5 Full Days of Celebration

by tinareale on December 26, 2012

And just like that, another Christmas has come and gone.

After spending the past five days celebrating in various ways, the alarm this morning felt rather surreal. I can hardly believe it is all over and its time to get back to normal, everyday living. That doesn’t mean I can’t extend Christmas just a wee bit longer, though, by remembering the festivities today (then possibly having a special gift for you all tomorrow).

We started celebrating the merriment this past Friday night with a holiday party with our friends. We all gathered together to share some sweet & salty dishes plus have a little fun with a White Elephant gift exchange. Gosh, I always love those types of parties!

I brought a couple books I had already read plus a couple extra bags of Love Grown granola to share since I always like to spread the love. I think my gift was well received. As was all the delicious food! I enjoyed a couple mini sweet potato and black bean burgers alongside some pita chips and hummus to start, then definitely sampled the desserts of all shapes and sizes.

We had a fabulous time to kick off our holiday festivities, which all continued into the weekend when we celebrated Christmas with Peter’s family on Sunday afternoon after church.


I have to say, I feel very appreciative for his mother’s decision to celebrate on a different day to allow us all more time on Christmas day for other places to visit. Typically, we would make the stop here last and feel rushed and have to deal with exhausted kids just ready to go home. This time though, we could really spend time with family and enjoy the day together. We did so in the usual Italian style – packed rooms, lots of conversation, family joking and heckling, and the traditional feast of ravioli, sausage, and meatballs.



It may not be my personal favorite, but I think the kids like it. What do you think? Ha! I also know I still quite enjoyed the meal for the time together. Plus, I always have room for the numerous cookies that come with the day. You better believe I had myself more than a couple from the cookie platters…which somehow I never got a picture of them. I guess I was too busy taste testing the different kinds. Whoops? Nah!

Eventually, we did gifts with his family and then had to make our way home for bedtime for the kids. What a long, busy day but the fun was only just beginning as we welcomed my family into our home on Christmas Eve. We pretty much lounged around most of Christmas Eve afternoon, laughing and sharing memories over a glass of red wine and some of my Tortellini Soup for dinner.

I couldn’t have asked for a better evening…unless of course if Heather and Tim were able to be there (my sister and her fiancé). It’s okay – they came for the big stuff the following morning. I have to say that seeing the delight on the kids’ faces as they come around the corner Christmas morning never fails to make my heart swell with my own overflowing happiness. Although probably not as much happiness as when they get more excited over the fact it is for Jesus’ birthday.


Their gifts were well received – Makenzie got “all things Hello Kitty!!!” just as she asked and Braedon loved his new Mickey Mouse toys.



That dancing Mickey came from my uncle and was such a huge hit. I think the breakdancing Mickey (yes, breakdancing Mickey) is really cool right now but we’ll see how I feel after hearing him dance and sing for the next week straight. At least he doesn’t sing “hot dog hot dog hot diggity dog”. You moms know what I’m talking about no doubt.

Moving on. Even after all that fun, we still weren’t done. One last special place to visit – my G-Pa’s for Christmas lunch with my dad’s side of the family.



Once again, it felt great to really have time to spend with all of my cousins, aunts, and uncles instead of having to rush from one place to the next. Just as to be expected, our time here included even more reminiscing, laughter, catching up, food, and more wine.


We left late that afternoon officially full – of good food…and also love and cheer. I hope for all who celebrated that yours was just the same. Now time to get back to reality! Have a great day!

Your Turn: What was the best part of your celebrations of any of your holiday fun (no matter what you celebrate)? 


1 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More December 26, 2012 at 6:24 am

Looks like you guys had quite the busy and FUN weekend! We had Christmas Eve with my mom’s extended family at our house for the first time this year since it’s impossible for my grandma to host anymore. It was fun and there was Glugg to be had which was even better! ;)

2 Glenneth December 26, 2012 at 6:48 am

we had a quiet, relaxing couple of days with our families. always great to get together and talk and eat. LOVE the picture of you and your munchkins.

3 Angela @ Happy Fit Mama December 26, 2012 at 7:06 am

My daughter asked for the same thing – everything had Hello Kitty in front of it. Even a Hello Kitty surfboard. I didn’t check to see if they make those but I’m sure they do! Christmas morning was the best. Seeing their little faces light up – magic!

Looks like a wonderful Holiday!

4 Linz @ Itz Linz December 26, 2012 at 7:12 am

So many celebrations and they all look so fun! The best part for sure is spending time with loved ones – family and friends!

5 [email protected] December 26, 2012 at 7:44 am

I love watching everyone open their gifts!

6 Paige @ Your Trainer Paige December 26, 2012 at 7:59 am

What a wonderful celebration you all had! Love Makenzie’s hair in the Christmas morning picture, and in the one with you – hello mini Tina!! :D

7 Lauren December 26, 2012 at 8:10 am

Looks simply fabulous!!! So glad you had such a blessed holiday Tina. :)

8 Madeline @ Food Fitness and Family December 26, 2012 at 8:19 am

Awesome celebrations! My favorite part of celebrating now is seeing the magic in Em’s eyes. That and family Christmas Eve mass services.

