Christmas Eve night at my Grandmother's with all my Dad's brother and sisters and lots of cousins.
Morning runs to W.G. White's to buy stocking candy, country ham for Christmas morning, and oranges.
Rambling through Lanier's Hardware looking for random gifts ... a plug-in teapot for my dorm or M&M men lights for the tree.
Even wrapping presents for frantic shoppers at my Mom's gift shop (my sisters aren't going to believe that one).
J shared his favorites as ...
The family parties at his aunt's house
and his Dad "catching" Santa Claus sneak into the house on film.
So what traditions do we start for Cooper?
I looked for an old general store around Richmond, but I couldn't find one (I am open to suggestions for next year). We had already been to Lewis Ginter and Cooper had already met Santa. So, we went to ...
Can you guess where we are? I can honestly say I have never been there before and all the men were completely enamored with it.
Yes, we went to the Bass Pro Shops on Christmas Eve and it was my idea. I guess being surrounded by boys starts to rub off on you.
Cooper thought he was a very cool cat wearing AK's sunglasses and "riding" an Arctic Cat. If he asks for one of these next year, we are in trouble.
He did watch other kids take their picture with a very nice looking Santa in a cute elf village. I won't tell on anyone, but someone in our group spent a little time sharp shooting.
The aquarium was a hit.
He was slightly frightened by the big bear.
And fell in love with a decoy ... so much so that he got one under the Christmas tree because every boy needs a decoy to take a bath with, or so that was the reason I was giving by the person buying the decoy. Welcome Quackers to our family.
I'm not sure if Bass Pro Shops will become our tradition, but the boys may decide for me.
Christmas Eve did continue with a McCormack Family dinner tradition of "managots" or manicotti for the non-Italian speaking (home-made by my mother-in-law).
Cooper opened his last gift from his Advent Calendar ... a bag of reindeer food. He was sprinkling it on the front yard so the reindeer can find his house. He would say "Whee" every time he threw a handful into the snow.
And the family favorite of the reading of the Polar Express by my mother-in-law. She has been reading this book to her family every Christmas Eve since well before it became popular a few years ago. All of her children have silver bells to place on their trees. It is a happy, tearful reading. Except for the toddler who is normally enthralled with reading. He was all over the place during this year's reading. Maybe next year will be better.
What will Christmas Eve bring next year? Only time will tell (don't groan).