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Christmas Eve 2010

I'm sure most of you are currently sleeping (stalkings hung, and sugarplums dancing...or something like that), but let me be the first to wish you all a Merry Christmas!  Technically, it's been Christmas day for approximately 50 minutes...and yes, I'm still up...and yes, I'm posting to my blog!

Before saying "lights out" I had to share a few highlights of the evening's events.  Many of you probably have traditions for your families on big holidays such as Christmas.  When I was growing up, Christmas Eve consisted of the entire family getting together (cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, grandparents, and close family friends) for a big dinner and either a reading of the nativity story or an enactment of the nativity story.  That's right...I said "enactment," meaning costumes, role-play, and the like!

Over time, we all grew older, got married, and started our own families, which caused this tradition to eventually evolve into a quieter tradition of dinner with family friends, and a Christmas video.

Mark and I were married on December 17th 2005 which worked out extremely well for our first Christmas together.  We had a tiny little tree (no taller than 18 inches), and a new apartment which was filled with nothing but moving boxes and wedding gifts.  I've never seen a tree with so many presents underneath!  Then again, scale might have had something to do with that!

On Christmas Eve for our first Christmas it was just the two of us.  My family was spending Christmas at Disneyland, and Mark's waits until the big day to get everyone together...so we had the opportunity to create our own memorable Christmas Eve tradition.

I mentioned in my biography that we are pretty low key when it comes to spending time together, plus we were broke so we had to be resourceful.  We decided to drive down Mill Avenue (a popular spot by Arizona State University) to look at all of the Christmas lights they put up.  On our way, we stopped by Jack in the Box and grabbed some milk shakes (you can do that at Christmas time if you live in AZ!) and then we wrapped up the evening by walking down by Tempe Town Lake to look at the big Christmas tree. 

So, now whenever it's just the two of us on Christmas Eve we consider our tradition to be looking at Christmas lights around the city.  This year we scrapped the milk shakes and went for beverages from home instead.  I sipped hot chocolate while Mark enjoyed a Dr. Pepper.  We also searched for a few light display "hotspots," and thanks to Google, here are some of the places we found:

The first comment I would like to make about our little "Tour of Lights" is that I was really surprised by how many people seem to have the same Christmas Eve tradition as we do.  To get into some of these places we literally had to park a half-mile away and hike in.  At one location neighbors who lived across the street had actually started selling hot chocolate because of the crowds.

At the house featured in the first three pictures the owners had Christmas music playing from a speaker system, which made the experience even more festive.  The public building in the next three pictures had small sets with recordings playing that told the Christmas story.  It also featured gardens which were covered in lights, and a big open lawn with the three wise men (and camels) making their trip to see Christ.

The last two pictures were actually from an entire street of houses that were extravagantly decorated.  Most of the families who lived there were sitting out in their driveways, roasting marshmallows or socializing with the crowd.  One family had moved their ping-pong table into the garage so that people could play.  It seemed like a tradition that they all enjoyed.

Well, to all of you who celebrate Christmas, I wish you a Merry Christmas.  To all of you with other traditions, I hope this season has been filled with happiness!


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