We picked up both Midwestern siblings + spouses from LAX on Friday and promptly got ourselves to Balboa the next day.
I've Christmased in Orange County for most of my years, but somehow I never really thought of going to the island to enjoy the festivity and Christmas lights. My loss. It's completely charming (of course) and meeting up with cousins and seeing darling babies was a plus as well.
PS - My New Year's resolution this year is to stow my iPhone more often and get out a real camera (after I get it fixed)...till then, bear with me.
Of course our second order of business was to get to South Coast Repertory for our annual showing of A Christmas Carol. We've been seeing this production for a good many years (back before I can remember) and it is definitely my favorite Christmas tradition complete with a cookie and apple juice at intermission. There is an extra special sweetness about the play for me as I get older and especially this year. It's a tradition I plan to keep no matter where we end up (but Hal Landon will always have my heart).
We normally spend an unconventional Christmas Eve brunching in Laguna Beach and this year was no different. We pulled up to our annual cute cafe, and were extremely dismayed to find out its been closed...for a year! It almost ruined Christmas, but we persevered and suffered through lunch on the beach at the Laguna Hotel. Life is rough.
In my opinion, Christmas ought to always be a relaxed, easy day where one stays in their PJs far to long, eats good food and keeps good company. This Christmas was precisely that, complete with sleepwear and slippers till 3PM.
The day after a big holiday is always a tad depressing, but Christmas is especially so. Cheerful Christmas music is cut off abruptly and the walls seem oh so bare without their previous festive decor. In an attempt to keep the merriment going we made a family trip to the temple. It was most effective.
Also I've decided to break tradition and keep the Christmas music playing till January one. That helps too.
A trip to Disneyland on Friday also helped to wipe away the post-Christmas blues. The happiest place on Earth tends to have that effect. I also took, roughly, a kajillion pictures - you've been warned.
We went on the swings entirely too many times, checked off a Disneyland bucket list (always wanted to canoe around Tom Sawyer's Island), and ate at the delicious Cathay Circle in California Adventure. De-lightful.
And that was a wrap for our week with the Toblers. It was festive, fun, and entirely too short - as time with family always is. We're still working out the kinks of our master plan of how to all live within 1 hour of each other, but until then, this is what we get. Happy Christmas all!