Cultivating a Life of Gratitude

I am committing myself, during 2010, to attempt to cultivate a greater awareness of how much I have to be thankful and grateful for by sharing my daily findings and musings with you. It is my hope that by blogging about gratitude, I will be more aware of what is going on around me in my life, my family, my friends' lives and our world.

December 31, 2010

Ridder Christmas

I'm thankful my Mom's Christmas wish to Santa came true and that we were able to have one day with Jake, Jill, Josh, Ann, Mom, Dad and the three Manders under one roof to celebrate Christmas together.  We typically do brunch as our big meal, but because both Ross and I had worship leading commitments Sunday morning, we enjoyed a yummy roast beef dinner together before beginning our gift opening.

We ate delicious food thanks to my Mom's good cooking.

First, we start by getting our stockings and opening them.  Lots of great treasures are always sure to be found inside like candy canes and chocolates from Regina's, knives from the Amish, etc. :) 

After stockings are enjoyed, we move on to gifts.  Dad is usually "Santa", passing out a gift to each person during each round.  At the Ridder's we open one gift at a time, each person taking a turn.  It's fun to see what each person is opening and often much laughter can be heard because of various funny comments or gifts.

Some favorite gifts of 2010:

Jill got a food dehydrator!  I only wish I lived closer to taste her yummy creations.  

My Mom made Ross a puzzle through Walgreens photo center out of a family picture.  

This fire engine actually shoots water!

Ann displaying her new shoes.  I also got boots and Jake received a pair of Tom's.  It was a 'shoe' year!

Josh got a "Cocoa-Motion" machine.  

Mom's pretty much lovin' her new 'plush' snuggy from my Dad.  

My Mom found a mug for Josh that says "Living with a Norweigan builds character" which is funny on many levels for these two and lots of laughs were had by everyone when he opened it.

We asked Chad, Ross's bro to sketch my parents' homes in PA and MN.  I think they liked these special gifts and my brother even got teary at the 421 Merion Drive picture.  

We also did a white elephant (plus a $10 gift card) exchange that brought some more good laughs. 
Here was the winner gift that is now the 'new' 'thing to hide in each others' homes' - we do have funny traditions! :) 

After gift opening, some people rested, some people took a walk, later in the evening we played games and ate more Christmas cookies and snacks.  It was a wonderful day.  I really am quite thankful for my family and any time we ALL get to spend together!

Sunset at the end of our walk.

Telephone pictionary.

Well, it's almost 2011 so I'm going to wrap this up for tonight.  Thanks Ridders' and Manders' for a fun Christmas season!  

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