We kicked things off on Christmas Eve with a fairly new tradition. Hubby & I treated my parents, and all of my grandparents to lunch at Ruby Tuesday. This was just one of many difficult events, as the number of grandparents this year was down from 4 to 3. However, Elyse was in ornery, 3 year old form which helped to lighten the mood. And of course, no one could be sad for too long with precious Nora in attendance.
After lunch we headed straight to Hubby's parents house for Christmas with his immediate family. We started another new tradition this year of making & decorating cookies for Santa before dinner. My SIL made up the cookies and then the kiddos got to decorate them. It was a fun afternoon activity and a tradition that I hope continues...and let's be honest, then I won't have to remember to have cookies on hand for Santa in the future!
We had dinner and then the entire group headed to our church for a quick Christmas Eve service before coming back to have a present free-for-all! My MIL has stockings for all of us and I thought this was such a beautiful sight! Hubby's half-sister is coming down to visit (but mainly to see Nora) this weekend and so they even have stockings hung by the chimney this year.
Another new tradition this year included hiding the pickle ornament on the tree...and whoever found it had the honor of opening the first present. Believe it or not, Elyse found it first...ALL ON HER OWN!! Of course she didn't really understand the importance of her prize, but she tore into the first present anyway!
It was the year of dress-up outfits for Elyse...a veterinarian outfit (which is perfect with her love for all things furry) and a cowgirl costume. I think we finally made it home around 10:00 and put the girls to bed before this Momma & Daddy had to get everything setup for Santa!
We tried to go a little lighter this year on presents. Elyse got her first scooter from Santa and Nora got a piano playmat along with their stockings full of necessities like socks and panties for Elyse and new pacifiers for Nora!
Elyse really wasn't sure about skipping her morning viewing of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for presents on Christmas morning...but we quickly convinced her that there was lots of fun to be had in the living room!
After a fun-filled Christmas morning, we loaded up and headed to my parents' house in time for Elyse to take a quick nap before more presents ensued. This year my Grandpa Herndon joined us for our family Christmas since my Granny is gone. It was a bittersweet time as he got to spend lots of time with his 3 granddaughters, but there was also a constant thought and reminder of the fact that someone was missing.
Elyse honestly did really well with all the present-opening and of course Nora slept through most all of it. I know that Christmas will look a WHOLE LOT different again next year as we have a 4 year old and a 1 year old to join in on the present fun! We certainly had a blessed year...with the most important thing of all being just spending time with all of our family. And having Nora around to include in the festivities was probably the best gift of all!