Roman exhausted from all of our Christmas festivities!
I absolutely love the holidays. I love the traditions, the outings, the decorations, and the extra time spent with family and friends. No wonder it's "the most wonderful time of the year!" Here are some of our favorite "must-do's" during the holiday season:
*Drink hot chocolate (only Stephen's, nothing else is acceptable)-I keep my kettle out all winter just waiting to heat up.
*Going to see The Nutcracker. I used to go all the time to see my sister perform and loved the ballet (at least for the first 3 years!). Now that I have a little dancer of my own, I can't wait to take her. I didn't think she was ready for Ballet West just yet, so I was thrilled to hear that her preschool was going to see the Mountain West Ballet perform a few pieces. Capri was on the edge of her seat the entire time. I had to keep telling her to be quiet because she couldn't stop talking about the "beautiful dresses" and the "beautiful ballerinas." Roman, on the other hand, enjoyed the "big scary mouse and the swords!" I don't know if I will be taking Roman, but Capri will definitely be ready for the real thing next year!
Capri with the Sugar Plum Fairy
*Puzzles, puzzles, and more puzzles. My family loves them and I love the way it gives us plenty of time to chat and laugh.
*Christmas movies. My favorites include Four Christmases, The Holiday, Elf, The Family Stone, and of course, Christmas Vacation. The kids have loved Charlie Brown Christmas, Frosty, Rudolph, and Prep and Landing.
*Game Time, and I don't mean sports. We love to break out Boggle, Scattegories, Sequence, and if we are with Tucker's family, definitely Hearts.
*Decorating the house. We wait until the day after Thanksgiving and put everything up while listening to some of our favorite Christmas music. Growing up, we used to go up in the mountains to cut down our tree the day after Thankgsiving. It was a great tradition and maybe we will give that a try for the kid's tree, but I love my pre-lit and perfectly formed fake tree too much!
These were taken the night before Christmas.
The play room and the kids' tree.
*Making Gingerbread Houses. This year I found one at Costco that was already assembled so all you had to do was decorate-that's what I'm talking about. :)
*Making cookies for Santa. It was well worth it too considering it was the first thing my kids noticed Christmas morning, that Santa ate his cookies!
*Great parties. I am kind of a home-body around this time, I really can't get enough of being with my family at home (or at my parent's house...or at my sister's house...both 50 feet away from my house). However, as soon as I get to a Christmas party, I can't help but have a fabulous time with other adults (kids are never invited!) laughing so hard my stomach hurts. Keep in mind, I will never take pictures of such parties because I am having way too much fun enjoying myself to take the time for photos. Sorry. Thank you to Aly for another awesome party and the great ab workout that went along with it due to the insane laughter. Thank you Brooke for being the hostess with the mostest-you will never cease to amaze me with your home and culinary expertise.
*Shopping. I admit it. I thoroughly enjoy shopping, especially for Christmas. However, I am committed to getting my shopping done early next year so that it stays fun and won't be a stress.
*I hadn't been to the Festival of Trees in years but we decided to give it a try this year in hopes that the kids would enjoy it. They did! Capri pointed out all of the pink girlie trees and Roman loved the Superhero tree. Who would have thought!
Grammy and Karoline loving our night out.
*Neighborhood gifts. We keep it simple, but I love putting them together and spreading a little bit of Christmas cheer. Who doesn't love a little treat on their doorstep?
*Christmas cards. A much needed excuse for getting family pictures done.
Our Christmas card, front and back, were created by Joy Williams-love her!
I also love receiving them and putting them on my fridge so I can enjoy them all month long.
*Seeing my bestest girlfriends from way back when. We really don't miss a year and I am so glad. I love these girls and Christmas gives us the perfect reason to get together as everyone comes home for the holiday. We always go out to eat and then end up having to sit in someone's car to keep talking after the restaurant is closed for the night. Hours and hours of chatting and we still aren't done catching up!
Stephanie, Danielle, Jessica, me, Nicole and Erika
*This year we started a new tradition, the Elf on the Shelf. Wow. This worked to my advantage in so many ways in the few weeks we had Mr. Elf with us. You see, Mr. Elf watches us and makes sure we are on our best behavior. He then flies to the North Pole every night to let Santa know how we did. Worked. Every. Time. I seriously don't know what I am going to do now that Mr. Elf is at the North Pole until next Christmas!
*Another new tradition we started was allowing the kids to sleep together on Christmas Eve. Mr. Elf even brought Christmas jammies and new sleeping bags for the special occasion. The kids loved it and I can't wait for Karoline to be old enough to join them in a few years.
So excited in their Christmas PJs and new sleeping bags!
*Going to see the lights at Temple Square. I have done this since I can remember and it was definitely a tradition I wanted to carry on with my own family. This year was spectacular due to the intense fog that night. It gave the temple a glowing effect that we all loved. It was so fun to watch my kids' faces as they tried to take it all in. Their favorite part, however, was watching the Nativity and seeing the Christus statue. They talked about it for days after.
Our best attempt at getting a family picture...not great!
A bunch of us all bundled up!
Such a perfect way to remember the true meaning of Christmas!
You made it! That was a long post, I know. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day still to come!