I realized today that I’m losing Christmas steam and/or becoming foggy on lots of details from this year’s celebration. So I need to get on this post. I will have a separate post for Christmas day.
Anyway, Christmas Eve seems like a totally separate holiday to me, and always has. I think there is just so much more religious significance and emphasis placed on Christmas Eve: church services, family fireside readings of the Christmas story, no toys to distract from the true meaning of Christmas, etc. This year was no different.
We embraced this holiday season as a time to really hunker down and spend time together in our little house with our little family. It was wonderful. We went out as needed and communicated with our extended family (Skype!) quite a bit, but most days were spent just the four of us (plus Riley). We really slowed our already slow pace and just soaked up the time with our children. They are just growing up so fast. Christmas Eve was a nice relaxing day until the afternoon and evening rolled around; we’ll do things a bit differently next year. You live, you learn.
When Hula Girl woke up, we spent the first part of the morning cuddling with our kids in our bed. We rarely have them there, so it was a special treat. We read lots of books and giggled a lot. Then Jonathan and Hula Girl played a lot of the morning away outside on a big snow pile he’d made for her while I stayed inside and tidied and took on baby duty. Lunch and naps went on as normal. During the kids’ naps, Jonathan and I got ready for our Christmas Eve service.
Once the kids woke up, it was like a sprint to Christmas. Seriously. We need to spread all these events out next time and not assume we’ll have enough time before bed. After all, Christmas Eve is not just an evening… it’s a full day. Let’s treat it as such!
First, we got the kids up and dressed for church. Hula Girl wore a beautiful red dress and Gelato wore a red plaid shirt. For those of you who are close to me, you’ll likely see the same outfits show up in February when we send out Valentine cards… just sayin’.
Our church service was really nice. I had the Best MOMent of Christmas 2012 during the service, when we were all singing “Away in the Manger”. Hula Girl thought no one could hear her singing because the music was loud, so she was singing along (if she had any idea that anyone could hear her, she would not have done so). It was just so sweet to hear that little off-key voice singing with such joy. I’m not going to say Jonathan and I didn’t cry. Because that would be a lie.
After the service, we got home and put Gelato down for his nap. Then I started the homemade pizzas and Jonathan and Hula Girl worked on cookies for Santa. In the future, these cookies will be baked Christmas Eve morning. After a rushed dinner of homemade pizza deliciousness (for Jonathan and Hula Girl, anyway; I’m still on my elimination diet and can’t have dairy, wheat, or soy), we did a small family lighting of the advent wreath and the Christ candle. Then we opened our first gifts of the year- our Christmas jammies. At that point, we were rushing to get Gelato in bed on time, so Jonathan gave him his bath while Hula Girl and I arranged cookies, carrots, and cheese (for Santa Mouse, of course) on a plate and wrote out our note for Santa. It read, “Dear Santa, I hope, hope, hope (playing on Ho, Ho, Ho! Clever girl!) you come to my house. I love you. I love Jesus.” Then it was bath time for Hula Girl and both kids were tucked in snug as a bug by 7. Jonathan and I rounded out the evening by putting together some toys that Santa brought and starting our annual Christmas puzzle (which, I can now say, took almost two weeks to complete). Whew.
So. We missed our reading of the Christmas story in Luke. Um, that was lame. But for a 2.5-year-old and a 4.5-month-old, it did not make a difference. Next year. Next year.
Even though it was rushed and we missed the most important part, it was still a wonderful night. I will always remember her sweet little voice and the way her hair tie broke so her little bun came out and she had crazy half-curly hair all through church. And the way I nursed my son in a very peaceful and calm (and warm) room while pondering Mary’s predicament years and years ago. I love holidays because of tradition. But I also love holidays because of memories. My kids will remain 2.5 years and 4.5 months old for as long as I can remember that evening. Wonderful.