The girls had a half day on Friday and I visited all three classrooms to take holiday outfit photos. After lunch, we visited Santa. Due to smart planning, our wait time was less than a half hour.
(One child, who expressed an interest in seeing Santa, refused to participate even when I told her I wouldn't take a photo if she didn't want me to.)
Friday afternoon, the girls and I baked and decorated sugar cookies - some for us to eat and some for dessert on Christmas Day. After dinner (ribs, yummmmm), I made soup for us to reheat and eat for dinner after Christmas Eve mass. This is when the food prep situation became too insane for me and I need to make changes for next year. I want to enjoy Christmas, including the days leading up to Christmas, and not run around bitter and annoyed with a sore back because I've spent hours upon hours in the kitchen. So Friday night, I basically made and cleaned up two dinners (after cleaning up from cookie baking) and started making the lasagna for Christmas dinner. A family friend, who spends Christmas with us, can't eat gluten, so I roasted eggplant to make her lasagna. Then I quit for the night.
Saturday morning, Rich and I picked up the house and rearranged furniture, etc. We met some of Rich's family at a restaurant for a little holiday lunch. By the time we returned home, there really wasn't time to do much before heading to church (super early so we could sit.) After dinner, I really just wanted to enjoy the evening (it's Christmas Eve!) but I needed to finish making the lasagnas and pull together an egg casserole for the morning. (My sister-in-law and brother-in-law joined us for breakfast Christmas morning.)
The tradition in my family is to serve a turkey dinner on Christmas Day but after last year, Rich and I decided to go with an Italian dinner because some of it could be prepared ahead of time or purchased already made (meatballs.) Admittedly, that did save us time on Christmas Day but I wasn't wowed by the meal and some of that prep time was simply shifted from Christmas Day to right before Christmas Day.
Changes for next year:
- Christmas Eve dinner needs to be easy. Pizza will do.
- If we host breakfast on Christmas Day, it will be pastries and muffins.
- I'm tossing around the idea of breakfast for dinner on Christmas Day.
Okay, on to the good stuff . . .
Christmas Day. Rich woke us up at 7:45. I guess Anna had been awake since 6:00 but I was so tired, I slept through any early morning shenanigans. The girls loved their presents. They each received about 10-12 small gifts (items such as headbands, socks, Barbie dolls, clothing, small handbags and lotion.) There were real, non-princess scooters as a big gift and we will be going away for a night in a few weeks. I have trouble every year balancing how much to give them because I want to give them everything but our parenting style doesn't include overindulgence. I want them to be grateful for what they have and not always be looking for the next best thing. Life isn't about material items. But these are my only babies and I want to spoil them. (See the struggle.)
I remind the girls every year that Christmas is about giving, and not about what you receive. (Especially with grab gifts.) Without any prompting from us and without asking for money or to go shopping, they came up with gifts for each other. And they were very resourceful and creative about it. My favorite gifts were the coupons Emily made for Allie and Anna allowing them to borrow books and clothing. Anna used one immediately for an outfit.
Lastly, I have to state that Pinterest has completely ruined the Elf on the Shelf for me. All I heard this year was how so and so's elf was doing this or that and being funny or naughty and why doesn't our elf do any of those things. I was tempted to tell them that, unfortunately, our elf may be lazy and unimaginative but no, that's not fair. Your elf is here to watch you and report back to Santa. Your elf is not here to provide entertainment or make a mess or do naughty things. Our elf did branch out this year with respect to hiding spots which were funny/entertaining but then the next morning, he would be back in a "typical" spot. Grumble, grumble. I'll end with the funniest statement regarding the elf: "If I find out you're controlling him, I'm going to be so mad."
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take many photos. That's my nephew in his Buzz outfit which was one of the highlights of the day.