Our Christmas was perfect this year. It was quiet and laid back, spent at home with family- just the way we like it. My husband had spent the better part of November and December on the road for work, so we did not see much of him for roughly 6 weeks. (Thank God that is done with now!) So just the fact that he was home and not working made it perfect to us. As I see it, Christmas starts for us on the 23rd and goes until the 26th. Why make such an important holiday only 1 day?
On the 23rd we worked on baking our sugar cookies for Santa:
Christmas Eve is always spent at my Mom and Dad's. We used to make a dinner of hors d'oeuvres with things like shrimp cocktail, chicken bites, nachos, chicken salad on rye and pumpernickel, among other things. Over the past few years Mom has instead started doing nice sit down dinners. One year she made Beef Bourguignon that was AMAZING. This year's dinner was just as amazing- she made oven roasted Cornish game hens with a cranberry salsa ( I need to get the recipe from her). She also served a salad with a raspberry vinaigrette, rice pilaf, fresh green beans,and fresh whole steamed carrots. It was an incredible meal, and the best part- everything was completely Dairy Free!
Since Mom made the main course, I brought the hors d'oeuvers: Kale Pesto with mini toasts and Roasted Red Pepper Pesto with crackers. I didn't get a picture because we were too busy tracking Santa on the NORAD Santa Tracker. The girls love following Santa on his Christmas Eve journey around the world. They both got so very excited when they saw he was in Cape Town, South Africa delivering gifts to two of their very best friends.
I did manage to get a few pictures before dinner.
The table all set for dinner:
The girls ready to eat this delicious meal:
After dinner the girls got their Christmas Jammies, specially made by my friend over at It's My Favorite...Boutique. Once they were in their jammies it was time for "The Night Before Christmas" to be read by Nana's special Christmas Bear. Abby absolutely loved the reading bear, and insisted on hearing the story twice!
(please pardon the quality of the pictures. My camera is having issues lately and will be going back to the company soon. For now, these are the best pictures I have)
Soon after it was time to head home to do our few Christmas Eve traditions before the little ones went off to bed.
We had to put out the Reindeer Food:
I attempted to get a picture of all 3 girls in front of the tree. The Little One had other plans and ran off, so instead I only got a picture of the two Big Ones:
After pictures it was time to write our notes to Santa ( which the girls did all on their own this year) and put out cookies and milk for the Big Guy. A new tradition that the oldest one started a couple years ago is to leave a small gift for Santa too. She thinks that he should get a Thank You for all the gifts he brings, so she has started making him a Christmas gift. This year it was a tree ornament. Sam drew a picture for him.
Christmas Morning with a 5 year old dawns bright and EARLY. We were ready for them though. The coffee was already brewing, and before the stockings were opened our French Toast Casserole for breakfast was in the oven.
While we waited for my parents to arrive, the girls got to open their goodies from Santa:
Each big girl got her own chair, and the Little One got a table and chair set. They got other things as well, of course! There was Hello Kitty, Build-A-Bear stuff,and a barking dog (yay) for the Middle One; a soccer ball, and Hexbugs with 2 Habitats for the Big One. Santa brought play food, a learning kitty, and blocks for the Little One. The girls' lists were smaller this year, and so Santa brought them what they asked for.
In the break between opening Santa's gifts and Mom and Dad arriving, I snuck in some snuggle time with my Middle One:
Once Mom and Dad arrived, the room was again filled with presents, and the girls got to work opening those gifts and their gifts from us.
The were American Girl dolls and clothes galore this year, since that is what my Mom and Dad get the girls.
The Little One got her very first AG doll:
And a stroller to push her around in.
There were also Legos, Little People, clothes, books, and other things. ( I can't even remember it all now!)
Along with getting gifts, the girls loved giving their gifts to each other and to us. From my girls I got a beautiful necklace and earring set, a cookie jar and coffee mug, and One Tree Hill Season 7:-) They gave their Daddy table top fuse ball and ping pong.
The Biggest One also helped the Littlest One with opening her gifts, and the two had a lot of snuggle time together. This picture makes my heart happy:
Once the girls had all their gifts opened, it was time for the adults to enjoy opening our gifts to each other. This was the first year I had no idea at all of what to expect. I had not really asked for anything in particular, except for 1 thing- a New England Patriots jersey. Which my husband got for me:-) He also gave me a beautiful tea set from Teavana along with 2 canisters of tea, my first University of Michigan sweatshirt (GO BLUE!), and several other fun things.
From Mom and Dad I got a new Allergy Free cookbook- recipes from it will be tried and posted here I am sure, a sewing set and book since Mom is giving me her other sewing machine, and some kitchen items including new soup bowls that I have been searching for.
I gave my husband a Michigan hoody as well so now we'll match on Game Day:
Of course I gave him other things- boring "guy" stuff;-)
The funniest gift I think were the 7 flashlights my husband got! Bruin, our dog, gave him a set of 4, and my parents gave him a set of 3! Guess that's what happens when you have a hurricane hit your area and take out your power for a few days- for Christmas you get tons of flashlights! At least now we have one in every room, just in case!
We ended the day with a simple Christmas dinner of a baked ham with sides and dessert. My Mom makes the BEST Cranberry Pecan pie! By the time the day was over, we were all exhausted, but in a good way. Now we have 10 months to rest up before we do it all again next year!