Al and I were so lucky to be surrounded by so much love at Christmas this year. As usual, we started off our Christmas celebration at my Grandma Michelle and Grandpa Don's house on the afternoon of Christmas Eve.
I have to take a moment and announce just how grateful I am to be part of such a loving, supportive family. I have the most amazing family members around whom I can be totally myself. Also, I have to say, they crack me up too! There is always so much laughter and joy at celebrations like these. In addition, I feel like I got extra lucky because I'm actually marrying into a family perhaps as amazing as mine! :)
This year, we opened presents after having some appetizers and drinks when we arrived. I am always amazed by the incredible generosity my grandparents have and this Christmas was no different.
Al and I received some great gifts, including a few items from our wedding registry. John and Jean got us the wine glasses I loved at Crate & Barrel. As you can see, we began enjoying them immediately...
However, Al took interest in some of Jack's new toys as well...
After gift-giving, we all headed upstairs for perhaps my favorite part of the evening: pigs in blankets! This is actually one of my favorite Panovich Christmas traditions. My grandparents also made country burgers...delicious...and had a complete spread of amazing sides and desserts to go with it. Needless to say, I was feeling a bit round-ish after this part of the evening.
Right after dinner, we made our charity presentations about what we each did with the $200 my grandparents gave us. This year, Al and I donated ours to Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Champaign County. It was so awesome to hear all the different charities everyone chose and how far they were able to make their money go. This is a great tradition and I look forward to it every year.
The next morning, we work up to the sight of a beautiful tree decorated by my fam and enjoyed my mom's sausage bread for breakfast (yet another food-related thing that I love about Christmas)! We opened presents and were all super happy with what we got. For Al and I, Katy and Tyler got a beautiful vase we registered for at Crate & Barrel. Ty and Katy each got books...
and Katy even got an iPhone! Now we can FaceTime chat...woot woot!
That evening, we headed to Al's mom and dad, Mary and Ed's house in Rantoul to celebrate Christmas with his family. I received some awesome gifts from his mom, sis, and bro! (They all know me so well; thus, there was chocolate, Sephora, and steak involved in those gifts-three of my most favorite things, but not necessarily in that order.) Per usual for me, I once again stuffed my face until I couldn't eat anymore. ;)
All in all, it was a pretty awesome Christmas...I have to keep reminding myself that next Christmas, I'll be sending out cards signed by Lisa Nuku! :)