wright family christmas 2018
our christmas 2018 was so, so, so merry. we kept things simple and expectations low given that gabriel and i landed in london after a transatlantic red-eye flight on the morning of christmas eve. and the 24th, 25th, and 26th of december were just the sweetest, happiest days, full of excitement and magic and love for baby jesus and each other.
on christmas eve we had our traditional "jerusalem supper" (the recipes i use each year are here and we love them) and talked about the nativity story. then we got the boys dressed in their matching christmas pajamas!
we got to take a bunch of food, treats and presents to the hospital near our home to act as "santa's helpers" for a family that we have become friends with that has struggled over the past few months with significant health issues. the boys were pretty excited to be dressed as "elves" - ian even gelled their hair into what he dubbed "elf hairdos." here's some attempts at a cute wright bothers photo ... haha!
our walk home from the hospital was lovely. it wasn't too cold and there was excitement in the still air and we passed some fun decorated houses.
we lit our german christmas pyramid and sang some carols together before bed. my heart was sure glowing while taking in this scene:
moses got to hear the bells from santa's sleigh right before bedtime! ;) ian and i stuffed stockings and set out gifts and remarked at how wonderful it was to be back all together. gabriel woke a few times in the night thanks to jet lag but as i nursed him back to sleep i read reflections about the saviour's birth and felt the wonder of christmas deep in my bones. when we woke up to moses's voice in the morning, i was confused because there was sunlight peaking through our curtains. it was 8:30am! this was a true christmas miracle (mo usually wakes up before 7am). oooooh man there's nothing like that giddy christmas morning feeling (and this was intensified by the refreshment of having slept much longer than expected!).
mo was thrilled to see that santa had left a full stocking on the inside of his door! and was delighted by every simple item that he pulled out.
i thought we may have to do christmas morning part 1 and 2 - assuming gabriel would sleep in a lot with his jet lag. but he woke up happy just before 9 and joined in the stocking fun!
we said a prayer of gratitude and then headed into our "big room" to see if santa had brought anything there! mo ran up to the two little boxes of "trains and train tracks" waiting for him, looked at them with wide eyes for a couple seconds and then exclaimed, "i was a good boy!" haha! he was thrilled that he'd "passed" and santa brought him what he asked for! the trains and train tracks came out of the box and were played with immediately :)
we helped the boys pick out gifts for each other and for mommy and daddy in the weeks leading up to christmas, which was so fun. here's a blurry picture capturing the moment that the present moses picked out for gabriel was unwrapped! gabe was excited but moses was thrilled. a little ball pit!
and here's ian opening up a gift from me while the boys very happily played with their new toys:
and here's a couple photos of the boys being forced leave said toys for a couple minutes to take a family photo. haha! these are the best we could do this year:
i had been so worried that gabriel would be grumpy on christmas because of jet lag, but he was super happy. like, maybe the happiest i have ever seen him! i was sooooo glad to see him heartily enjoy his first christmas. he sure knew it was a special, merry day!
we have a tradition of not cleaning up any of the wrapping paper until all the gifts are opened. it's just such a happy mess! we are pretty deliberate about limiting gifts (one from santa, one from parents, one from each family member, one from each grandparent) ... but it still felt like so much!
we also have a tradition of going to a church service every christmas. the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints doesn't hold services on christmas day unless it falls on a sunday, so we get to join with christians of other denominations with this tradition, which we love. in the past we have attended services at london's most iconic and historical churches: st. martin's in the field, westminster abbey, and st. paul's cathedral. this year we went to our neighborhood anglican church. we pass this building all the time but hadn't yet been in - and it's so beautiful! the music and messages at christmas mass were really lovely, but we had to leave before they were over thanks to an overactive toddler ;) here he is running to church on christmas morning in his candy cane stripped pjs:
after church i made our traditional eggs benedict (and totally messed up the hollandaise sauce again...arg! we are actually going to try starting up a different christmas breakfast tradition next year). and kept at it with present opening and toy playing:
we facetimed grandma and grandpa and grammie and grandfather to thank them for their gifts and wish they happy christmas.
and played and played as nighttime descended.
of course baby gabriel's favourite thing to play with was the wrapping paper :)
and, as always, my nose (this baby is constantly grabbing my face, haha!).
we invited our neighbors over for dinner (leftovers from the jersualem supper) and to join us in our tradition of having a birthday cake for jesus. we lit the candles, sang heartily, and enjoyed chocolate peppermint yumminess.
another awesome attempt at a nice family picture: :)
when we cuddled up in bed that night, i told ian that i was soooooooo happy. every moment of christmas just felt so wonderful.
on boxing day, we went on our traditional bike ride. this year both ian and i had a baby strapped to our bodies! we took it really slow and careful on empty hyde park paths and everyone had a blast, even in the cooooold.
and we enjoyed these pretty wreaths in our neighborhood on the way home.
that afternoon, we went to harrods to look at the window displays and roam the toy department, just for fun. these are the only two pictures i got of that excursion, but check out the pure joy in that face!
and the next morning, it was time to start putting away the christmas stuff and get ready for our family trip to rome. i snapped these photos of moses in front of our advent calendar to send to ian's mom. she made this for us - an exact replica of the one she made and used with ian and his siblings as they grew up. moses loooooved putting a new ornament on the tree each morning throughout december.
i have a feeling that christmases are just going to get better and better around here. this christmas was so very, very merry and i'm already looking forward to next!