Can you believe Christmas is over??? With all the buildup and preparations we did over the month of December, it's hard to believe that it's already over and done! In our family, we spend Christmas Eve with my family and Christmas Day with Chris' family. Christmas Eve with my family was a little more low key than it was last year since my brothers and Noah's cousins did not come down to NJ this year. While I love spending time with the entire family and watching Noah play with his cousins, it was also nice to have a relaxed day with lots of gift opening, toy playing, song singing, and food eating.
We headed over to my parents' house early afternoon and Noah was immediately in awe of all the presents under the tree and asked if they were for him... they were ;) My mom had appetizers out, so we tried to distract Noah with food and Elmo's Christmas Countdown. Even Elmo couldn't win out over the appeal of all those gifts, so we gave in and decided to move on to gifts earlier than planned.
I loved Christmas this year because Noah finally really got it. While he enjoyed opening gifts last year, this year he got into the whole Santa thing and was super excited for Christmas to come. It was really fun watching him unwrap a gift and then ask Chris or me to "open that". We'd ask if he wanted to take a break to play with said toy, and he'd quickly change his mind and decide to unwrap more gifts instead.
^^^ while we didn't see my younger brother this Christmas, he and his husband did send Noah a toy :) I'm so glad we got to see my older brother and his family a few weeks ago for an "early Christmas"!
Noah took a break from opening gifts to give my parents' theirs. Each year, Noah makes them something and I gift them a personalized calendar from Shutterfly. Just like last year, we went to a paint your own ceramic place. This year, Noah chose all the paint colors (yellow of course) and painted a small plate for them complete with his cute little 3 year old handprint.
While my parents give the adults checks, my mom also wants us to have a present to unwrap as well. This year, the theme seemed to be leather. Chris got some new brown shoes for work and I got this Madewell cross body bag. Noah was very helpful in opening all the presents :)
^^^ despite it being 70 degrees on Christmas Eve, we are hopeful for a snowy winter ;)
Noah got some pretty cool gifts this year. His favorites were the magnatiles (not pictured), this Vtech Go Go Smart Garage, and a ukulele (or a guitar as Noah calls it) from my dad. I say that the ukulele is from my dad because my mom normally does all the shopping. But whenever a musical instrument is involved (which there often is in my family), my dad is the one to do it ;)
While we made sugar cookies at home the day before, I still thought it would be fun to decorate some cookies on Christmas Eve to leave out for Santa at my parents' house. My mom baked the cookies ahead of time so all we had to do was decorate. I guess Noah was all cookied out, because he mixed some food coloring in the icing (and got it all over his hands) and then decided he'd have enough and would rather play with his toys. My mom and I were left to decorate all on our own.
In my family, we love to sing songs at Christmas time. My dad takes out his guitar and we sing all the traditional Christmas songs (Jingle Bells, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and Santa Claus is Coming to Town). This year, my dad set Noah up on his ukulele and gave him a capo to use and everything. It was so cute to see Noah strumming along on his "guitar" just like Papa! I was also impressed to see how much better Noah got on it in just one evening. When he first got the ukulele, he was strumming a little too hard, but with practice he was playing so nice and gently.
It was finally time for dinner (ham, mashed potatoes, and veggies), where Noah got a very full stocking from Grandma & Papa. It was so cute, because leading up to Christmas, my mom kept asking me if certain things were "okay." For instance, she didn't know if Noah would get confused if he got a stocking on Christmas Eve as well. I would say that of course it was okay, and that if Noah seemed confused, I would have an explanation ready so he wouldn't get confused with the whole Santa thing. I figured I could always tell him that while Santa fills the stocking he opens on Christmas morning, other people (like grandparents) can fill stockings to give you as well. Honestly, I don't think Noah even cared and just liked opening more things ;)
The "Freel" family on Christmas Eve 2015 versus last year!
After dinner, I put Noah in his PJs and we put some cookies and chocolate milk out for Santa and left a real big carrot out for Rudolph (according to Noah the other reindeer don't get to eat). I then got a picture of Noah sitting on the stairs just like we had done years ago with my niece and nephew one Christmas Eve. We finished the night by reading "The Night Before Christmas" before heading home to bed.
^^^ Noah's Hanna Andersson pajamas are no longer online
Even though we only live about 10 minutes away, Noah passed out on the way home. It worked out well because it meant I could transfer him into his bed and get to work being Santa. Chris and I ran around bringing up the presents, filling Noah's stocking, and making sure everything looked perfect for Christmas morning :)
Did you have a wonderful Christmas Eve? Do you have any special family traditions?