The kids decked the tree with hand-me-down ornaments and a few hand-made ones accumulated over the years.
Brushing aside thoughts about about why give presents? and how much are we doing for others? and all the associated moral twinges and aches that crop up around this season each year, we focused on the positives as this is one time in a year (out of two), when kids get to expect something other than the bare essential food-clothing-shelter and dare to wish for something fun and exciting.
Oggie was hovering on the border there for a while, neither making it to the Nice list, nor falling into the Naughty list. But, as he realized it on the 23rd, he still had 24th to make up for lost time. And, judging by the filled stockings hung by the fireplace on the 25th morning, looks like he made it to the Nice list just in time!
There was no inkling of doubt about Ana entrenching herself in the Nice list very early on - possibly starting Dec 26th of last year.
Thanks to the Wish List system, and the fact that we have no cable TV or even Network TV to tell the kids about the "must-have toys of the season", it was a pleasant experience to exchange presents again this year.
Especially precious were the hand-made items the 8-yo made for the family: Squeeze 'Ems with Kisses for All of us; Appliqued pillow case and place mat for Papa, cut and sewn all by herself, with guidance from Mama; Coaster for Mama, plus a finger-knitted scarf with fabric flower embellishment.
Some things in the 8 yo's Wish List didn't happen for obvious reasons. Like this one for instance: "I'd like to have a 2 year old sister" Or, this one: "I'd really love to have a puppy this year." It's interesting how she wanted to bypass the babyhood and go straight to a 2 year old sister who can play dolls with her, or can substitute for a favorite doll.
Some other things in her list did not happen as I had no clue where to look for them or buckle down and make them. Like for instance: "I really wish I had long underwear." But, even if she didn't get a long underwear, she got a great lesson in You Can't Always Get What You Want. (ycagwyw)
Oggie's list was much shorter and very specific. Like, a book about all flags of the world, and, a movie about Oceans and Countries, and a toy sled. Of course, in place of toy sled, the kid got the popular ycagwyw lesson like his sister, only because I didn't know where to look for a toy sled, and did not have the wherewithal to make one.
We made Fruit & Nut Oatmeal bars for Santa, which we left out with some milk for his visit; and some carrots for the reindeer. And a Note/Letter from each kid, much like all the years so far. And, much like the previous years, Santa left a note back for the kids after partaking in the snacks.
Christmas Eve dinners are just with the family, and usually low key. The tradition being: let's vote on what we feel like eating and let's enjoy making it and eating it together. In that vein, last year saw us enjoying a delicious Fondue dinner on Christmas Eve. This year, we did a mini spread of Yaki Soba noodles, Veggie Spring Rolls, Veggie Pot stickers, and Vegetable Tempura.
Christmas Day is a quiet affair for the grown ups. It is all about the kids. They could barely fall asleep the previous night, when we read The Night Before Christmas. They woke up at the crack of dawn anxiously rushing to check the telltale signs of Santa's visit, then rushing back to the slumbering parents to squeal with delight.
The 5 yo was very much into marking the Winter Solstice, so we did celebrate it in a quiet way on Dec 21.