This year we hosted Christmas Eve at our house which was a first for us. It definitely makes for a little bit more work (we are used to just jumping in the car and going to parents houses to celebrate holidays) but Mike and I thought it would be fun to host at our own house and it was a really nice night. Everyone in my family came except for Mallory and Brandon and their kids who were celebrating in Alabama with Brandon's family. We missed them, but were able to all Skype for a little bit and even sing a Christmas song together.
We started with a traditional dinner (turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, etc). We then played Kinect which my brother brought over. It's a new game for the X-box that doesn't require any controllers. Favorites were (of course) the racing games. It is an actual workout though. I was laughing at everyone else, until I tried it. I was completely out of breath after finishing the hurdles race. It was a lot of fun. A word of warning before you play however; the game video tapes you and then plays clips of you (actual you, not the figure on the screen) playing. Who really wants to see video of themselves pumping their arms and legs ridiculously fast while jumping over imaginary hurdles in their family room with an intense look of concentration? I could have done without that, although the play back video does provide some good entertainment and a breather.
Top left: My dad and Mike racing. This was pretty funny to watch. My dad kept shoving Mike out of his lane.
Top right: The track stars lining up to race the 100 meter dash.
Bottom: The kids, especially Little Man, loved playing. The sensor did have trouble locating Kiwi because she is so short.
After playing Connect, we started our Christmas program. I had put together a little script of The Nativity which included reading sections of the story from Luke and acting it out. We then sang "Away in a Manager."
A shepherd shepherding her Dalmatian puppy and orange bunny
The wise man.
A group shot. My dad and Mike are not pictured as they were the narrator and video taper.
The kids then opened presents from Grandma and Grandpa and one from Mike and I (new stockings with their names on them). Although we try to emphasize serving and giving to others throughout the season with our children, it is fun to watch their faces as they open their own gifts. Both Little Man and Kiwi are at such fun ages where they just love everything and get so excited. After opening up a pink unicorn pillow pet from my mom, Kiwi could not stop jumping up and down and hugging it. She just kept saying, "I yuv it, I really, really yuv it!"
After everyone left, the kids set out cookies for Santa and vegetables for the reindeer. Little Man was doubtful that the reindeer would have time to eat ("they are really busy jumping from house to house") but made sure to leave out nine pieces for each reindeer. He also made us write a note to Santa to tell him who the vegetables were for. Mike then read "The Night before Christmas" and got them tucked into bed in their Christmas jammies. It took several reassurances that the big jolly man would not come until they were asleep and there was nothing to be scared of, but they fell asleep pretty quickly. Mike and I then watched A Christmas Story (24 hours a day on Christmas Eve) and put together the kids big group gift which was a train table. It was our first late night Christmas Eve assembly and made me feel very Mrs. Clausish.