Well, it’s 3:20 am on December 24, and I am finally finished for the night and am ready to grab a few hours of sleep before waking up to begin my favorite 24 hours of the year. I made my final Christmas Target run this afternoon (although I guess at this point that was actually yesterday afternoon), and tonight the kids and I went to our good friends’ awesome holiday crafting party up the street from our house.
Once Jon got the little girls to sleep tonight, and the big kids hit the sack (including one extra teenage pal we have over tonight), I sat down in front of our fireplace, turned on “Elf” for the millionth time (we will watch it again before bed tomorrow night), and set about wrapping all the gifts that are going to get wrapped tonight. I also stashed extra special goodies in the kids’ Advent calendars for them to find when they wake up on this last day of the season, and did some other pre-Santa’s arrival organizing around our quiet, sleepy house. That’s how it happens that I am still awake at this hour.
I think I now have everything ready for a magical and fun Christmas for Jon and the kids, and that makes me irrationally exuberant. I wanted this year to be extra special for them because it’s our last one before J leaves for college. I know she will be home from school for Christmas next year, but still, this last holiday with her actually living here with all of us feels like a big milestone in our family’s life.
But as much as I do want Christmas to be great for the children, and busy as I’ve been with my holiday activities and prep in recent days, this year I’ve really tried to remember my “aha” realization of last December, and I’ve done my best not to get so caught up in the process of “doing” Christmas the way that I like to do it that I fail to actually be in the moments as they happen. And I think I’ve done a fair job of it.
This year, I actually didn’t even put up all of our decorations (although you would probably never know it to look at how many we do have all over the house.) I didn’t unpack the Christmas china for us to use this month, and there’s no second Christmas tree upstairs like there was last year. But the humongous tree that we do have this year is – we all agree – the prettiest one we’ve ever had, and the house looks warm and cozy and just right, even without the Santa-themed handtowels that I never unpacked hanging in the bathroom. I just scaled back the details some this year, and tried to be a bit less of a perfectionist. And I’m happy with that decision.
However, I did add one new tradition this year that the kids seem to really like: Christmas jammies.
Our family already has quite a few ongoing Christmas traditions – some quite ancient, like the annual visit from Uncle Louie of Pigsnuffle – and other newer ones, like last year’s addition of D’Brickashaw, the elf on our shelf.
This particular holiday tradition wasn’t one with which I grew up, but as a lover of all things cozy sleepwear, I’ve always thought this idea of new Christmas pajamas each season sounded lovely, and over the years I’ve thought about doing it for my own kids many times, but, well, I just somehow never got around to it.
But this year, for whatever reason, I decided that I was going to get with the Christmas PJs program and launch a brand new tradition in our family. And so I did. I decided to give the kids their new PJ’s a few days before Christmas, and I think that was the right call since they’ve all been wearing them pretty much non-stop ever since, and they look super cute. E even wore his to our friends’ Christmas party tonight. I will definitely be making the Christmas jammies a permanent addition to our menu of holiday rituals.
Well, I guess I had better hit the sack now, but before I do, I want to share some of the photos from our holiday season so far. It’s really been relaxing and fun, and I hope that every single one of you reading this – whether you actually celebrate Christmas or not – also enjoys a peaceful next few days full of whatever good things bring you joy.
Love (and goodnight!)
C and G in their new Christmas jammies, which they both loooove.
Here’s E sporting his new holiday loungewear, including at a party tonight
And here are various offspring of mine plus their cousins making crafts and hanging out.
The kids started their online Santa tracking today. Here’s C at her Aunt Betsy’s desk.
And E with cousins M and El attempting to hit up the NORAD site on the iPhone this afternoon.
Earlier today we made a valiant attempt to get all 11 Allison first cousins – ages 17, 14, 14, 13, 11, 10, 8, 6, 5, 5, and 2 – to pose for a photo. As you can see, the results were mixed. Also, the only way we could get G to cooperate at all was to bribe her with that bowl of mac & cheese on which she’s noshing with single-minded focus
I love this monkey ornament pattern on J’s new holiday jammies.
Uncle Robert & G talk some serious Christmas bidness.
I’d love to hear what some of y’all are doing this holiday season. What are some of your family’s little traditions & rituals, and where did they come from? Does Santa come to your house like he does to ours? Do you ever stay up til 3am drinking eggnog and wrapping gifts and generally acting like a Christmasaholic like I do? However you celebrate, I want to hear about it! Let’s talk home for the holidays…