Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve at Our Home

Christmas Eve is always magical.  I LOVE this time of year.  I LOVE the anticipation.  I always have a little bit of a let down the day after Christmas.  I don't like saying good-bye to Christmas music, surprises, lots of family time, Christmas treats, reading spiritual stories every night the month leading up to Christmas.  There's SO MUCH I love about Christmas!  This year we had my sister Jamie, Josh and Sarah, and their son Jace to celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas day with us.

Tonight started with the kids each finding their two "Christmas Eve" presents under the tree.  It used to be just one (always pajamas).  We still do pajamas, but since our kids are all avid readers and adore books so much, we added the second gift of a book to open with the pajamas.

Once they found their two presents they set them aside as we read "The Polar Express".

I LOVE this book!  The pictures and story are so magical!

Then the kids got to open their presents...

Bryan was SUPER excited about his book, "Inheritance" (the final book in a four book series).  He had been begging for it ever since it was released about a month before.

Kyle got the thickest book of anyone.  It was probably 3 inches thick!  He very worriedly asked me, "Mom, did you give me the wrong book?".  Then I opened it to reveal that it was mostly a picture book.  It had 10 or 15 pages of pictures, and then there would be a couple pages of words, then back to these amazing pencil drawing pictures.  Such a neat book!  We ended up reading it together at night before he went to bed.  It took us a couple weeks and it was such a great story.  He loved it!

Colton's book was one of those "Magic Eye" books where you stare at the picture and let it kind of blur, then a picture appears out of the chaos on the page.  I love those!  This one was a Harry Potter theme.

Mark then read the Christmas Story from the Bible.  Mark's parents gave this binder to us years ago to use with our kids.  The words are all straight from the Bible, but each page has a picture from the Gospel Art Picture Kit to go with it.  It also has a Christmas song to sing together on each page.

The kids all cuddled up in their jammies with their blankets and pillows as they listen to the stories.

Next Sarah read "Twas the Night Before Christmas"...

Then the kids all took a bag of "Reindeer Food" out to sprinkle on the front lawn so Santa's reindeer would have an easier time finding our house and would have something to snack on while Santa was inside...

Then Bryan used his laptop to show the kids how to use NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) to track where Santa was at that very moment.  Time to hurry to bed so they could be asleep before he got there!

While leaving Santa a plate of cookies, some milk, and some carrots for his reindeer, Kyle also left this note (just in case you can't read his writing):

"Dear Santa, Can you please tell Rudolph to wake me up I am on the second floor and I have a HUP sign on my door."
The HUP sign he referred to was an award we give out weekly on Sunday.  It moves from door to door depending on who did the best job at being honest when it was hard that week.  It stands for Honesty Under Pressure, and Kyle had earned it that week.

Then the kids were off to bed (and we were up until 1am!).

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