This Christmas season has felt like a checklist where I am running out of time. Every other year, I have had every gift purchased and wrapped before December 1st. Due to finances and timing of paychecks/bonuses, shopping has been ongoing throughout the entire month. It is not my favorite way to prepare for the holidays.
Christmas Day is the most exciting, overstimulating day of the year. We celebrate with three rounds of family meals and gifts. There's a lot of noise, people, food, presents, and driving. It's an incredibly joyous day, but it takes several days for our family to recover. Here are the highlights from our Christmas festivities:
Jesse was up with indigestion all night, which kept me up with anxiety. Jackson was up well before 7 a.m. as usual. The girls were also awake. We decided to let James sleep until 7:30, before waking him up to head downstairs. Jackson was eager to go downstairs. Maddie repeated, "No Santa! I want eat!" I crept downstairs to get everyone some graham crackers and milk.
Because of our large family and excessively generous in-laws, Santa is very minimal in our house. The kids each had one big gift and a few very small things (play-doh, tiny figurine, etc). We also bought a large set of knock off Magnatiles for the family.
Jackson opened his gifts with expected excitement.
As soon as James unveiled his train table, the trio were no longer interested in opening gifts.
I love this typical Maddie expression. Both girls love to walk around with bags and say, "I go shopping" and start hoarding things in their backpacks and purses. Now they have bags and carts.
James continued to play with his trains, ignoring his siblings, unopened gift, and stocking.
Not long after opening Santa's presents, MiMi and PaPa arrived with more gifts. One of the gifts included a new camera! I still haven't played around with it much, but I'm excited to have the resource to take better photos again. The kids played with MiMi and PaPa and their new gifts. Jesse struggled to assemble certain toys while I prepared breakfast.
Breakfast was a tater tot casserole, cream cheese squares , apple cinnamon waffles, fruit, and leftover cracker candy from Christmas Eve. Hopefully it was worth the wait.
We had two hours to play, clean up, and cook our potluck lunch items. Then it was off to drive to my oldest sister's house for Christmas with my side of the family.
It has only recently occurred to me that not everyone celebrates Christmas by piling on the floor, sofas, and tables in every room. This is how we've always celebrated holidays, especially as our extended family has grown in numbers. I can't imagine ever sitting at a table with fine china. I can't even imagine sitting in one place the entire meal.
Our family is pretty great about taking traditional family photos. Here are the cousins, all in their new pajamas:
And the sibling shot. I don't know where my brother's neck went, ha!
We even managed to take a decent family photo. This is one of the few photos with everyone looking at the camera.
My sisters put up Amelia's hair in pigtails. I've since been able to replicate the pigtails. Perhaps they'll teach me to braid next year. (Have I mentioned how much I despise doing hair?)
After a few hours at my sister's, it was onward to our in-laws for the final round of Christmas. Most everyone napped on the hour long drive.
It was another fun round of family, food, and presents. Once again, it was an eat-wherever-you-can-find-a-spot, unwrap-whenever-you-get-a-present kind of informal style.
All the Star Wars hype may actually replace Jackson's love for Avengers.
We couldn't leave without a photo of MiMi and PaPa with all their grandkids.
We stopped to watch a Christmas lights show at a house near Jesse's parents, then drove home. Jackson was wide awake and insistent about helping unload everything. This is all the loot the kids accrued from their generous family.
It is so easy to get lost in the chaos and excitement of Christmas with big families. It's an easy day for kids to feel entitled or spoiled. I sincerely hope our kids are learning to be grateful and generous. Next year I hope to put more emphasis on the Advent season and instilling a heart of service, rather than focus on an Excel spreadsheet of presents or forgetting to move an Elf.