We had planned to celebrate with friends, because Bubba and Grandpa (my parents) were originally headed to NH to visit with my brother's family this year. Grandpa Murphy and Miss Suzanne were headed off to Atlanta to visit with her children and grandchildren.
But due to an unfortunate health scare, we received my parents early to Florida. Definitely a silver lining for us, especially since everything is okay with their health. Not so much joy for my brother and his family, though. We obviously felt bad for them as the ones to spend the holidays alone, but we also felt incredibly grateful to have Bubba and Grandpa here with us in Florida for the holidays.
And then, our Aunt Diane and Uncle Rick decided to come down, too. They'd realized that there won't be too many more years to enjoy the magic of our children's innocent joy on Christmas morning. They had planned to stay at Grandpa Murphy's--which is about thirty minutes away--but thanks to some divine intervention, the garage door code didn't work. So we drummed up a fine little 'Plan B' for them to stay at our house. We enjoyed Christmas Eve Mass together at SVF and had dinner with Bubba and Grandpa at their house. And it was such a blessing to have them right there with us! Little did we know, they had never actually witnessed the magic of Santa firsthand, not having children of their own. What a gift it was for them, and for us, to watch Madi and Charlie discover their goodies from Santa that next morning!
Charlie definitely embraced the ripping open of packages this year. He seemed to understand the concept much more than last year's festivities. Madi, who'd asked for nothing more than "a surprise" from Santa (even though she'd written a note for Peter--our elf on the shelf--to deliver to Santa, asking for parallel bars), was happy to receive a few special things. Her favorite of which was a pile of lumber and hardware in our backyard, along with a note:
"Dear Madi,I understand that you’ve wanted me to bring you a set of your very own parallel bars. As much as I would like to grant your Christmas wish, you must understand that Santa’s first priority is keeping children safe. Therefore, I cannot give you this gift at this time.
Yours truly,Santa Claus
Wishing you all a blessed Christmas season and all of the best gifts in 2013, too!