The Big Day

Not a creature was stirring….

except Santa-Mommy, who was actually very calm and organized this year. I always say I’m going to get all my shopping done early, and this year I did. I also wrapped early, and even though I had to run out and do some last minute errands on Christmas-Eve-day, I left early, missed the crowds, and was home by 11am – in time to watch Emerson perform the Nutcracker (twice!)

the stockings were hung by the chimney with care…

stuffed with crayons, and books, and silks, and Christmas wands and Santa gnomes that I made after the kids went to bed.

Emerson has always known about Santa, but we don’t make a huge deal about it. I’ve told her that mall-Santas, and all the other varieties we see before Christmas are not really Santa. (I think it is totally creepy to tell your kids that everyone dressed in a Santa suit is friendly and nice, and I also think it’s confusing to tell kids that Santa lives at the north pole and comes once a year, and then you see him at the park…) And she doesn’t really talk about Santa, or make long lists. She loves the story of baby Jesus (which really encompasses the feeling better anyway) and she LOVES singing hymns. (We took her to church this year for the first time) But Santa… I wasn’t so sure. Until we were going to bed Christmas Eve, and Emerson turned to me, with a glow in her eyes, and a smile on her face, and whispered, “Santa is coming tonight Mommy.” The best kind of excitement…
The next morning I was woken out of deep sleep by Emerson standing next to my bed, again whispering, “Mommy, can I get up now?” (It was 7 am. If left to her own devices, she’ll sleep until after 8, and lie in bed for a while after she wakes up…)

Seeing kids’ faces on Christmas morning is priceless. Ophelia immediately saw the sled and screamed, “it’s a boat! It’s a boat! It’s for me!” Emerson said, “Ophelia, Santa came!” And Ophelia -for the rest of morning – asked, “where? Where’s Santa?”
The girls opened their stockings slowly and with intrigue, and spent the rest of the early morning reading, coloring, and eating their maple-sugar santas. The best gift we got for Emerson – from my point of view, and I’m pretty sure it was high on her list too – was a chapter book called Milly-Molly-Mandy, which Emerson had us read her (the whole thing) promptly. It’s very, very sweet.Ophelia loved her little wand. Emerson said right away, when she saw hers, “my mom made those…” It’s so funny that she can recognize right away that I made them, but still believe that everything else was from Santa. Ah, the irrationality of youth…. Next year we decided to have Santa only bring one gift for each girl to make things easier.

After breakfast, we opened the presents under the tree – again, slowly – taking time to see and appreciate what everyone received. We decided to give in to the (innocuous) Calico Critters this year, and I’m so happy we did. Emerson was so excited when she saw them, she was shaking. This is a few minutes after she opened her little, tiny “kitty twins.” Still reeling…
She held onto the little kitties while she opened other presents as well.

Here they are in all their glory (I gave in to the Calico Critters, but not full force. Emerson said she wanted a “whole town.” We decided to get her a kitty family, the kitty twins, and wooden accessories. Emerson was thrilled with it)We struggled to think of something Ophelia would really love, as she appreciates everything equally, and doesn’t lack for anything, but at the last minute, I thought of getting her her own fancy dress. (She loves wearing Emerson’s and is always tripping over it) It was a big hit!
Here is the kitty family.

The kids weren’t the only ones who got what they wanted from Santa this year!
Emerson immediately went into a world of her own with her mini-friends (Matt’s dad got the girls a beautiful, wooden, tree house for the kitties, bunnies, gnomes, etc… and it came with some fairy friends too)
Ophelia was very busy too.And then on to her second favorite gift,and some more dancing,

a yummy dinner,and more playing. This is my favorite thing about my girls. Using the presents however they see fit. (Here, the bonnet is a roof for some sort of kitty structure)This one is my favorite. She used multiple presents (a puzzle, a game, four cups, blocks, crayons, and peppermint bark) to create a house for her friends.
And here they are partying!

And of course in the latter part of the evening, there was even more dancing
and more and more….

A beautiful day, through and through.

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