I love Christmas. I love the decorations, the music, the lights and just the general air of excitement and anticipation. I love reading Christmas cards from friends and family. I love the sappy Christmas movies they show on the Hallmark Channel (and other similar stations). I love wrapping presents. I love taking my kids shopping and seeing what creative things they come up with to give people. I love baking goodies for the neighbors. I love all the special foods that we make only at Christmastime. I love dressing the girls in their Christmas dresses and the boys in their Christmas ties. I especially love all the family traditions associated with Christmas.
One of my favorite traditions is reading Christmas stories. We have three different “Countdown to Christmas” story collections, so every night we sit by the Christmas tree and read stories. A couple of my all–time favorites are “The Tale of Three Trees” and “Trouble at the Inn”. Although I have read these stories many times, I still get choked up every time I read them!
Unlike many families, one of our traditions is that we don’t cook on Christmas Day. Instead we have our nice dinner on Christmas Eve. Since we did not live by family when I was growing up, we always got together with friends on Christmas Eve. We eat dinner and sometimes go caroling or out to look at Christmas lights. Then we don bathrobes and towels on our heads to reenact the Nativity while reading the story of Jesus’ birth from the bible.
Last year's Nativity Reenactment---Shepherd Riley, Angel Kaiya, Wiseman Alec and Cora as Mary
On Christmas Eve, after our dinner is through and any guests have gone home, we sit around the Christmas tree and we each choose our favorite Christmas song to sing. Then we take lots of pictures by the tree---we take the girls together, the boys together, the whole family, the kids, etc. We always finish with a “pile” picture. Growing up, I had four brothers. As you can imagine, this was NOT their favorite part of the evening. I think it has actually become part of the tradition for them to whine and complain the whole time.
After pictures, we each open one present, which is always pajamas. After putting on the new jammies, we of course have to take a couple more pictures before setting the milk and cookies out for Santa and jumping into bed.
For breakfast Christmas morning, we always have those little single-serve boxes of cereal. My grandparents started this tradition when my mom was a young child. They couldn’t afford to have cereal all the time, so having cereal on Christmas morning was a special treat. Even though we have cereal for breakfast almost every day at our house, my kids still love getting the little boxes for Christmas. In fact, if you ask my kids what traditions we have for Christmas, the little cereal boxes are usually the only thing they remember. With our little cereals, we also have cinnamon rolls and chocolate milk.
Christmas this year should be a lot of fun. We have had to be a little bit creative with our Christmas decorations. The babies are that stage where they are curious about everything, and don’t quite listen when you tell them “no”. Our Christmas tree has a baby gate surrounding it, and all of our other decorations have been placed out of reach. I am sure the babies will like opening presents and playing with the paper and boxes. Riley and Kaiya are a bit concerned that the babies will attack all of their presents as well.
Today was the Sunday before Christmas and all the kiddos were dressed in their Christmas clothes. I attempted to get a picture of each of the kids in front of the Christmas tree, but not everyone wanted to cooperate!
The Girls: Kassidy, Rachelle, Kaydence, Kyndall and Kaiya
Jayson and Rachelle
My brother Colby and his girlfriend Neeha stopped by this weekend for a couple of hours on their way to Arizona. I made them pose for a few pictures. Colby said that he thinks I may have become worse than our mom when it comes to taking lots of pictures-----I think I will take that as a compliment!