First thing in the morning I headed off to two malls with my mom for some last minute shopping.
I though the experience would be horrible (considered setting up a search party to come find me if I didn't return in 3 hours), but it was actually fairly crowd free and I was able to accomplish rather quickly what I wanted to accomplish.
Then we had a lovely lunch of Kneaders sandwiches--which would be our only Turkey for the day.
After cleaning up the kitchen and dining room at my parents house, I set the table in festive fashion (we need more candles next year--but it was pretty).
And then I set about making dinner (my mom doesn't enjoy cooking and so things like Sunday dinner or Holiday dinners often fall to me). This year, because we had nearly as many vegetarians as meat eaters, we decided to do cheese-stuffed jumbo pasta shells.
I whipped those up early and then put them in the refrigerator until we were ready to throw them in the oven. Then I made the Christmas challah bread from scratch (and it turned out so beautifully) before moving on to a batch of cookies for Santa--decorated in extreme fashion by a 3 year old.
The kitchen was getting pretty hot by this point, but everything was running smoothly and I was finished with all these preparations around 5:30.
Dinner wasn't until 7:30 so I had some time to breath a little until it was time to make a green salad (so if you are counting, that means I made the salad, main course, and bread all from scratch--we bought the cake a store and that is a happy tradition I can live with).
Then we all sat down to dinner and it was delicious (if I may say so myself) and a new non stressful tradition of pasta on Christmas Eve was been born at my house (we did the traditional Turkey dinner on Sunday when the meat eaters outnumbered the vegetarians and it was miserable and stressful and not at all fun--partially, I'm sure, because my mom doesn't cook and so her kitchen is not well equipped).
Then my we read a book that combined the Christmas story from Luke with some beautiful paintings before settling in for viewings of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" and "While you were Sleeping."
Christmas Day was a bit of a blur, but Christmas Eve, as I said, neared perfection:
and a great deal of Holiday Spirit