With my parents and sister Charity here, this was an extra fun Christmas. Plus all our kids are at such great ages right now - everyone's old enough to "get" Christmas but no one's jaded or too old to be thoroughly sucked into the magic of it all. I know the day will come when the kids will ask Santa for electronics or clothes but for now, their requests all involve fun toys that they can play with together all day on Christmas. There's nothing like playing all day long with your excited kids and their magical new toys.
Here's how the living room looked before the kids came in Christmas morning:
And here are the kids singing on the stairs to wake us up while checking out all the good stuff Santa put in their stockings (Santa puts their stockings in their rooms like he does in England).
The kids were thoroughly delighted with the treasures Santa brought (I love how little it takes to thoroughly delight young kids). We played and played with Santa's gifts, had our traditional eggs benedict breakfast, then gradually opened the rest of the presents throughout the day.
It's our tradition to stay in our PJ's all day long on Christmas and spread out the presents to last the whole day (we even had a few more presents to open the next morning!). We just open and play, open and play, eat candy and oranges, indulge in rich foods like eggs benedict and a big turkey dinner, and relax all day long - no where to go, no schedule to keep - it's heavenly. We did take a short walk around the neighborhood (in our PJ's) so that Isaac could properly try out his new PowerWing scooter. But other than that we were cozy by the fire, snuggling, playing, opening, feeling so grateful for thoughtful gifts from loved ones, feeling so joyful that we have such wonderful children and relatives to enjoy the day with.
Oliver and Silas were especially delighted with every single gift they received (even clothes). Oliver was the very most thankful for each gift. He'd let out a big "Ohhhhhhh!" as he'd open each gift, then gleefully cry out "This is JUST what I wanted!!!!!!" (whether the present was a shirt or a toy, it was always exactly what he had his heart set on apparently.) Ollie and Si couldn't get enough of their transformers and Bakugons and race car set and these fun "Ben 10" guys that you can put together different ways. They were thoroughly happy and cute and fun every second the whole day long.
Eliza was thoroughly thrilled with her new doll. Ever since she sent off her letter to Santa two months ago, requesting this particular doll, Eliza has been agonizing over the right name for this doll if she were to be lucky enough to really receive it from Santa. After oooing and ahing over the "most beautiful doll ever" on Christmas morning, she made her big announcement - "Her name is Tasha!" Tasha has been with Eliza pretty much every minute since. Eliza was also so happy with a bunch of clothes and a new tea set (she promptly hosted a tea party).
Isaac got the PowerWing scooter he'd been wanting. He's already mastered several pretty fancy tricks on that thing - it's really fun! He also got a couple little remote control cars and a bunch of fun HotWheels stuff - he can't get enough of little cars.
Ashton got an erector set that you can use to build actual remote control cars. He's had a little trouble making anything work so far, but he's happy and both his and Jared's eyes popped out with joy when Ashton opened the erector set and saw all the 100's of exciting little parts in there. What he really really wanted was a Lego Mindstorm but that was a little out of Santa's price range (the kids were informed this year that Santa has a LOT of kids all over the world to make gifts for so we need to be sensitive in asking for fairly modest gifts - while he does make everything with his elves, they do need to purchase or find the raw materials so we want to be sure not to ask for too much....) so he requested money from anyone who asked for his birthday and for Christmas and he's well on his way to the $300 he needs for that thing.
Jared wasn't supposed to get me anything but somehow I ended up with more presents than ever - some clothes, a gift certificate for detailing my car (it really needs the help!) and some other thoughtful things. My favorite was a nice wire basket for serving bread - Jared found one with a shape and size he liked, then refinished and painted the basket to match our house better. I love homemade gifts so much!
Jared's big gift was a bluray player - something he's wanted for a long time but something I just didn't think was very necessary since we've got a perfectly good (albeit very old) DVD player. I swallowed my practicality and frugality and found a good player for a good price. Jared was so excited. And now I'm a convert. That thing really shows off all that our theater room downstairs is really supposed to be - the sound is amazing, the picture is perfect. Since we love movies and have a family movie night each week, this will be so great to have. And Jared deserves something he doesn't absolutely NEED every so often, for sure!
As always, one of my very favorite parts of Christmas was seeing the kids open up the gifts they'd saved up and carefully selected for each other. The excitement of both the giver and the receiver is always so beautiful! The boys all chipped in to get Eliza the Barbie clothes they knew she wanted (Isaac: "that Barbie she has is always naked and it's embarrassing"). Isaac and Eliza got Ashton a set of pentominos (we read the book Chasing Vermeer together and they all got fascinated with these penotomino things - sort of a tetrus/tangram combination). They're all old enough now to really think about what each person would like so it was extra fun to see their excitement in giving gifts they just knew the receiver would love.
It was so fun to share everyone's glee with my parents and Charity who got right into the joy of it all with us. They pitched in to help with everything and made everything more fun. There's nothing like sharing your Christmas traditions and Christmas joy with those who enjoy everything as much as you do.
Here's our turkey dinner complete with Christmas crackers in honor of Charity who recently got back from her mission to England - and in honor of all the years I lived in England with my parents. Gotta have the Christmas crackers!