So, here is my rule.
On the Eve of Christmas, we stay home as a family. We don't travel. We don't run last minute errands or pick up final gifts. We don't gather in anyone else's home for Christmas celebrations. We stay nestled in our own cozy warm home & we make moments with our children that will be memories they carry with them for a lifetime. We will bake cookies for Santa, play games, watch Christmas movies, get all snug in Christmas jammies, recite "The Night Before Christmas", & then at the end of the evening, we will nestle our children all snug in their beds.
You see, when I was growing up, I loved Christmas! I loved waking up at the crack of dawn--oh, who am I kidding--it wasn't even close to dawn! My brother & I would tiptoe into Mom & Dad's room & try getting them up at 4am, be sent back to bed & try again at 5, be sent back to bed & sometimes if we were REALLY lucky, they would cave at 5:30! I loved running out to see our stockings overflowing with prizes, & tearing into all of the beautifully wrapped presents! There is no denying that I have a soft spot for Christmas! But it is Christmas EVE that holds my fondest memories! I remember the togetherness. I remember sipping hot cocoa. I remember opening a package of special Christmas jammies. I remember BEGGING to open just one more present--& sometimes getting to, because Mom couldn't stand the pleading any longer! I remember the anticipation! I remember my brother & I being little balls of energy, ready to explode with excitement! I remember being all tucked into bed that night, & tossing & turning all the night long because the anticipation was just consuming me! And then once Christmas morning came, of course it was always fun--but in my heart, it didn't hold a candle to Christmas Eve.
Christmas Eve brings with it a truck load of eagerness, excitement, anticipation, giddiness, silliness, twinkling eyes, cheeriness, merriness, jolly-ness--the whole sha-bang! And not for one single second do I want to miss out on my own children experiencing all of the above! I want to watch every bit of their excitement unfold! I want to see their eager eyes as we set cookies & milk out for Santa! I want to hear their little voices begging & pleading to open JUST ONE gift! I want to see their giddiness as Jared & I tuck them into bed at night & see that they too, are little balls of energy about to explode at any moment! I want to spend the entire day cozied up with them sipping hot cocoa, baking cookies, skipping naps, & having togetherness. I guess what I'm saying is that I want to really truly experience Christmas with my family, & I don't want to miss a single thing. Not one single moment. I know that one day my children will all be grown, & they will go off to have their own lives & families. Sure, I'll still be a part of it, but it won't be the same--I won't have THESE days back ever again. I only have them for a short time & that's why I intend to make the very most of the years & time we have together! I want my children to grow up & have vivid memories of the moments we made together as a family!
Now don't think for a second that I don't think extended family is important. I believe that grandparents, aunts, uncles, & cousins are a precious part of our lives & memory making! And we will have our time with them every single year, no doubt!
But every year on Christmas Eve, you will find us snug in our home.