Let me get the negatives out of the way so that we can all move on and be happy:
1. A curse of death upon Spirit Airlines for charging for carry-on bags. Did I say checked bags? No--carry-on bags. Here's my holiday message to them:
Here's Bailey the night before our trip unsuccessfully trying to warn us. He is so smart.
2. A curse of death upon Hertz 24/7 for canceling our rental car reservation by text message shortly before we were to pick it up at O'Hare at midnight. No replacement car. No offer to get us a rental car through Hertz. Just a holiday FU. Back at ya, Hertz 24/7.
3. A curse of death upon the Wisconsin Dells/Lake Delton police for their speed trap as you exit the 65-mph freeway directly into a 35-mph zone. As a responsible parent, I told Samuel and Ethan, "We don't have to pay it as long as we never come back to their crappy state, and there's nothing they can do about it." (I paid it anyway. But doesn't the guy in the picture below look like a total doofus?)
Okay, let's put the negativity behind us.
Christmas morning was fun, even though our jaded kids are too old to come screaming down the stairs at 8am anxious to open their presents. They slept 'til 11 and it was afternoon by the time we opened gifts.
Ethan got the horse head he wanted. That's a positive for Ethan, but a bit troubling for everyone else in the world.
Samuel missed out on a horse head, but he got an original blueprint of the 1981 DeLorean factory in Northern Ireland.
It was nice to spend quality time with family while tethered to our laptops and mobile devices.
We experienced the local culture in downtown Prophetstown. The guy on the left is my brother-in-law. Everyone in the Midwest looks like him. No one wears polo shirts and Nike running hats like me.
We even got Ethan to crack a smile once. It was more of a smirk, but it still counts.
We had fun at our post-Christmas getaway to the indoor waterpark resort.
Despite their best evil efforts, the money-grubbing corporate and municipal grinches failed to dampen our Christmas spirit.