Christmas really snuck up on me this year, suddenly it was the 20th of December and I hadn't made serious plans for our family activities. But we've already enjoyed some pre-Christmas fun; here's a few highlights. . .
We had a baking marathon at my friend Rachel's on Friday. The plan was to arrive at about 5, eat a quick meal together, and then put the kids to bed (we can manage to get all four of them to bed in one house by some creative means!) and then start baking. But the best laid plans sometimes get postponed a little. It seemed like there was one child or another crying until about 9:30 pm, so our baking efforts were somewhat interrupted. We did manage however, to turn out around 135 cookies or so, including classic Christmas cut-outs, snickerdoodles, and peanut butter cookies. The last cookies were out of the oven and the oven turned off at 11:50pm! John and I didn't get home until about 1:30; it was definitely a marathon event, a real memory-maker! Around midnight or so, the combined effect of lack of sleep and sugary cookies made for some pretty funny moments!
Our idea was then to package them up, take them to a busy downtown location today, and give them out to people, hopefully with an opportunity to share about the true meaning of Christmas. I think this will be a new tradition for us here in our city. It went really well today and we were glad to share with a few folks, though it is so easy for us to attract a crowd here that it was tough to give out anything to one person without 27 other people wanting to see what we were doing. There must have been several thousand people milling about this public square, and we only had about 30 packages to give away. But it was a great opportunity and I'm really glad we did it.
Last night our house helper, Mimi, invited her family and friends to join us at our house for a Christmas party. They came, three different families bringing three children, all between 1 and 2 years of age. We ate snacks, showed them how to decorate cookies, sang lots of Christmas songs around our piano, and read the Christmas story. Other than that, the children (five altogether including our two) ran the show. It was true chaos. The kids played and fought over toys and spilled their drinks and dropped bits of cookie all through the house . . . you know, all the things kids do. It was great fun though! Take a look at a few more pictures:
We gave them some gifts at the end that included a CD of Christmas music, a movie that included the story of the first Christmas, and some other great reading material. Though our house was a huge mess after they left, we were so glad to be able to share with these dear people. I have to say it was really fun for me to see Clara Anne running around and having a great time with little Asianese kids. They just play, they don't worry about the language barrier!