Christmas Decorating, North Woods-Style
Boyer family traditions include spreading out sleeping bags next to the newly decorated Christmas tree and reading Christmas stories before drifting off to sleep.
Another tradition comes on Christmas Eve, when the family returns home from church to find that Santa (or a secret elf) has stopped by early, lighting the sleigh on their lawn and filling it with presents. Every Boyer unwraps a pair of Christmas pajamas, which they don that night.
Christmas Eve dinner features potato-tot casserole served on the family's best china. "Chris and I grew up on hotdishes," Wendy says. "The casserole grounds us -- it takes us back to simpler times."
On Christmas morning, egg strata bakes in the oven, and the scent of hot, spiced cider fills the air. The family adds the figure of the baby Jesus to the small creche in the living room and shares thoughts on the true meaning of the holiday. Then they open presents while listening to favorite Christmas music. "We give ourselves permission to just hang out together in our pajamas and do nothing," Wendy says. "There's a lot of laughter."
A version of this story appeared in Midwest Living® November/December 2007.