I only live an hour away from my hometown, but I always spend the night on Christmas Eve at my parents' house so we can wake up early and have holiday breakfast. I got to town around 4 pm on Christmas Eve, just as my mom was finishing up cooking our Christmas Eve dinner. We usually just get Chinese takeout, but this year we decided to stay in. My mom made Spaghetti with Vegan Meatballs and Cheezy Garlic Bread (using the Follow Your Heart parm and Gardein meatless balls).
She also made some Side Salad with Vidalia poppyseed vinaigrette.
My mom and I had some red wine with ours. My dad isn't into wine, so he stuck with sweet tea. Everyone ate totally vegan for dinner, and both of my parents said they couldn't even tell much difference between the vegan versions of meatballs and parm. WIN!
For dessert, we had Rice Krispie Treats and Chocolate Chunk Cookies, which my mom ordered from Jonesboro's vegan bakery, Kind Confections. Both were amazing, and I'm so glad I got sent home with some leftover treats.
After dinner, we watched some Christmas movies — parts of Earnest Saves Christmas, The Night Before, and A Christmas Story. And then, after my best friend Sheridan wrapped up with her family, I drove over to her father-in-law's house to exchange gifts with her. We always meet up late on Christmas Eve night for our gift exchange since we're both in town for the holidays (Sheridan lives in Little Rock now, but we both grew up in Jonesboro and have been BFFs since seventh grade!).
I got back to my parents' house around midnight and immediately went to bed. I couldn't wait to wake up and open presents because I'm a 12-year-old on the inside, always and forever. I woke up around 7:30 am, and my mom was already in the kitchen cooking breakfast. We used to go to my granny's for Christmas breakfast every year, but Granny was out of town this year (and hasn't been in the best of health anyway). My mom made all of the breakfast staples — Tofu Scramble, Sweet Earth Benevolent Bacon, Field Roast Apple Maple Sausages, Hash Browns, and Biscuits & Gravy. She and I ate the scramble, and my dad had real eggs. But he did try the seitan bacon and said "It's not bad. I could eat that."
After breakfast, it was present time! We took turns opening gifts. I got lots of awesome stuff — a FitBit Iconic, new mugs, lots of clothes and new Converse, boots, a new cookbook, and more. My parents got some cool stuff too — lots of Harley accessories (they're bikers), an Amazon Echo, clothes, and plenty of booze.
I forgot to mention that Maynard came with me this time! I usually ask a friend to come by and house-sit when I leave town, but I felt bad asking someone to come over on Christmas. And boarding him would have been really expensive since Christmas fell on a Monday, and my vet closes at noon on Saturday. This was his first long car ride, and he didn't handle it well at all. Cried the whole hour drive there and back. And he wasn't really happy being a new place, but he warmed up a bit and I think he really enjoyed our walks in the woods and hanging with my dad (who loves dogs!).
I drove home to Memphis in the afternoon on Christmas Day. After I unpacked and put my new stuff up, I was getting hungry again. So I kept with my Christmas tradition of getting Chinese takeout. New Hong Kong is always open on Christmas Day, and they have an awesome secret vegan menu of mock meats! I got the Mock Orange Beef and a Spring Roll, and I enjoyed this while watching The Keepers on Netflix.
Paul spent Christmas in Hendersonville, Tennessee (outside Nashville) with his family, and he arrived home around 8 pm on Christmas night. We decided to have a little holiday fun before the night was over, so we went by Crosstown Concourse so Paul could see the awesome holiday lights there and we could take some selfies. Then we stopped by a friend's birthday party at Canvas and had beer. Then it was time for bed! Paul had to work today (bummer), and I wanted to get up and test out my new Fitbit on a trail run.