Inspecting the gifts under Grandma's tree:
Opening the first gifts with their cousin:
Eloise really, really wanted a wheelchair for her doll. I tried to get one from American Girl but they were sold out. Grandma to the rescue! I think she found this at Toys R Us?
The next morning, Christmas Eve, it was time for us to head home. We needed to be ready for Santa's visit!
Driving over Snoqualmie Pass to get home is always beautiful, no matter what time of year. The trees were heavy with snow, but the roads were pretty much bare and wet. It was a perfect drive.
I had to quick get to the gym after we got home, as it closed early on Christmas Eve. It was so fun to see carolers in the gym when I got there!
Christmas Eve this year was pretty low-key. The past few years we have hosted a small dinner for friends and family, but this year just one friend was able to come. It worked well for us, since we weren't home to put the effort in to it! I made pizzas for the girls' honorary Auntie and the four of us, then we ate cookies, drank wine and played the girls' Christmas Eve game. Every Christmas Eve they get pajamas and a game. After the game it was time to watch a pre-bed tv show. The girls chose America's Funniest Home Videos, which, I am embarrassed to admit, is heeeelarious.
The game this year is Monopoly Jr Party, or something like that. It's pretty fun and very much like real Monopoly, only simpler and has a party theme. The properties you buy are parties, and instead of putting a house or hotel on them, you put a gift box on them. Then people pay you when they land on a party that you already own. Instead of a treasure chest there is a party box that you put money in to. The game can take quite a while to play, especially if you have four players, but it ends when the first person goes bankrupt.
The girls graciously slept in until 7:00 on Christmas Day. Whew! I think they were both pretty happy with their gifts. It was a tricky year because Iris put 95% toys on her Christmas list (all Littlest Pet Shop) and Eloise put all non-toy stuff on her list, except for one small Littlest Pet Shop thing. I was very worried Eloise would be disappointed on Christmas morning when she didn't have many toys to play with. I trusted the list, however, and she seemed really happy with her gifts. Iris had a little trouble sharing her toys, but eventually they worked it out. All in all we were all happy with our gifts.
I definitely struggle with how much we should give the girls each year, and how much we should spend. The kid in me wants a mountain of gifts under the tree, to buy everything the girls could want, and then some. I want it to be as magical as can be. On the other hand, we don't go in to debt for Christmas gifts, and our girls are certainly not in need of anything, let alone a bunch more toys to cram in to their bedroom/playroom. I am guessing as they get older their requests will get more expensive and the overall amount of gifts will get smaller, we'll see. But you know what? Every year they are very happy. And when I was growing up I was always happy and I know my parents, while always generous, didn't go overboard with us. Christmas is always magical when you are a child, I think.
Here is my series of shots of Eloise opening one of her gifts. She requested "really high sparkly sneakers" (or something close to that):
She loves them! Unfortunately she got sick Christmas night and hasn't been able to wear them anywhere yet.
Iris's Santa gift was a Littlest Pet Shop play set. I think she likes it!
Matt and I have kept our gifts for each other pretty small the past couple of years. Every few years we do something a little more exciting, however. It's hard because we are both fairly practical and there isn't much we are wishing we had. This year I got slippers, which I have requested be an annual tradition, coffee mugs and a portable speaker for our ipad and kindle. Matt got some pants, a t-shirt and a new pair of head phones.
And that's it! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, or whatever your winter holiday of choice is. On to the new year!