Christmas Season brings joy, peace, and magic. It also brings comfort - there's a certain coziness that comes with the decor that fills our home, the warmth from the winter sweaters and coats, and from the familiar traditions that fill the season year after year with the same spirit that makes Christmas wonderful.
Like the visit to Santa. My older boys know better than to murmur or complain...they WILL get their Christmas "outfit" on and brave the line-up to see this Jolly Man. This year it even took several attempts - long story. After all, I remind them, "Santa is very good to you - I wouldn't test him if I were you". This was the first year in a long time that I haven't have a crier for the picture on Santa's lap- they are all too old now - it makes me want to cry ;)
And Christmas Eve with all the cousins at Grammy and Papa's house for a delicious dinner, time to play and be excited together, and of course the Nativity Play done by the kids. This year Grammy put together a little program with speaking parts for the older kids and Christmas Carols mixed in with the scripture/story reading. A little something different, but still that same good 'ol tradition.
You'd think we would have enough actors with our big clan, but some of the kids were happy to play 2 parts if needed, like the shepard-wise man below...
I love how traditions bring out all the best feelings of love and kindness. You know you're there when the oldest is stealing kisses from the baby.
And of course there's the tradition of opening one gift each - which always happens to be matching Christmas pajamas. No one is ever too old for this tradition! And Papa leads us in a big family prayer - always tender and touching - especially this time of year.
And playing, playing, and more playing - even with pajamas on and down to the last second before it's off to home we go.
Before this mom and dad feel like they got a wink of sleep (mostly because we stay up late putting toys together and finishing touches on gifts, and enjoying peppermint ice cream and some quiet Christmas time together) our boys are up at 6am (the earliest allowed) and pouncing on our bed - ready for the magic of Christmas morning.
I wasn't quick enough with the camera to capture all the kids and all the gifts, but some highlights include: Cade got a Kindle Fire - lucky bum
(p.s. - the RV isn't ours - more about that in a post to come )
I loved having Christmas on Sunday this year. After the chaos of stockings and gifts, it was a nice change of pace to go get dressed in our Sunday best and enjoy remembering the real meaning of Christmas and enjoying the true spirit of the season.
Then it was time to head back up to Grammy and Papa's for more gifts and celebration.
It was a knight Christmas for Cole. He's excited about his playmobile castle. So was mom - I LOVE playmobile!
Bo got a cool science kit
Ty's sporting new clothes and trying to figure out the puzzle ball
By then end of the 2-day affair, it feels a bit like a whirlwind. But it is a wonderful finale to a wondrous season. There are new gifts to admire, new things to be grateful for and a new outlook on a new year. I love that the end of each Calendar year is swelled up in this magical time of giving, sharing, celebrating and remembering the gift of the Savior in our lives. It was a very Merry Christmas and a happy 2011 for our crew for sure.