So the fun of Christmas really begins on Christmas Eve. First, we always attempt to do luminaries. This is a tradition carried from my childhood, but I must admit that it was much easier and more successful in Arizona winters than Utah winters. We first cut out paper lunch sacks with holiday shapes and then put candles in them and place them around the sidewalk. We have fun decorating them but many years, including this year, it is just too cold and windy to work very well. All but one had blown out within 10 minutes... ah well.
We also open a gift (their Christmas pajamas). This year I labeled the box wrong and Ella opened a sweatshirt. So I ended up letting them open their pajamas and sweatshirts.
After we do the luminaries, read Luke 2, and open one gift, we head to Alfredo's aunt and uncle's house. We exchange gifts with them, including his cousin Patty's two girls who are the same ages as Michelle and Ella. Michelle is so fun to watch open gifts because she squeals and her face lights up and she grins and looks surprised and excited at every gift. Ella tends to get distracted after opening one gift and not be interested in opening any more. She also doesn't act nearly as excited, although she clearly is because she plays with her toys the rest of the night/day and for weeks to come.
Then we stay at their house for dinner which is served right around midnight. That is very late for my kids, so we leave right after dinner. The rest of Alfredo's family stays up and open gifts that night and they sleep in late on Christmas Day. That is pretty typical in Central America apparently.
Michelle and her cousin Daya... they are both five and equally good at posing for pictures.
Alfredo's uncle's dog just had puppies. Ella carried this female, Fiona, around and really wanted to keep it. One dog is enough for us though. They would have given us this puppy if we didn't already have Chester. (Sorry this is a poor picture.)