Alright, let's see how much I can remember from Christmas...
First, a roll call of who was present: Kyle's parents, Evan, and Mollie were all there. Evan's friend Laurel was also there, with her son Paul (who is approximately 3 and adorable). Oh, also Kyle and me. So we were missing Mike, Erin & Bryce with their sons Will and Sawyer, and Megan & Chad.
On Christmas Eve, Kyle's family always does a short "program" in which everybody either reads a short story or plays a song. I like this tradition. Kyle and I read How the Grinch Stole Christmas (I read the narrator's part, and Kyle did the voices), Mollie played carols on her flute, several other stories were read, and we sang a bunch of carols as a group. I don't know how they kept this going through the years, but I thought it was a lot of fun. After that, it was time to open the gifts from siblings. (There was some talk of opening all the gifts on Christmas Day, but it was decided that Tradition must be upheld! (Even if it's slightly weird.)) We actually only did the gifts of siblings who were present, though, saving others for tomorrow when we could do it over Skype.
Kyle and I had the interesting opportunity to do stockings for the first time this year. We really enjoyed being Santa for each other, but we were kinda tapped out for stocking ideas. We ended up going to Walmart a couple days before Christmas and basically picking out our own candystuffs. Kyle realized that what would really make his Christmas perfect was an assortment of pastries only available on the east coast: Devil Dogs, Funny Bones, and imitation Pick 'Em Ups, so I filled his stocking with those and he was good. Oh, and a meat tenderizer. My stocking was mostly candy, but also a box of crayons (for my Sunbeams class) and some tasty white cheddar shells and cheese I never buy b/c it also happens to be organic (and therefore crazy expensive). So our stockings were a little weird.
But I get ahead of myself. So Christmas Eve we put out stockings (pretending that we didn't know what was going into each other's) and went to bed. Paul came and woke us up early Christmas morning, and I think he got our names right. (Usually, if you asked him what Kyle's name was, he'd say that he was a duck. Then if you asked him what my name was, he'd say it was Kyle.) Then it was time to open presents! This was a great deal of fun, but I'm not sure what the highlights were. I really enjoyed watching Kyle open the gifts I'd picked out for him and seeing if he actually enjoyed them as much as I'd hoped he would.
A lot of the rest of the day was spent, of course, playing around with what we'd received. Kyle got me a GPS, so that had to be charged and set up. And the books from my childhood that he'd found on eBay all had to be looked at. That sort of thing. There were Skypes with Kyle's absent siblings. I called my parents and got the lowdown on my family's Christmas. If you can believe it, they actually had a white Christmas in Dallas. Without me. Jerks.
We didn't have much longer in Cromwell: we left on the 27th. This was a very long day. Kyle's parents drove us to New Haven, where we took a train to Grand Central in NYC. From there, we took a bus to JFK. Our plane was a very long but uneventful ride back to San Francisco, where we took a couple of trains to Sunnyvale. (We'd left our car with Mike, but he was on call and couldn't come pick us up.) Finally, we we got into our car for the final drive. And with that, we were home!