I have very fond memories of the holiday season growing up. My parents did an exceptional job of making this time of year feel magical. We weren't lavished with presents. We never took fancy trips. We celebrated the season as a family. We spent time together, splurged on a few gifts, and spent a good deal of time with our friends and church members. I can't put my finger on exactly why the holidays were so magical, but there was always a sense of wonder and excitement.
This year I really tried to re-create those same feelings from my childhood for my kids. I kept things simple and didn't stress about running around shopping and trying to make everything perfect. I did most of my shopping online and had all of my presents wrapped the week before Christmas. This little bit of extra planning gave me the free time I wanted just to be with my family.
I was able to take the week before Christmas as vacation. Not having to work was wonderful. I arranged for a group of neighborhood friends to go ice skating with my oldest son Owen and I. We had a blast. My sister kept the boys over night one day so Ed and I got to have a nice date night. We baked lots of cookies. We spent one evening looking at a wonderful display of Christmas lights at Callaway Gardens. It was a wonderful week leading up to the big day.
Christmas Eve we had our traditional family dinner and then the boys got to open two presents.
Ellis opened a Curious George lunch box. He loves George and really wants to go to school, so this was a great gift for him.
Owen opened a Cars PlayStation 3 video game. He really wanted a Nintendo DS but Ed and I want him to keep his Leapster for at least another year so we thought the video game was a nice compromise.
The video game has been a huge hit. I think that Ed has played the video game almost as much as Owen.
After the boys opened the toys they got to open one other gift. They got matching Christmas PJ's. I've given then PJ's on Christmas Eve for the last three years but Owen obviously forgot. He was not very excited about the present. He made me promise that he didn't have any more gifts that were clothes under the tree. Kids have the oddest opinions sometimes. I'm glad that they both humored me and wore the PJs. Don't they look so cute together?
After presents we read The Polar Express and set out cookies and milk for Santa and carrots and celery for the reindeer.
Later that evening after everyone was asleep Santa came.