Christmas is a little bit different at our house this year. We’re not having a tree. Cassidy is the only one really bummed over it, but she’s accepted it. It just isn’t practical with our current living arrangements. Lauren came home for the holidays and brought her new dog, Charlie, adding a third dog to the mix. When Charlie and Jaxon start playing they get pretty hyped and up and a tree wouldn’t last a full day in this house. On a bright note, we are expecting the check back from our mortgage company any day and as soon as it arrives we will call the fence people and have them start on our fence ASAP. The dogs will still come inside to visit and sleep but we will finally have some much needed peace and quiet inside without tripping over dogs 24/7.
Christmas also feels different now that there is no one left who believes in Santa. The night is much easier on us now, but I will forever remember the days when they all still believed. It was always a challenge waiting on the kids to fall asleep after a long night with my family and our gift exchange. It seemed to take forever to get them settled down once we got home. Of course, we had to put out cookies and milk for Santa and then sprinkle the front yard with reindeer snacks (oatmeal and carrots). We were usually up all night assembling and arranging toys. Let me rephrase that, Les assembled toys while I arranged things and did kid checks.
Santa has never wrapped any toys for the kids. Each kid has a spot and all of their presents from Santa are neatly laid out and displayed. If there was a toddler kitchen set then it was all set up with the food (waffles in the toaster, etc) and ready to play with, and the same with a doll house, farm animals or tool workshop. We only wrap a gift or two to be from us that they open after seeing what Santa has brought.
That is how my Santa did our Christmas and it carried over for my kids. I could sit in front of my spot for ten minutes staring and picking things up and then look again and see something that I hadn’t yet noticed. I never felt like I missed out on opening gifts. I always liked looking at all of my things neatly displayed. My Santa would even put an outfit together on the couch or chair and I do the same. We also have a rule that was also carried over from my childhood that the first one to wake up has to wake everyone else up before they go into the living room. We all go together. My brother was always the first one up and I know that he always sneaked a good peak before waking the entire house. I am pretty sure my kids do the same thing but generally they abide by the rules. In this house it is usually Cassidy who wakes up first.
The kids usually have to wait on me to slip on my house shoes on and wash my face. Oh, and I usually have to run to the potty first. I remember the excitement as a kid of just dying to get into the living room to see what Santa had brought and how I could hardly contain myself while my parents were getting up and ready and having to wait for the all clear of us all being ready to go together.
Things are definitely different now that we don’t have much to assemble as the kids grow older and we don’t have to try to hide boxes deep in the trash anymore. One year we were almost busted when a box was left somewhere in the garage and we were questioned about why Santa would leave the box here. We’re definitely not up all night into the wee morning hours like we used to be. I will always miss those days but I’m not complaining.
One of my favorite Christmas Eve memories was about five years ago when we had ordered Cassidy and Cadent electric motorized scooters. They had a seat that could snap on and off so you could either sit or stand when you rode. They actually went 12 mph. and were so totally cool. Les got them all put together and charged up and we wanted to try them out. It must’ve been 3 or 4am and it was a very, very cold Christmas here that year. We got all bundled up and took off on the scooters. We rode around the entire neighborhood and in the parking lot of some businesses in the front of our neighborhood. It was freezing outside but we were having a blast. They were so much fun and I wasn’t sure how I could give them up to the kids. We laughed so hard riding around on those things until we almost ran the 2 hour battery charge down. I have to say those scooters were one of the best Santa gifts ever purchased in this house. They were a big hit with the kids, too. I was a little bit worried about them controlling them or having an accident after experiencing just how fast these things could go. That same year my sister’s kids got gas operated ones that went much faster than ours and they were also much louder. The next day our street was full of kids and scooters and parents waiting their turn for a ride.
We still have fun arranging their loot but it rarely takes very long and we actually get more than two hours of sleep now. As always, I am looking forward to seeing their reactions tomorrow and hoping everyone is happy with their gifts.
I am currently in a battle with Les over letting the kids open a joint gift right now. It’s a big gift, not a small one and one we can all enjoy, which is EXACTLY why he wants them to open it now. I said NO! Perhaps a smaller gift, maybe, but not one of their large ones just so he can entertain himself tonight. He’s not very happy with me now.
Who knows, in another few years when everyone is in high school maybe we’ll do what my sister does and have Santa very late on Christmas Eve and then everyone can stay up all night playing with their new gadgets and sleep in for a change. But I’m standing my ground on this. It’s a major part of their Christmas and will be wrapped for them tomorrow. (One of the few wrapped items they will have here to open).
Merry Christmas! Jesus is the reason for the Season!