We had a wonderful Christmas this year!
The first half of Christmas Eve is always boring for us. The kids are usually full of excitement and constantly asking when we're going to leave to celebrate with our family. We usually count down the hours S L O W L Y until the fun begins.
We changed things up a bit this year! I saved some Christmas craft projects until Christmas Eve morning. We finished painting our handprint snowman ornaments, then made reindeer food.
We also added something new this year, which I think I'm going to expand next year. A few days ago, we invited our friend and her kids over for brunch. Next year, I want to include all our close friends, and make Christmas Eve brunch a new tradition! The kids had fun with their friends and it really gave us something to look forward to!
After they left, I cleaned the house. By the time I finished, it was time to leave. For once, the afternoon passed by quickly!
I love Christmas Eve and I was eager to get our evening started!
Our first stop was at my sister's house so we could celebrate Christmas Eve with my family. We had appetizers, cookies, and an informal dinner. The kids played with their cousins. It was noisy and chaotic, but they had fun! The kids got to open their gifts, then the adults had a white elephant ugly gift exchange.
All too soon, it was time to head out. Everybody started to leave, and we soon followed. It's always hard to leave my family celebration, but I do enjoy spending time with Grant's family, too.
We headed to Christmas Eve round two, while the kids sang happy birthday to Jesus for the entire ride. It was so cute!
We do the same thing every year. We celebrate Christmas Eve with Grant's family at his Nannie's house. We don't get there until 9, which is after church, and we always end up staying until at least 11:30. We have been doing this every year since I met Grant, and we stayed with tradition! We have since added a few traditions of our own: giving each kid a present from us, letting the kids open their ornaments that Grant's mom picked out for them, and giving the kids Christmas pajamas.
We always try to take a few family pictures right after we get there. This year, somebody didn't want to cooperate...that is, until she was able to pose alone!
The first thing we did was let the kids open a small gift from us. They were waiting so patiently, and I knew it would give me a chance to eat while they played!
After a delicious, late-night Christmas Eve dinner, which includes Grant's Uncle Scott's incredible eggnog, Grant's mom gave the kids their special ornaments. Dylan got a GI Joe ornament because he wants to be a US marine, Lexie got a Holiday Barbie ornament, and Lily got a little snowman ornament. Dylan and Lexie adored their ornaments this year, but Lily enjoyed chewing on the gift bag...and the box...and the snowman's hat. She wasn't very impressed this year, but I know she'll grow to love this tradition, just like Dylan and Lexie!
Finally, it was time to give the kids their Christmas pajamas. Along with their ornaments, this is one of the traditions they look forward to the most on Christmas Eve.
After our usual gift exchange with Nannie and Uncle Scott, it became apparent that the kids were exhausted.
We reluctantly said our goodbyes, packed up the car, and attempted to drive by some Christmas light displays on our short drive home.
As soon as we got home, we rushed through our get ready for Santa routine. First up was sprinkling the reindeer food on our front lawn.
We hung our Santa key on our door because we don't have a real chimney, put out chocolate chip cookies (Santa said they were his favorite) and milk for Santa, put our Santa letter pouch next to the cookies and milk, then hung our new ornaments on the tree.
The kids brushed their teeth, then cuddled up next to daddy to track Santa's progress.
Next up, we read our two favorite books about the birth of Jesus, one of which I have read to Dylan since he was a few days old, then listened to "The Night Before Christmas" book, which was recorded by Papa and Nina. By the time we finished, the kids were bursting with affection and excitement.
Finally, they were nestled all snug in their beds.
In the peace and quiet of the night, Santa visited our house.
It was a very joyous and blessed Christmas Eve!