Anytime your whole family can be together is a special time. When it happens during the sentimentality of the Christmas season, it makes you even more aware of how thankful we are for those things that are most important in our lives. This year we were especially spoiled as both of our boys and their wives were able to come and visit for almost a week. It has been a long time since all six of us were together for that long and we made the best of it. Of course, I am sure they were here to see us and the 70 degree Tucson weather had nothing to do with it.
The week’s activities started out just like every Christmas break does for us, making gingerbread cookies. Over 12 dozen of them. You are probably thinking, “How can six people possibly eat 12 dozen cookies?” My answer, “It’s easy!”. Making cookies has been a tradition in my family for generations. We still make them using the same recipe my Grandmother made. She brought the recipe with her from Austria, from her family, dating back to the 19th century. It’s a team effort, backing, decorating and of course eating them.
The weather was just so nice; we had to go out and hike. We decided to go do Jennifer’s favorite hike, Hope Camp Trail. You may recall an earlier blog this fall of us taking this hike. Well, this time was just as spectacular, and we got to share it with the family. The water was still in the stream along the Quilter Trail, and we again stopped there for our lunch. In all, a great 8-mile round-trip.
We gave the options for eating to the kids. Besides the usual requests for Mexican food and Eegees, they wanted a traditional Christmas dinner with turkey. So we decided to fire up the charcoal grill and do Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve. It was an all-in event with all of us doing a part in preparing and cleaning up.
Christmas Day was absolutely gorgeous. Blue skies, mild temperatures, and no wind. What is fast becoming a holiday tradition for us, we set out on a Christmas Day hike. This time it was to one of Tucson’s most spectacular natural showplaces Sabino Canyon. It was pretty quiet when we got there, very few cars in the parking lot and not many people on the trail. It is actually more of a walk than a hike, as we stayed on the paved path all the way to the top. The last mile or so is all up hill, but the view at the top is well worth the climb. We found a nice place to sit for a rest and snack before heading back down. There were a lot more people walking up as we were on the way back and the parking lot was almost full. People must have waited to come out until after they opened presents. Sabino Canyon never ceases to amaze and inspire us and we see something different each time we go there.
The week’s activities were not all centered around going out. We spent a lot of time just sitting in the sun and talking. Yes, there was some eating and drinking, but mostly just spending time together and sharing all the things that go on in our lives. We played board games and cards most days and again in the evenings. Not saying who won most of the events, but they do not live in Tucson! There was also relaxation time in the hot tub and even a Polar Bear plunge!
We had a wonderful week! I’m not sure I could have gotten a better Christmas present than to have our entire family spending extended time together. So looking forward to our next family gathering, whenever and wherever it may be.