Despite our last-minute change in gifting plans, our Christmas lovely. It was the best one that I, personally, have had in a long time. The kids were a little crazy, but I suppose that is to be expected on the most highly-anticipated day of the year.
In keeping with tradition, we enjoyed a lasagna dinner, a nativity reenactment (complete with a cartwheeling shepherd kicking Mary in the face), hot chocolate with candy canes, and opening new pajamas on Christmas Eve.
On Christmas Day, we woke up to snow. A white Christmas! How magical. But that wasn't our first item of business. A few very excited children congregated on the stairs and threatened to charge if we didn't hurry up with the pictures already.
Although Garry and I were disappointed to miss the gasps and screams we imagined, the kids were plenty happy with their gifts. Tyler couldn't believe he had received something he hadn't dared put on his wish list: an mp3 player. Lexi was enamored with her doll clothes and Zach with his carpet skates (of all things!). Gavin's favorite gift of the morning was a purple Colorado Rockies hat, which he wore with pride the rest of the day. Kate slept blissfully for a while, but eventually the commotion was too loud and she joined the fray. She didn't fully appreciate the refinished doll cradle and hand-sewn doll bedding that Garry and I labored to make, but Lexi coaxed her into loving it.
What followed was a joyful hour of opening and enjoying gifts from the extended family. Grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles spoiled the kids, so the kids had plenty of gifts under the tree. The kids loved everything in their stockings, which included some candy and a few small gifts. Santa brought each of the kids a board game and we made plans for a winter break of cooperative play. Almost as an afterthought, we explained the garage situation to the kids. They shrugged it off but were excited that more gifts were in store.
Garry pooled money from the extended family and I to buy a car stereo. I received my fabulous boots, a garage key pad (how ironic is that?!), supplies for an elaborate cell phone charging station, tile samples for the downstairs bathroom, a gift certificate to have my van detailed, earrings, socks, and a scarf.
Garry made delicious butterscotch bread for breakfast. Then we played and organized and relaxed. Around noon we joined friends at their house for a lunch of ham, scones, and treats. The delicious food and fun company was a nice addition to our day. Back at home, Kate and I crashed for awesome naps, Garry helped Tyler load his mp3 player with books and music, and the other kids played with their new things.
Tyler did have a few sad times. He felt like his presents didn't measure up to Zach's and he was worried that he had broken one of his new Nerf guns (he hadn't). I was able to reassure him on a few points, and although he recovered, he had a pretty emotional day. Poor Tyler.
At 3:30, I received a text from our traveling friends (owners of the house where our gifts were stored).
Friend: Hey! We are about two hours away--still time to save Christmas!
Heidi: Thank you. :) The morning was lovely. It's kind of fun to stretch it out. And your house is intact!
Friend: :) Haha!! Yes, extending Christmas!
Heidi: The kids were understanding, and it all worked out.
Friend: I am so glad.
Heidi: Yep, all is well.
Then, at 5:24:
Friend: We are 10 minutes away. Do you want to pick up the items now or after kids are asleep?
Heidi: We are just getting dinner ready. Garry made a ham-and-potatoes feast! Get yourselves settled at home and Garry will come a little later. I'm glad you are home safely!
Friend: OK. Sounds good! Thanks! :)
Garry left at 6:30 to retrieve the gifts. We decided that he would just bring them in, unassembled, to surprise the kids, and then after bedtime, he would put everything together. When I knew Garry was close to home, I sent the kids to the basement so Garry could bring in the punching bag and kitchen and we could reenact Christmas morning.
Although the "wow factor" was decidedly missing with our lackluster presentation, the kids were plenty happy with their bonus gifts. The boys immediately put on their new boxing gloves. I held the punching bag and braced for impact, and they punched away. Gavin was the most enthusiastic boxer, and stayed with it for a long time.
Garry stayed up late to assemble the little red kitchen for Kate and Lexi. It is completely adorable. I'm in love. Lexi and I spent some time this morning arranging her food and cooking utensils in the fridge and cupboards. I imagine the girls will spend hours of creative play in this corner of the house.
And so ends another Christmas. Tyler has already started the countdown to his birthday with a paper chain. Forty-nine days to go...