Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Traditions at Our House

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I surprised the girls, with Frosty in our bathtub a few days before Christmas.
Our Christmas begins around suppertime on Christmas Eve. When the twins were itty bitty, we started the tradition of pizza on Christmas Eve, because ordering a pizza delivered was a way to have a "treat" and keep the kitchen clean for the Christmas Day company. Over the years, it's varied whether we order delivery (when we first moved to PA, we discovered that there were no pizza delivery places that were OPEN on Christmas Eve. . . now, we live far enough out, I don't think there are any pizza places that deliver, ever), made our own pizza, picked it up from a local pizza place that doesn't deliver, or used frozen pizzas. Whatever we do, it's pizza, and that makes it tradition. 

Another Christmas Eve tradition is the Christmas Eve presents. Ever since the twins' first Christmas, we have had a few, select, Christmas Eve presents. They are always the "same", but the girls love it. Each of the girls gets to open Christmas pajamas, or nightgowns (for the last several years, my mom has made nightgowns for the girls).  The other presents for Christmas Eve are to be shared, but there are 3, since there are 3 girls. In theory, they are books, DVDs, or games, to be read/watched/played that evening. Whether we actually use them all that evening, varies. This year, when we did our Christmas Unit Study in November, Little Bit fell in love with the Grinch movie, and was so sad when it had to go back to the library. So that was this year's Christmas Eve DVD. She watched it 3-4 times before bedtime, and 3 or 4 more times on Christmas day LOL.

After supper, and presents, the big girls decided they wanted to paint their nails. Not to be left out, Little Bit asked if she could paint Daddy's toes. She got rags, and put them under his feet, then Lexie helped her, to make sure nothing spilled on the floor. Daddy now has VERY colorful toes :) 
By the time all the nails (Daddy's toes, and big girls' nails) were well-painted, it was almost bedtime, and that meant Monkey Bread time. Monkey Bread is terribly NOT healthy (though some year I'm going to play around with using homemade, whole wheat, dough), but it's yummy AND a way to have a treat for Christmas morning without taking a bunch of time on Christmas morning. The girls all prepare the monkey bread right before bed, then it raises all night (this year I put it IN the oven to raise, to keep the cats away from it) and on Christmas morning we just put it in the oven, and we're ready to go. 
Christmas morning starts with stockings. Since we give the girls gifts for Hanukkah, stockings are the only gifts we give them. 

Once the stockings had been opened, we baked the Monkey Bread, and Lexie and Ashlyn had some of the instant (decaf) coffee from their stockings, while Rodney and I enjoyed our real coffee, hee hee.

Then, after the final clean-up in preparation for the grandparents, the girls decided to exchange the gifts they'd gotten, or made, for each other, and for Rodney and me.

By then it was about time for the grandparents to start getting there.

Little Bit loved her Hello Kitty necklace
With the coming of the grandparents, there was much more present-opening to keep everyone occupied. Little Bit can read her own name, so she busily set to work finding all HER presents, and tearing through them as fast as possible. She also discovered that everyone ELSE was willing to let her "help" open their presents, so she got plenty of present-opening in.

Lexie was thrilled to get a music stand to make violin practice easier!

Little Bit ran right upstairs to try on her shirt from Aunt Darla.

Once the present chaos was contained, we fixed dinner. With our small house, that required cleaning up most of the mess from presents, so we'd have room to set up the table, but that made clean-up that evening much easier than it has been some years LOL. Lexie and Ashlyn worked together to arrange the veggie tray Christmas Tree. Some other Christmas Dinner traditions we have include spiced hot apple cider. I throw it in the Crockpot before everyone gets here, and let it "brew" all day. It's yummy, makes the house smell great, and is no effort at mealtime.  We also keep dessert simple, and just have whatever Christmas cookies we have made, or other people bring.

There's no way of avoiding having things be abit crowded when we have a meal with lots of people in our house, but it was fun just the same. By the time everyone had eaten and we'd cleared things up enough that people could walk through the house again, it was time for the grandparents to start packing up and head home.

Christmas evening is laid back and relaxing. If anyone is hungry for supper, we just pull out leftovers from lunch. I think Little Bit watched the Grinch a few more times. Lexie curled up with a new book for awhile . . . all 3 girls spent time checking out various Christmas gifts. It was calm and laid back and a perfect end to a busy day with family :)

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