Once we get to the 15th of December Christmas starts becoming very real! Our neighborhood is lit with colorful lights, I play Christmas music on the way home from school, and it's coming down to the wire for ordering online gifts. While we still need a few gifts for family members and neighbors and friends, I've done pretty well at getting things ahead of time. I'm slightly antsy about my recent Amazon order even though the site makes it easy by offering free shipping and letting you know if it'll get to you by Christmas.... the 24th as the latest delivery date is cutting it close! Probably we'll get it much earlier as they give you a large window of possible delivery dates. The kids are going to be VERY spoiled this year, as in all years really! It pays to be the only two grandkids on both sides of the family with 2 sets of grandparents and many aunts and uncles, including the adopted kind.
This year we kept it pretty minimal in decorating the house. I've been very busy at work and haven't had great energy levels, so we only got out enough to make it festive. In our living room, which is the entrance to the house and where the girls use the computer for games and movies, we put lights around the entrance to the dining room and around the banister. We decorated the top of the piano with a mini-tree; our angel tree-topper sits next to it; and beside that there is the Little People Nativity. Our four stockings hang from the top of the bookshelf and our antique elves sit up top. In the basement, where Will and I watch TV we put a table-top tree. I guess it's about 4 foot. We only got out the girl's ornaments which are plenty to decorate the small tree. A colorful star and color lights in addition to the prelit white lights of the tree make it very cheerful. I love sitting by the glow of a Christmas tree in the evening.
Santa will be visiting us at my parent's house this year. Last year S was in the Christmas pageant at our parish, but only 2nd graders are involved, so we'll be back there next year for G. Both sides of the family came to Christmas eve mass last year and had dinner at our house. This year, we'll be going to my parents, attending mass at their church, and staying the night. After the kids go to bed the adults exchange gifts. This is a tradition we started when I was a kid. After friends had left, my sister and brother and I would exchange our gifts for one another. After we had S, this tradition grew and the exchange extended to our boyfriends, now our spouses, and now my brother's girlfriend, who is the best gift-giver! With living in NC for a few years, we took turn traveling for Christmas, but when we came up to MD, we continued the Christmas eve gift exchange. Then Will's parents get us for Christmas day and dinner. It's a whirlwind of presents for everyone. The kids get Santa gifts in the morning, then gifts from grandparents and aunts and uncles, which sometimes starts Christmas eve since Christmas day will be filled with so many already. This year Santa will be leaving a couple gifts under our tree at home, too. One, because it's too large to travel, and the other to be fair. The magic is still going for G and S is dealing with knowing the truth and still keeping up the joy and magic of the holiday. She's been good about keeping the secret, but she'd like to find a classmate in the same boat as her. The problem is even if a friend does know what she knows, they've also been told never to tell any other kids, so they all just lie to each other telling each other they believe in Santa. It's pretty hilarious.
I doubt I'll blog again before Christmas, so Happy Holidays!