Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Distler Christmas Traditions

Every family has traditions surrounding their holidays. We do. For example, we always start setting up our Christmas trees (we have one in every room of the house…yes, restrooms included) and decorations on Thanksgiving Day.

Then, somewhere about 7-10 days before Christmas, Laura and I go away for a special and romantic 2-night Holiday getaway. We use this time to finish all of our Christmas shopping, to wrap all of the gifts, and to spend some quality time together, just the two of us, in the midst of the holiday activities. It is amazing what great deals you can find on lodging during this off-season time of year if you will put a little effort into searching the internet. I take this seriously and am usually able to find a very unique and cozy place for us to go.

This year we will be going to the Vandiver Inn located in Historic Havre de Grace, MD. We will be staying in the Vandiver Suite. This is their ultimate honeymoon suite with a luxurious four poster antique style king bed with spacious sitting area, red brick working gas fireplace and antique mantel. It is exquisitely decorated in shades of pale green, beige and yellow (I included the color scheme in case Rick Bernhardt, our Senior Administrator here at Grace, happens to read my blog today. I knew he would appreciate it because everytime he comes over to my house we end up having to repaint a wall). It has a large corner Jacuzzi tub with shower, private entrance, refrigerator, hair dryer, cable television, data ports, voice mail, CD alarm clock and coffee maker. Both mornings will include a full gourmet breakfast with coffee, tea, fresh fruit, scones, muffins, yogurt, granola, and a Chef’s Choice entrĂ©e. If I told you what I was paying for this...you would be so jealous!

Havre de Grace, by the way, is located on the Chesapeake Bay along the pristine Susquehanna River. The downtown area has a quaint shopping district with many historic attractions including the Concord Point Lighthouse. It is about a 90 minute drive straight south from Lancaster.

On Christmas Eve, we always go for an early dinner at Olive Garden (my daughter’s favorite restaurant) before heading to church to enjoy the Christmas Eve worship (which, by the way, is simply going to be amazing this year at Grace). After church, we head home and watch our favorite Holiday movie, “The Santa Clause” with Tim Allen. The night ends with the reading of the classic, “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

But our favorite part of Christmas as a family are the stockings. Opening presents for our family is an all day event. It starts with the stockings. We love our stockings and Santa always packs them full with very fun and unique items. Opening our stockings takes a long while because we each take a turn pulling out one thing at a time. Actually, my wife gets two stockings. Not only does she have the one that hangs by the fireplace, filled by “Santa,” but there is also a second stocking in our bedroom which is purple (her favorite color) filled with extra special items that she gets to open Christmas Eve.

Throughout the day we open a few presents at a time rather than doing them all at once. We started this when the kids were young so we could then call the family member who gave the gifts just opened and the kids could thank them while they still remembered what they gave them. We also take time to read the Christmas story from Scripture. Over the past couple of years I have also started another tradition. I buy a very special gift for Laura, for Joy and for Jonathan. I then pull those gifts out right before bed on Christmas night as the last presents of the day. These are just a few of the Distler Family Christmas tradtions.

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