This year S really understood Christmas and Santa and all the implications therein. She made me move the flower arrangement out of the fireplace because it would be in his way when he came down the chimney. We went all out in replicating the happy memories of our childhood and creating some new traditions. My sister and brother-in-law ended up spending the night which was fun to have them there to help set up and see the fun in the morning. Growing up, there was always an apple, an orange and some nuts in the shell in the toe of our stocking. Then a couple of small presents like sticker sheets or mini books. And always a Lifesaver Storybook and a candy-filled candy cane. The presents from Santa were always wrapped in different wrapping paper than what our other presents were in. (Obviously, Santa doesn't have our wrapping paper.) And the big presents were always from him.
My DH made French toast for breakfast the last couple of years, so that's become a new tradition. We incorporated the Elf on the Shelf this year. It worked well initially, but sort of lost its luster toward the end. But she's 3. It's hard to be good for very long! Our new daycare provider made reindeer food with the kids (oatmeal and glitter). S decided to try some herself - eek! Luckily, I got it away from her before she ingested too much. So we had cookies and milk for Santa, and reindeer food and carrots for the reindeer. We read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas as well as the story of Jesus' birth. And after all the craziness and naptime, we made Jesus a birthday cake. We sang Happy Birthday to him after supper. Though I think next year, I'll just buy a small, pre-made cake or cupcakes from the store, because having an entire cake in the house after all the other Christmas goodies was just too much. I brought it in to work today.
The only thing we didn't do that I wanted to was go to church. The scheduling with family get togethers and naptime just didn't work with the girls this year. In a couple of years when they are older, it will be fine, and I can't wait for that. The candlelit Christmas Eve service at my old church was one of my favorite things about the season before I was married. And I felt like the emphasis this year was more on Santa and less on Jesus. I think that will also be rectified as S gets a little older and can better understand the importance of Jesus. Overall, it was a hectic, exhausting, wonderful weekend!