I posted a photo on Instagram and Facebook a few days before Christmas proclaiming that it was "wrapping time!", and I was kind of shocked by the response - a bunch of "ugh's!" and "dislikes!" The funny thing is, I really and truly love wrapping gifts. Maybe it's the artsy/crafty person in me, but I find it fun and even therapeutic in a way. I love to put on White Christmas, sip some wine, and go a little crazy raiding my craft box. This year I learned to make those fancy bows (like the one up above) and they're actually pretty easy even though they look super complicated. (I used this tutorial) I love making the wrapping just as special and thoughtful as the gift within and having a pretty pile of presents to stack under my Charlie Brown tree.
I honestly thought maybe Violet would hate them because they're not covered in Disney characters and the string would be difficult to open, but it turned out that she loved them. Her scissors are one of her favorite things and my crazy gift wrap gave her a reason to use them, so she was all about cutting the ribbons and string. So much so that she wouldn't open the wrapping until she had snipped every last bit off, even if it was completely unnecessary. My dad started trying to hurry her along saying, "You don't need to cut that part, sweetie - just rip it!" (and truthfully we should really have been hurrying a bit more, because we ended up being late to church. Whoops! More on that later), but I was happy to let her enjoy every minute of her gift opening in her own time in her own precious way.
Her favorite gift (if you can't tell by her expression) was her My Little Pony castle. It wasn't a gift I had planned to buy for her, it was actually requested by my niece, but in my tired mom delirium I had accidentally purchased two - one I ordered on Amazon, which I totally forgot about. Then I bought it again at Toys R Us and received the Amazon order the next day. Wah wah. I had planned to return one of them, but as soon as she saw it Violet was obsessed and it ended up being the one and only thing that she asked Santa for when she sat on his lap. So needless to say, Santa couldn't let her down, so the girl got a pony castle. The look on her face made it totally worth it even though she already had plenty of gifts and Lord knows she doesn't need another chintzy plastic castle :) It's not her favorite gift based on play time (that award probably goes to either her pirate ship or blocks), but on Christmas morning - nothing could top it.
Lucy mainly tried to eat the wrapping paper, and rip off all of the bows, and her favorite toys were probably the boxes that the gifts came in. I made sure to label a bunch of the bigger gifts as "To Violet AND Lucy" so that Violet knew that she had to share them with her little sister. She still asks me, "Mommy is this just my toy or is this Baby Luce's too?" She'll usually share with her sister even if the toy is her very own, but I planned this move way ahead of time just to be sure. After presents we ate a big breakfast casserole that Kev made (it was heavenly because a) it was truly heavenly and b) by that point I was ravenous). Then we started to watch a little Rudolph before we realized what time it was and that we were late for church! Luckily we made it in without too much of a disruption and even though I was a little embarrassed, everyone around us was really sweet and we didn't get a single dirty or judgmental look. I'm really glad we went - better late than never, right? We went up to see the nativity scene afterwards and Violet was really upset that she couldn't touch or even get close to the baby Jesus because of the way they had it set up. That's when I remembered a nativity scene near our house that we pass by all of the time and that Violet has requested many times to stop and look at, but there was always some reason not to. This time I decided that even though we still had a million things to do before our next event (like make a turkey! Clean up the house! Take a nap? (in my dreams)), we. were. stopping. It was freezing cold, but I'm so glad we did - it was so cute to see her in there visiting Baby Jesus on his birthday :)
When we finally made it back to the house, we realized we had never done stockings! (Which we had almost screwed up completely this year by stuffing them early) Luckily we came to our senses, unstuffed them, and waited to let Santa do it :) What can I say, we're stocking novices! This was the first year that they were necessary, because Violet was checking them daily. Previous years she didn't really even know they existed. We even put some underwear and chocolate in our own because we didn't want her to think that the Big Man had forgotten us :) I'm glad we did because she insisted that we look in our stockings first before she tore into hers and Lucy's. Then I frantically made the turkey, cleaned the house, and packed our bags to visit Kevin's family before collapsing into the car, completely and utterly exhausted.
While it didn't end up being the laid back relaxing Christmas morning that I was picturing (I mean, really why I was expecting that at all I don't know). I guess when you're a kid it all seems so effortless and fun and easy, but when you're the one behind the scenes making everything happen it feels completely different. Even three-and-a-half years in I'm still getting the hang of this being a mom stuff.
Even though the holidays can be so tiring as a parent - staying up wrapping gifts, cleaning up the house, prepping breakfast, rushing here and there - it makes everything worth it when you see their little faces light up on Christmas morning. I think if there's any magic in the world, it's in watching your kids experience life. I want to say a special thank you to my mom and dad for all that they did to make the holidays special for my sister and me. Now I know what you did for us, and why. Christmas is love. xo, Lauren