Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas 2014

Although we have never formally made a list of things we like to do leading up to Christmas, I think the kids would agree that there are certain things that belong on a bucket list of sorts when it comes to experiencing all we like to experience in December. Just a few of our traditions are light-looking (several trips, at least one involving hot cocoa), making cookies and chocolate covered pretzels, adopting a Children's Wish family to buy for, watching holiday shows/movies, hanging lights outside, making gingerbread houses, preparing Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes, decorating the house, reading the many Christmas books we have, homemade spaghetti and meatballs for Christmas dinner.... I guess that's more than just a few.
This year we increased the library of holiday movies to include Home Alone, Elf and The Christmas Story. Good stuff. The kids especially liked Elf. (The list now includes Prep and Landing, Charlie Brown's Christmas, Prancer, Polar Express, The Grinch and the three new ones.)

Maddux and Eli decorated small Christmas trees in their rooms, including lights. Next year Eli tells me he wants to 'really blow it out' with the outdoor lights. Interesting since I'm the only one ever setting them up. I told him he'd have to be more involved if he wants me to add to the many strands I already put up.
Grandma Cathie has given the kids matching holiday PJ's for as long as we can remember, and this year was no exception. All three crazies wore candy-cane-striped flannels the entire week of Christmas. And she made them their annual prize ball too. As 'simple' (and inexpensive!) as that gift is, they always comment that it's their favorite.
Each year we have the kids open their gifts to each other on Christmas Eve, mostly as a way for those gifts to be set apart from the rest and for them to be able to really focus on the thought behind them. This year, both older kids chose to give each other experiential gifts (with no prompting!). Maddux got Eli a fun football game and a dinner date to Doc Cheys. Eli made Maddux a small blanket (weaved) and a dinner date to Chipotle. They both loved their gifts. Maddux was SO excited for Eli to open hers; she sat next to him on the couch and watched his expression when he opened it, smiling at the slightest indication that he liked his gift (which he did). That girl loves her brother! Ruby got the kids walkie talkies which they were crazy excited about. They kept them in their rooms, chatting for a while after we put them to bed. Eli and Maddux got Ruby a small bean bag chair (which she loved).
After a fish dinner early afternoon, we went to Christmas Eve service. Maddux got to sing on stage for the last song (Silent Night) with the kids' choir. This was her first time on the stage at church, which she was nervous about. That struck me as so odd, considering her personality. As expected, she did great. Christmas Eve also held another first for Maddux: her first communion. (We talked to her about it ahead of time and made sure she understood the importance of it.) Eli was a bit out of sorts all week, but especially on Christmas Eve. He had a horrible mouth sore that made his speech almost unintelligible, and every movement (including eating) hurt.
Christmas morning started with Ruby putting Baby Jesus in the manger (Eli and Maddux were adamant that she be the one to do it). Stockings, breakfast, gifts, food, games and more eating followed. Ruby had a great time unwrapping her gifts. When Maddux let her, anyway. That girl was so excited for Ruby to see her gifts that she 'helped' her with everything, no matter how many times we tried to explain that, for Ruby, the fun was in the opening, not the seeing of the actual gift. We ended the day with a slice of Jesus birthday cake. The kids opted for chocolate this year instead of the festive red and green velvet we did last year.
And I know our days of full-Santa-trust are numbered...the kids peppered us with questions several weeks ago. But I know they still want to believe. Santa left a great note again this year, and as far as we know, there is at least a shred of belief in their hearts.

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