The Christmas Celebration Begins

Today is the first day of our Christmas celebrations!

I have spent most of the week scrambling to get ready, including getting up at 6:30 yesterday (I just couldn’t sleep!).  I had too many last-minute gifts to finish making and wrapping, plus food to make to take with us.  Our plan is to spend today and tomorrow with my husband’s parents, then head over to see mine for Christmas Eve and Day.  It’ll be a busy several days!  But very exciting.

When we had our first Christmas together, nobody had any kids yet (this was 7 years ago) and we would spend an hour as a family, praying together for each other.  (Okay, my niece was born…but she was only a month old.)  These days there are six kids around plus another on the way…so things are a little different.  (The kids are 7, 4, 4, 3, 1, and 8 months.)  Last year my MIL got out a manger scene and gave each of us a little “character” from it.  As my FIL read the Christmas story from the Bible, the person would get up when their character was mentioned and add it to the manger.  This gave all the kids something to do — at least the older ones.  Prayers after this are short, because the kids are pretty antsy!

After this, the older kids help hand out presents to everyone.  This year my niece can read for herself, and my MIL helps the younger ones by telling them who to take the packages to.  Once all the presents are handed out, we open them in age order, starting with the oldest person (yes, the kids have to wait!).  This way we can each appreciate what we are given and also thank the giver(s) properly.  We each receive 3 – 4 presents in total, mostly small items.

Then there is food!  And games, and naps, and conversation among the adults while the kids nap or watch a movie.  That is all what we will be doing today!

The Pictures

On Thursday, we got our family Christmas pictures done.  It was quite funny, really.  We discussed in advance what would be happening with my older two — “We’re going to get dressed up in your Christmas clothes, and go get our pictures taken.  We will do a family picture and also pictures of each of you by yourselves.”  In theory, my 3-year-old thought this was boring and didn’t want to.  My 4-year-old thought it sounded great to get dressed up and go do this.

…but in practice, their personalities shine through. :)  Bekah was pretty much born hating the camera.  Not kidding, by the time she was around a year, she would cry and throw a fit and refuse to sit for pictures ever.  We had a really hard time getting any shots of her when we did Daniel’s newborn pictures (she was barely 18 months at the time) because she cried and refused.  This time was no different!  She spent most of the time crying, pouting, and even forcing herself not to smile as we distracted her with talk about ice cream and Christmas cookies.  We got a few good shots, but…not a ton.  See the image at the top — as my friends said, the left half of the picture isn’t very happy (she gets her hate for the camera from Ben), but the right half is!

Daniel loved posing for the pictures, and so did Jacob (16 months).  Jacob only tried to get up and walk away once!  I really thought he would have more trouble but he was so interested in the photographers and their silly tricks that he sat and smiled.  The worst pose was when we tried to get the boys to stand back-to-back in front of the Christmas tree.  Both kept turning around and trying to pull ornaments off instead of looking at the camera!  We quickly found a different pose for them.

Here are a few of the other shots we got:

This is totally her!
Very sweet little boy
He’s getting so big!
All the kids! Bekah is smirking and trying not to smile.

Those are just some of the cute shots we got!

Enjoy your Christmas!  We will be!  :)

What are your Christmas celebration plans?

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