn, rolls and butter. Everything was wonderful. This wonderful dinner was followed with slices of pumpkin and apple pie ala-mode for dessert.
It was time to pack up, give hugs all around and say our goodbyes. Jennifer, Kevin and the kids needed family time, Kristine needed to get home and rest up before returning to work the next day and we needed to get back to our hotel room to pack.
Tomorrow we are back on the road and heading to Alabama to see daughter Kara and the girls.