Christmas was really, really wonderful this year. It was also completely exhausting, as always. I have always kind of accepted that this is just part of the deal. Since we live close to both of our families, and have easy access to them on Christmas, the driving and the racing from one place to another seemed to be just the way things are and the way that they will always be. I think we’ve decided that isn’t so, but more on that in a minute.
Christmas Eve was spent with my parents, aka the home of many trees. This isn’t even close to all of them.
There were presents, of course. An XBox with Kinect and Disneyland passes for the family, several treasures from my parents’ trip to New York and FAO Schwartz last year, clothes for everyone, and gift cards that I’ve mentally spent ten times over.
My brother got Bub a Nintendo 3DS, which he met with an “Oh. My. GOSH.” upon opening. It was all we could do to pry the thing out of his hands for the rest of the weekend.
Bub waits impatiently while Mommy disables the 3D, and wifi, and the sattelite launching capabilities of his new toy.
Dinner was butternut squash soup with prosciutto paninis and a dessert trio. Non-traditional, but delicious.
We were home by seven, and both kids were quickly tucked into bed so Santa could get to work. We had assembled Bub’s bike the night before, and hidden it deep in a closet, but we still had Bubette’s play house to put together. Since it was late when we started, and we had to assemble it outside, we couldn’t use power tools, so it took a looooong time to get the seven million screws into place. We filled everyone’s stockings and headed off to bed.
Bub woke bright and early on Christmas morning asking for his “red thing. You know, my phone… my game… my red thing, Mama.” Hey kid, Santa was here. Want to see what he brought? “Okay, but then can I play my red thing?"
He was excited about his bike, and his Mater remote controlled car, and happily opened the rest of his presents and his sister’s. Finally, you guys. He used to cry when we tried to make him open presents. Bubette loved her playhouse, and cried when we made her come inside.
Then, we let everyone play with their new things for about five minutes, and had to rush everyone into the shower so we could head to my in-laws for stop #1 of the day. By the time we were in the car, running late, I looked at my husband and told him that this would be the last year of racing out of the house. We can go somewhere for dinner, but we’re not making two stops on Christmas Day.
I know it’s just one day, but I want it to be a special day. I want it to be a day spent in pajamas and playing with new things. I want a sugary and leisurely breakfast. I don’t want bananas and cereal shoved onto a plate so we can tide the kids over until the official breakfast at eleven. I’m happy to do something Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas, but people can come to us on Christmas Day if they’re so inclined. Mark my words, friends. This is it.
Anyway, there were more presents for the kids. We ended up with six remote control cars altogether, three pillow pets – two of them giant, a pogo stick(!), a scooter for just-barely-walking-in-a-straight-line Bubette, and as-seen-on-TV goodies like a Gyro bowl, and Slushy Magic (which actually works! The jury is still out on the Gyro bowl.)
From there it was off to dinner with my husband’s extended family, and even more presents for the kids, and lots of outside time with the littler cousins. There are no little kids on my side of the family, so this is fun for them (and worth it for us to make a point of showing up.)
It was a great two days, and despite the bags of things we hauled into the house, it felt like the first year that nobody went completely insane with the number of presents for the kids, or us. That’s not to say that there aren’t a few things tucked into a closet for a rainy day, or that my kids are anything but completely spoiled, (six remote control cars, you guys,) but I don’t really mind that once a year. “It’s Christmas!” was my excuse for all manner of excess this year, and I plan to repeat that refrain for many years to come. It should be fun, and a little over the top, but that doesn’t mean it’s without love and family, too.
(Whoa, if you made it all the way to the end, congratulations. Sometimes I write just so I can remember these days in the years to come.)