dear santa

Dear Santa,

Wuz ^? N/M/H. Thank you for a very Merry Christmas! I appreciate you keeping up with us this holiday season, as we practically covered the entire state of Texas in a week. I bet you were busy in your little workshop on Christmas Eve, eating candy canes and making last minute presents while we were breathing in the bewitching scent of Amarillo that is cow pastures and braving the blustery panhandle wind. We enjoyed the Christmas Eve service at FBC Amarillo, singing Christmas songs and seeing all the kids dressed up in their Christmas outfits, which brings me to the question--Was that little girl on stage during Pastor's Pals on the naughty or nice list? I'm sure she is really sweet, but she seemed like a hilarious handful, climbing on the nativity scene (which I was informed was worth thousands of dollars per piece), sitting on the donkey, blowing out candles and lifting up her dress to pull up her panty hose. Were you graced with the same entertainment as you visited her house? I bet she was already asleep, her performance must have been exhausting!

Christmas morning I felt like a kid again, waking up at 7:00 to open presents. It's obvious times are achangin' as we read the Christmas story on the iPhone. It must have been from The Message, because Tate was thrown off as "there was no room in the...uh...hostel?" After we listened to the story of the most perfect gift ever, Jesus' birth, we opened our family presents. Santa, I hope you don't find it offensive I don't exude the same anticipation and excitement I once did in the wee hours of Christmas morn. It has nothing to do with you, I promise. These days it just seems I have more time to put on my house shoes and grab a cup of coffee before opening those presents that used to beg to be opened a day early.

This being my first Christmas in Amarillo, I am still learning the Barrett fam traditions. As you know, those do not include stockings (which was the biggest shock of my newly-wed life), so thanks for waiting a day to fill our stockings in Allen. I know it was your first day off and everything, so I really appreciate you and the reindeer making the extra trip.  Despite the stockings, our Amarillo Christmas was ideal. We took turn opening presents in the living room, going to youngest to oldest. For the second year in a row I had the most presents. LaVon and Aunt Roxi say they have been waiting for a long time to have a girl in the family and I certainly don't mind. After presents, we made the drive to Lubbock to spend time with LaVon's side of the family. We ate turkey, dressing and sweet potatoes on Christmas day, which was new to me. They were yummy! Also for the first time ever, I was away from my parents and sister on Christmas day, but there was more than enough family to go around. It was so much fun watching the kids play with their new toys, iPods glued to their ears and American girl dolls in hand. The big kids, including Tate and Tye, were in the backyard playing football while the adults were visiting inside. They kept offering their disclaimer by saying, "I hope you are not overwhelmed with all these people. Things can get crazy around here." Obviously, they haven't met my entire family yet.

Speaking of my family, we caught an early morning flight to Dallas the day after Christmas to spend time in Allen. Grandpa B Bunk and the Williams were already there, waiting for us to do our family traditions. These traditions include old and new. Old being: stockings, presents and a much anticipated meal of fried shrimp. New being: dirty santa exchange, board games and the passing of black hat, which Tate ended up with this year...welcome to the fam!  As soon as we arrived we did stockings. Thanks again! You really outdid yourself this year! It must have been hard reduplicating those Anthropolgie coffee mugs in your workshop and sneaking into Victoria's Secret for that gift card. You so sneaky! We must have been extra good in 2010 (I'm crediting it to all those newlywed classes we've taken) because I ended up with a new camera I like to call my "mom camera" and Tate finally got his FELT TRI BIKE! It's a Christmas miracle!!! Thanks mom, dad, Robby, LaVon, Aunt Roxi, Uncle Randy, Grandma, PaPa, Santa, Rudolph, Tooth Fairy, and anyone else who chipped in for this little treat on wheels. Our Ironman-to-be was really surprised and I think I saw something resembling a Christmas twinkle in his eye.

After gifts, everyone manned their stations, doing their part to contribute to our traditional Christmas meal. Jayma and I sliced potatoes, Aunt Kelly operated the fry daddy, mom breaded shrimp, Jor made mac, the dads fried shrimp, Grandpa supervised and JaCoby and Tate watched football. We have been doing this exact meal about 30 years before my parents were married or any of the grandkids were born. Probably our longest-running King tradition!

Our second Christmas together was really special. We missed you, Lynley and Shawn! Poor things were still on their honeymoon in Hawaii. Oh, before I forget, Santa, can you remember to bring Shawn's presents to the Nicholsons and Katie's presents to the Barretts next Christmas? We'll be adding two more to the Christmas festivities from here on out. The more the merrier!

Again, thanks for everything! Enjoy your time off.

T + D

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