Well, I believe it was a fine Christmas at our house. As I type this at about 10:30 PM, Christmas night, the girls are all in bed snuggling with one new item or another. As I take my last listen to my favorite Christmas songs, I’ll share a few details of our holiday.

Christmas Eve was a blur of trips to the grocery store, food prep, and last-minute cleaning and straightening jobs around the house before we had to get ready for 5:00 pm Mass.

There was a chance of snow Wednesday night. Or, rather, there was an expectation of heavy snow but with the balancing factor that it had been in the 50s for a couple days and the ground would be too warm for the snow to stick. As far as I know, it never changed over to snow. But when we walked out of Mass at 6:30, heavy drops of cold rain blew directly into our faces. Not the most beautiful of Christmas Eves.

From Mass it was on to the in-laws’ for our annual Christmas Eve dinner. Good food, good company, and a quick round of gifts after.

We headed home so we could watch a movie (most of Christmas Vacation, although the girls were too wound up to really pay attention) and get the girls settled down for bed. An uncle and two aunts came to spend the night with us, which is a must. The girls have never had a Christmas morning where there was not at least one aunt or uncle around when they opened presents.

We forced the girls to bed around 10:30, to many complaints. M. had been whining for two days about how unfair we are to them. The neighbors, she tells us, are allowed to get up at 6:00 to open their presents. We informed her 6:00 gifts were not happening in our house so she needed to change her attitude in the last bedtime before Santa came. She literally stomped her foot and grunted, her new favorite way of disagreeing with us. Then both she and C. complained that they wouldn’t be able to sleep. They figured things out, eventually, as everyone was fast asleep when I went to bed at 12:30.

M. was the first in to our room, at a completely reasonable 7:30, the exact time we told her we would consider getting out of bed. Which makes me think she had been awake for at least an hour, staring at the clock until it reached the magic minute when we were willing to get up. The other two were roused and brushed teeth as the aunts and uncle were notified that their presence was required downstairs.

And then the best 20 minutes of the year, if you’re a kid at least.

M. had asked for Sänd, the Brookstone-specific brand of kinetic sand. She got regular kinetic sand, which she was happy with, although she let everyone know she had asked for Sänd.[1] She also got a warm robe and Battleship, as she is our family gamer.

C. got a new makeup kit. Unlike the one she got two years ago, she did not use 60% of it in the first four hours she owned it. She also got a Simon game[2] and a Spirograph, which has been a big hit.

L. got the most popular gift, a Zoomer Dino which is a lot of fun, although it sure has to be charged up often. Other gifts included a Knot-a-Quilt set and a bungee pogo stick. In her stocking was a Pete the Cat doll, which is now permanently attached to her.

That was the Santa loot. From dear old Mom and Dad, the girls got an iPad Air, which caused much shrieking. We’re hopeful that they behave with it and there are not arguments over playing time, one sister playing with another sister’s game, etc. So far they’ve had the most fun sending messages to other people in the family, and the neighbors, using Siri. They also made faux-feces with M.’s kinetic sand and sent pics to everyone, saying it was “Green Turdes.” When I think back to Christmas 2014, I think the lasting memory will be “green turdes.”

Everyone also got robes and slippers and the game Life from their grandparents. There were also small Lego kits and Barnes and Noble gift cards in their stockings.

So the girls did pretty well for themselves. It’s going to be interesting how they handle getting games for the iPad. So far they’ve only downloaded free games, other than Minecraft which I paid for. I have it locked down so I have to approve purchases first on their iPad and then on my iPhone, so any future buys will need careful parental review. Over the past year they’ve saved money for Lego kits, books, and other special purchases. I wonder if they’ll start sliding that money over to the App Store instead.

After gifts we had the traditional large family brunch, which fed 17. Then in the afternoon five more extended relatives joined us for dessert. I was wiped out by about 3:00, two glasses of wine not helping, so I pulled the “It’s My House” card and went into the basement where the kids were playing and watching A Christmas Story and took a nap. When I woke, many of our guests were gone and it was a much quieter home. Host of the year!

So Christmas 2014, good. I read this a few minutes ago and it rings pretty true. No telling how many more Christmas Days like this we have left.

I hope all of you had fine holidays as well.

She wrote a note put with Santa’s cookies and milk reminding him that she reeeeeeeally wanted Sänd and would be disappointed if he didn’t bring her some. Seriously…  ↩

No volume controls. How have they not added one in the last 30 years?  ↩