Dec 31, 2013

Traditions new and old

We had the happiest of Christmases, which makes my heart all warm and gooey.  I admit that Mrs. Claus panicked a little around 10:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve.  Were the gifts right? Fair? Too much or too little?  This time it all rolled out {almost} perfectly.

Our tradition on Christmas Eve is to eat lasagna for dinner and give the kids one special gift.  We have experimented with ornaments, pajamas, and books.  This year I made "magical pillowcases" for each of the kids, presented on a brand new pillow.  The kids were way more excited about this than I expected. Apparently a new pillow is a great gift, especially if it is cute.

We watched a really stupid movie that I regret showing, but we ended on a high note: Candy Cane Oreos (thanks, Melissa!) (I have great friends.) and milk.  YUM.  The kids were really surprised that I shared.

We tried some new things on Christmas Day.  Last year was fun (despite our series of unfortunate events) but we discovered that less=more in the gift department.  So this year we gave less and played more, and we had a great time. This will definitely become a tradition.

In previous years, gift opening began before 6:00 a.m.  Kids set alarms and shook us out of bed and we were all cranky and exhausted by 8:00.  I'm sure the kids were still up before dawn this time, but we didn't let them come upstairs until 7:30.  We all got dressed first (I showered! so lovely!), then turned the kids loose to discover the joys of their stockings and the one present Santa left for each of them.  The kids opened and enjoyed what Santa brought, which never happened in the past.  Gavin tipped and tottered on his Wobble Board.  Lexi zipped around on her scooter.  Kate danced around in her dress-ups.  Tyler set up his r/c car and drove it around the entire main level of the house.  Zach exercised his muscles.  Garry and I savored our candy before breakfast.

Then we moved to the kitchen, where the table was set for a feast.  We enjoyed breakfast casseroles that Garry made--pumpkin French toast and cheesy potatoes--and orange juice.  We discovered that the tablecloth is liquid resistant when a cup of juice spilled.  We all opened Great-Grandma Dent's envelopes with cash inside.  After breakfast Garry and I cleaned up while the kids ran back to their toys.

Next we moved downstairs, where presents from the grandparents and cousins were laid out (which I had done just before going down).  The kids took turns opening and enjoying those gifts as well.  Kate's reaction to a box of princess dress-up shoes was priceless!  She was beyond thrilled.  Two-year-olds are fun on Christmas Day!  After enjoying that segment of gifts, we goofed around with a "photo booth" and silly props that I found online.  The kids didn't really get it.  Maybe next year?  I thought it was a fun idea...

After that we went back up to the living room, where presents from Mom and Dad were under the tree.  The kids each had three--something to wear, something fun, and a movie (which I had purchased for a few bucks each).  We gave Kate a scooter, Gavin a back pack, Tyler a sandwich maker, Zach a how-to-draw-cars book, and Lexi a Rapunzel costume.  Woohoo!  The kids loved their gifts.  We have some priceless pictures locked away on our nice camera because we don't have a card reader for that one anymore (oops).

Our last destination was Mom and Dad's bed.  We sat in a circle with the gifts the kids gave each other in the middle. Garry's and my gifts to each other were in the pile, too.  We each took turns drawing from the pile.  The sibling gifts were small and cheap but the kids were all happy with socks and markers and costume jewelry.  Garry surprised me with the promise of new bedding in our room, and I got him some electronics, which are generally a hit.  So we were all spoiled.

In the afternoon we played Christmas Bingo and watched movies.  I read a book (an amazingly rare luxury) and napped a little. Garry fixed a dinner feast that we all enjoyed.  I have a pile of Christmas themed games and activities that I had planned to use today, but will instead spread holiday cheer for days to come.

All in all, I was very pleased with our day.  Extending gift giving for a few hours was so much better than the usual blitz attack.  I loved how much family time we enjoyed.  I guess I like structure better than chaos, even when it comes to Christmas, but when Mrs. Claus is happy, everyone else can be, too.

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