Christmas was always so fun for me as a child, so when I began my family, I wanted to make sure they had as much fun with it as I did. For the first 2 ½ years, when Bradley was an only child and we lived in New Berlin, we would come and stay in Beaver Dam for the holidays. Christmas Eve was always spent with the in-laws and Christmas Day was with my family.
Once Nathan came along, it was time for Santa to start his appearances. I was insistent that each child’s presents were wrapped in their own paper. I made it a point to go out and find similar, coordinating papers to wrap each child’s presents in, and that paper could NOT be used on any other presents. Once Jess came into the picture, it became a little more difficult to find a matching collection of paper, but I always managed.
When organizing Santa, it was important to not only have a similar quantity of presents for the kids but also spend a similar amount on each. That may have been one of the more challenging parts of the holiday. I finally took to making an Excel spreadsheet to track my expenses and presents for everyone. I’ve been using the same spreadsheet for at least the past 15 years!
Christmas Eve continues to be celebrated with their dad’s side of the family and I revel in the time afforded me on that day alone to finish the last-minute items that need to be done. For so many years, Santa didn’t even get to wrapping any presents until around 11 pm on Christmas Eve, after coming home from the in-laws. Thank goodness I’ve gotten smarter and I plan my time much better. Now, I use that spare time wisely and celebrate the holidays with some well-deserved sushi and plum wine.
In addition to the kids presents under the tree from Santa, there are also stockings for each one. In past years, the stockings have gone by the wayside and have been replaced by a Christmas gift bag sitting on the kitchen table for each kid. Some families may decrease in numbers as their kids leave home, but my numbers seem to increase. Instead of 3 stockings and stacks of presents, I now have 5! Because of my increased numbers, I’ve given up on wrapping each kid in a unique paper and now simply make labels for each present. Last year, I used my Cricut and cut out gnome labels, and hand-colored each one. My presents were also all wrapped before Christmas Eve!!!
Christmas morning continues to be celebrated with me whether it’s at my house or their dad’s. If it’s at my house, Santa sets the dining room table with the good china and crystal and even puts an egg bake in the fridge ready for the next morning. Once everyone has arrived, the orange juice and champagne are opened and mimosas are spread around. Everyone tears into their gifts excitedly and after the chaos is cleaned up, it’s time to enjoy our special breakfast.
After our tummies are full, we sit around talking for a bit for an hour or so until everyone needs to go their separate ways in preparation for the evening activities. Christmas evening is always spent at Grandma Sandy and Grandpa Art’s house. It’s there that the “kids” get their presents from Grandma/Grandpa and in recent years, we’ve also included a Secret Santa tradition.
We’ve talked about making changes to the way that we celebrate our Christmas evening at Grandma Sandy’s, like having it at someone else’s house or structuring the gift-giving differently, but my kids especially, are creatures of habit and insist that nothing changes. This year, we are making an exception to the tradition and due to an unexpected illness on mom’s part, we will be having the celebration at my house. Good thing my house is decorated, cleaned and all my presents are already wrapped!
Just writing about the events of those two days makes me excited for the season and ready for another year.
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