Friday, December 26, 2008

simply having a wonderful christmas time

I've had that song in my head all day for some reason. Well, I know the reason... it was on the radio this morning. And sidenote, can I just say I'm loving the fact that our radio stations are still playing Christmas music?... I love that it's not just wham bam thankyouma'am Christmas day has come and gone lets forget about it and move on with our life (like all the Valentine's stuff I saw out in Target this morning!) but that we can continue enjoying this holiday past the rush of the big day itself. That we can hang out in the afterglow... :)

Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time.
I've had that song in my head and I just love it because I think it's completely fitting for our Christmas this year. Simple and Wonderful. I feel kind of silly gushing about how great our Christmas was, blah blah blah. Sometimes I feel guilty; I know so many people have a hard time at the holidays... emotionally, financially, missing family members, dreading family members, dysfunction, depression, stress, the whole gamut.
I've been lucky enough to always have the good outweigh the bad and am one of those huge sometimes obnoxious fans of the whole Christmas season. This year is no different.

And even more so, I think this one ranks up there in one of the top slots of best Christmases ever for me. No special reason really... we just had a really really nice Christmas.

This whole month has been the typical whirlwind of busyness getting ready for the holidays. But fortunately it's been in a cheerful, exciting way instead of being stressed or overwhelmed with to-do lists. And now this week of Christmas has settled down into a quiet, relaxing week of preparing for our celebrations. It's been nice to just sit back and watch the kids play, spend time with my family, and joyfully look forward to the things we have planned surrounding Christmas.

We made a point, like I think a lot of families did this year, to keep things simple. Although at times I felt like it was anything but simple considering all the projects and baking I squeezed in there, it was really more about the giving and the time with friends, family and each other. We really spent barely any money compared to years past and I'd say at least 50% of the gifts we gave were handmade. There was really not one gift I can think of that we gave because we "had to"... we were all excited about giving this year and were excited for recipients to get their gifts. The kids especially were very into it.

We had a pretty meager Christmas with our own kids as well. On Christmas Eve I was starting second guess the small amount of presents I had lined up for the kids. I felt like they weren't getting anything. I was feeling guilty that my kids might be getting more (and better) gifts from their grandparents than they were from their parents (and Santa!). But as much as we all get wrapped up in the "wow factor" of Christmas, the reality is my kids don't need anything. They have more than enough toys, they have all the clothes and shoes they currently need, and really this year I had an incredibly hard time coming up with anything they needed or even really wanted to grant them as gifts. So my list was small.

The kids kept it simple too... Sawyer kept telling Santa the big thing he wanted him to bring him was an owl(?)! So we Santa found one of those plush Audubon birds and spent a whopping $6! We also found him a cheap Hot Wheels track set (loving Big Lots at Christmas!) since he's suddenly into all the Matchbox cars.

Savannah asked for simple things as well; a doll, a table and chairs for her doll, gum, bubbles, a teddy bear, a hula hoop, and a piggy bank. So yeah... our kids weren't trying to break the bank this year! That made it a little easier!

checking out Santa's treats while waiting for grandma and grandpa to come downstairs

The kids each only got two things from Santa this year and really not a whole lot from us either.
But the thing is, I think they were more excited this year than I remember in the past. They were able to take it all in, rather than be bombarded with gifts. When they went through their stockings they were ooohing and ahhing and giggling like crazy. Sunglasses and hockey cards....

what more could you ask for huh?
And Savannah was so excited for Sawyer when she saw that he got that gosh darn little owl, it was adorable.

Here she is, all prepped and ready to open presents and corral all her gifts inside her hula hoop...

Here's the traditional full tree shot we take every year...The pile under this tree seemed almost half of what it has been in years past. This is all the gifts from all of our family as well as our gifts for my parents who are here with us this year; most years those are mailed away to them. I kind of like our skinny pile.

Aside from Ryan and I trying to put a damper on the toy fest ourselves this year, we also asked the rest of the families to keep toys to a minimum... unless they were specifically asked for or known to be a favorite. We asked for more along the clothes and books lines. And the fam came through... Sawyer received a total of 29 books Christmas morning!!! I think he's set. And Savannah got one of those Illustory kits from her aunt and uncle that she of course is super excited about and can't wait to write her book.

We took our time opening presents all morning... the kids would stop and play and pretend with new things in between opening gifts, we'd all snack out of our stockings, and eventually get back to presents.
I feel like the kids really appreciated the things they got more because they weren't overwhelmed with so very much stuff.
I felt like we all appreciated the holiday more without so very much stuff.

checking out the nibbles on the carrot left for Rudolf

As usual, I didn't snap all that many pictures. I wish I could just hire a photographer for our holidays... I want it all caught on the camera, but I don't like my face stuck behind it when I want to be in the moment and seeing everything.

We of course ended our morning with our homemade donut tradition (pics to come), and then spent the rest of the day lounging around (never leaving our pj's), eating candy and leftover ham and playing games all day.

It was simply a wonderful Christmas.

And all I can hope is that you found the same peace and joy and wonderful wherever you all are this Christmas.


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