Holiday Fun in Northern California

We have been staying at the French Camp RV Park north of Manteca for over a month now and really enjoying being back near family and friends!   It has been a fun holiday season and I thought I would share some of our activities and photos.   Spending time with the grandkids and family was a goal and we were able to share with them some of the season highlights.   Luke tried out for his church’s Christmas play and won a part.   The group practiced for about four months and it was quite a production with lots of singing, dancing and stories about the birth of a very special baby in Bethlehem.   In the photo above, Luke plays a cow and can be seen second from the right (not just a cow, but the head cow).   After the play we went out for a big sushi dinner celebration, Luke’s choice.  For a young guy, he is a pretty good sushi eater!

The day after the Christmas play, a group of friends of our daughter Shannon and son-in-law Jonathan got together at their house for Christmas caroling in the neighborhood.    I hadn’t been caroling in some years and it was a vocal workout and a fun night.   We had a good-sized group of adults and kids and we stopped at a number of homes and saw some amazing decorations and lights.   Hopefully we brought some holiday cheer to a number of families that night!   See photo below.

One night Shannon, Jonathan, Luke, Levi and myself went to the Folsom Zoo Wild Nights and Holiday Lights event.   We were able to walk all around this small zoo that was decorated with many lights and Christmas trees.   We weren’t sure if any animals would be up at night to greet us but we were in luck.   We saw wolves, bear, tigers, donkeys, raccoon, bobcat and parrots.

Our grandson Levi is in kindergarten and on the last day of school before winter break, all of the kindergarten classes put on a program for family members and friends.   They sang quite a few songs and really got into the holiday spirit!   After the program we were invited to their classrooms for many treats.   In the picture Levi is on the back row, sixth from the left.

We had an early Christmas celebration with Shannon, Jonathan, Luke and Levi before they went to Texas to celebrate Christmas with Jonathan’s family.   Our son Matt and daughter-in-law Emma from the Los Angeles area also got to join us.   It was great to all be together again!

We had a tasty brunch, opened gifts and enjoyed each other’s company.   In the photo below, Mark wears his chauffeur hat he got – the perfect gift since he always talks about how he is my “driver” as we explore around the country together.

The grandkids kept things lively as we ran around shooting laser guns at each other and watched them race their new remote control cars on the street – crashing, tumbling upside down, running into us and trying out new obstacles, like the ramp in the photo below.

We then played the fun Saran Wrap ball game which has become a bit of a tradition.   Shannon and I before the game wrapped prizes in layer after layer of Saran Wrap creating a big ball.   To play, the person next to the first unwrapper rolls two die while the person quickly unwraps layers.   Any prizes that fall out the person gets to keep.   Once the roller hits doubles the person has to stop unwrapping and pass the ball to the person next to them and then starts rolling the die.   This goes on until the ball has been completely unwrapped.   In the photo below, Levi looks at the treats he unwrapped with the green plastic ball next to him.

There were 23 at my extended family’s Christmas Eve and Christmas Day festivities in El Dorado Hills.   It was a delight to see and catch up with so many family members again!   On Christmas Eve Dan hosted a marvelous homemade Cioppino seafood dinner set up in his garage.   In the photo below, my sister Barbara, Dan and nephew Jesse get the crab ready.

After we all ate dinner we played bingo, a family tradition that has been going on for so long that I have lost track of how many years.   The fun part of bingo is the many gifts or prizes.   If you bingo you can choose one or steal someone else’s.   It got louder and livelier as the game went on.   The bingo prizes used to be primarily simple items and often times gag gifts that sometimes reappeared year after year.   But now they have evolved to becoming nicer and more expensive.

Christmas Day was at my niece Elaine and and nephew Phillip’s house and they put on quite a gourmet meal.   My nephew Phillip is a whiz at prime rib and he had lots of meat to get ready, two big slabs.

There are actually a few gourmets in the family including my sister Barbara who always makes large pans of the most delicious yeast rolls you will ever taste.   Her rolls are demanded for every holiday dinner, it wouldn’t be one without them.   In addition, she and my nieces made a fancy four layer mousse cake for dessert that took parts of two days of their time.   It was beautiful to look at and just as good to eat, see photo below.   Besides this cake, they also made two large glass dishes of trifle for Christmas Eve dessert – one was cranberry and the other gingerbread.   For those that don’t know, trifle is a dessert made with sponge cake, fruit, custard and whipped cream.

After all that gourmet eating and great conversation it was quite a switch to go back to our quiet little trailer and more simple food.

We had wonderful holiday celebrations and hope the same with you!

4 thoughts on “Holiday Fun in Northern California”

  1. It was exciting to read all about your festivities! So glad you were able to spend time with your family and grandkids! I was sick two days after our hike and lunch at Knights Ferry. I completely missed being with my family for Christmas. I missed Christmas dinner, Christmas Mass and our traditional Christmas Eve dinner.
    I did however get to do the traditional overnight to San Francisco. We stayed at the Hilton and went up to the 47th floor for the spectacular view of the City at night. It was breathtaking! We hiked Lands End and had dinner at the Cliff House.
    I rallied enough the day after Christmas to have a “Mexican Fiesta” dinner with my son’s family, Stacy’s family and Holly’s family. We may make it a tradition
    as we had so much fun with food and playing the game Mexican Train. Annette’s brother was here from Hong Kong so Dan wasn’t with us on Christmas.
    I couldn’t have been there anyway as I was as I said, sick. Home in bed! I went to the doctor and I am taking that Z-pack medication and Tynenol cough syrup with codeine. Lots of fun!
    Enjoyed seeing you. Not sure I’ll be up for a Stairway hike. Take care!

    1. Great to hear from you Arlene but so sorry to read that you were sick at Christmas and missed all the festivities. That is really too bad! I hope you are feeling much better and back to normal now. I am glad you got to spend after Christmas with family – the Mexican Fiesta sounds like it would be a great tradition, family traditions are certainly something to look forward to each year. I hope we can get together in some fashion before we leave in February. Let me know what might work if you are not up for a SF stairway walk, which I certainly understand. Perhaps an easier walk or a lunch get together. Take care!

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