I love Christmas stories and have amassed quite a collection. Each year our Stake gives out a bound copy of collected true Christmas stories, to be read one each day leading up to Christmas. There is also a list of scriptures to read, with each one focusing on one characteristic of the Savior. I knew that had to be part of our celebration.
Our hometeacher always brings the kids chocolate advent calendars from Trader Joe's too, an event they eagerly anticipate, no matter how old they get. December 1st meant opening that first little door to reveal that first little bite of chocolate.
And what goes deliciously with chocolate? Orange Sweet Rolls! A recipe I'd been wanting to try for a while now, and man, oh, man, it did not disappoint. (And what a breeze to make bread dough in my new Kitchen Aid!) I changed up the glaze just a bit and whisked in some leftover cream cheese frosting, which to me was perfection.
So, we ate our dinner (Chile Verde Pork on rice with tomatoes and pepper jack cheese, and fresh green beans) and then we gathered for our first scripture teaching about Jesus' compassion, and our first Christmas story. The kids opened door number one and ate the bite of chocolate, Conor hung the first ornament on our Santa advent calendar, we ate the Orange Rolls (had to put the brakes on Dylan at 6. Good grief.) And then? Then, we did our family Pollyanna.
Nobody knows what a Pollyanna is for some reason, but it's just when you draw names for gift-giving. That's what we always called it growing up. Each of the kids' names goes into a mug and they draw one name that they will buy for.
We closed with a family prayer, and then Conor went to bed and the rest of us went back to homework. Christmas music plays quietly in the background and I'm fairly sure the house feels even warmer now, even homier, even more like Christmas. And that's the best feeling ever.