9 tinareale December 27, 2012 at 6:59 am

The way kids’ eyes light up definitely makes it that much more special, huh?

10 katie December 26, 2012 at 8:19 am

So cute and fabulous! Glad you had lots of day of celebrating and family fun!

I know she loved that bike and love her PJ’s! So cute!

Best part of christmas was family time for me! I enjoyed every minute and Baby G is the best gift <3

11 Laura @ Mommy Run Fast December 26, 2012 at 8:56 am

What a fun weekend! Yours looks very much like our usual holiday- several days of hopping from party to party and seeing both sides of the family. This year, we stayed home since we had just flown home for Thanksgiving, and a quiet Christmas was a treat, too. Much more restful then usual, and very sweet to see L so excited about the special day!

12 Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile December 26, 2012 at 9:22 am

Looks like such a wonderful Christmas!! Glad you had a great one :D

13 Kierston December 26, 2012 at 9:59 am

Awesome! I love the holidays…so much love to be around!

You make me wanna get red pants!

14 Sharla December 26, 2012 at 10:03 am

Glad you had such a good time with your family! I heard some people commenting about how tired they were and ready for Christmas to be over…our holidays are always packed with places to go, but to me that means we are more than blessed with family to love! Happy New Year :)

15 Olivia Hill @ life as liv December 26, 2012 at 10:19 am

What a happy, happy looking family on Christmas! Hope it was wonderful!

16 Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) December 26, 2012 at 11:00 am

What a wonderful Christmas! I love the close of of you and M. You both are so beautiful! Merry Christmas, Tina :)

17 Kristen @ Be Fit with Kristen December 26, 2012 at 1:28 pm

My favorite part about the holidays is getting together with family. We rarely are all together at the same time so it’s nice. I also love the decorations and holiday cheer! Fortunately I don’t have to get back to reality until next Wednesday. I’m sure that’s going to be a big shock for me. :)

18 tinareale December 27, 2012 at 7:00 am

Enjoy all that time off!! :)

19 Bethany @ Accidental Intentions December 26, 2012 at 2:02 pm

What a fabulous extended Christmas celebration! I love that your kids get excited about it being Jesus’ birthday — that is just too wonderful. As far as my Christmas celebration goes, the best part is definitely being together with the whole family. I only have three cousins, and the six of us (me + 2 siblings + 3 cousins) are all really close. My oldest cousin is a lot like a big brother to me (bullying and all, even though we’re 22 and 24 now ;) ), but I rarely get to see him because he’s lived all over the country/world since he graduated from college. The family reunion that comes with Christmas is definitely my favorite part :)

20 [email protected] Palate December 26, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Looks like a great few days! Best part is the kids, loved how much my little niece was in to it this year. Today was great, a second more relaxed family meal followed by an afternoon of playdough and cookie making! :)

21 Katie @ KatieEnPursuit December 26, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Merry belated Christmas! Looks like you all had a busy & fun-filled weekend! I would have to say my fav part was time spent with family, lots of meals together over the past few days. :)

22 jobo December 26, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Looks like an awesome holiday, my friend! Similar to mine in that celebrating was drawn out more, so we had more time with each family, which is always such fun. LOVE the pics of the kids getting their gifts!

23 Amanda @RunToTheFinish December 26, 2012 at 4:25 pm

It does feel really strange that it’s all over and we had even less craziness than you!! I think holidays with kids are a lot more exciting so everything here is really low key

24 Nick Goodall December 26, 2012 at 6:35 pm

It does seem a shame that it comes and goes so quickly, but to be honest, I’d been slacking with my routines because of it, so I’m somewhat glad to get back to doing stuff!

It looks like you had an awesome Christmas, the photos of food and family cheer sure seem to show it. The anecdote of your kids coming down on Christmas morn is likely one of the most heart-warming things I’ve read!

The best part for me has to be the food and the family coming together, it’s something to look forward to all year :)

25 tinareale December 27, 2012 at 7:02 am

Definitely! I hope yours was wonderful as well. :)

26 Pavement Runner December 26, 2012 at 7:40 pm

Everyone looks so happy!

And yes, wine is mandatory.

27 Coco December 26, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Love all the picks! You certainly don’t look like you’ve over-indulged this holiday season. :-)
We did our big dinner on Christmas Eve, which made Christmas day very relaxing!

28 Jess December 27, 2012 at 11:42 am

LOVE all the family pics from your holidays, such a special time spent with family and friends simply enjoying and embracing the love that surrounds us all. Just the best.

PS. My niece Isabel LOVES Hello, Kitty but instead of calling it that she calls it ‘Kitty Hello’ — she kills me with cuteness!!

PPS. My favorite memory from this past week? Cookie baking with Isabel in my kitchen, she just brings such joy to the room! <3

29 [email protected] December 27, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Looks like a fabulous Christmas! Glad you got to spend it with the kiddos & family <3

30 Bek @ Crave December 28, 2012 at 12:21 am

I loved giving the presents and seeing peoples’ reactions. It warms your heart. I think that’s great that you could split up the holiday visits- sometimes it can take away some of the fun of Christmas when you’re rushing the whole day.

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