On November 29th I flew out to Spokane, Washington for four days to join my family in attending the funeral of my Grandma Bates, who died at the age of 98. It was good that all of my parents and siblings were able to be there for the funeral on December 1st. I also saw many aunts, uncles and cousins I hadn't seen in many years.
For the Christmas program on December 6th, I planned "Stille Nacht: Christmas in Germany". I borrowed five canopies to be set up outside in the church parking lot to recreate the feel of a German Christmas market, with tables set up with German Christmas decorations on display. Grills were brought in and German sausages and potato pancakes were cooked outside and served for the meal, which was eaten on tables set out under the canopies. After eating and viewing the displays, the sisters came into the RS room and watched a power point presentation of "The Silent Night Truce", a true story from World War I. As a closing song several sisters sang "Silent Night" in German.
We went with a music theme, "And Saints and Angels Sing", and had a program where the different organizations came up to sing a Christmas carol. It turned out well; I actually had a couple of people tell me just a few weeks ago that it was the best ward Christmas activity they'd ever been to.
My extra activities weren't over yet. On December 16th was my Christmas piano recital. I always try to make lovely invitations, and a music-themed Christmas ornament for each of my students. I also decided I should play a solo piece, so needed to practice for that.
I had all those activities behind me, the cards written and the Christmas tree up before Adri, Russ and Sophia arrived on the 20th of December to spend Christmas with us. It was nice to have family with us for Christmas.
We went to see the zoo lights at the National Zoo in DC, but it was a rainy night and we didn't stay too long.
We invited our old friends who we met in Germany, the Jeos, to join us for Christmas brunch.
After the meal Kent drafted Jim and Nathan Jeo to help him fell a tree out on our property. It didn't take long but I thought it was funny he made them work for their supper!
A couple of other things we did with Adri, Russ and Sophia was to go to the Christmas display at the National Arboretum in DC, where they had miniature replicas of most of the famous DC landmarks made from natural materials and nestled amongs poinsettias.
We also got together in Williamsburg with our friends, the Andrews, so we could show off our grandchildren to each other! Another friend who was in our ward in Germany, Michelle Watt, also joined us. We toured a historic bed and breakfast inn which is owned by an LDS woman. It was LAVISHLY decorated for Christmas, and was fun to go through.
Those are the highlights of our especially busy month of December!!