It was a good Christmas.

Many of our past Christmases have contained moments (or longer) of frustration and unmet expectations, which became exponentially blown out of proportion because of the fact that it’s CHRISTMAS DAY FOR CRYING OUT LOUD and ALL IS SUPPOSED TO BE COMPLETELY IDYLLIC.

You know, like a kid busting her head on her brand new bed.

Or another kid having a tiny moment of ungratefulness which makes a parent’s insides boil at the ludicrousness of Christmas Day Ungratefulness.

That kind of thing.

And so, this year, Chris and I began talking weeks beforehand.

“Let’s ratchet down our expectations.”


“Whatever happens on Christmas day, we won’t get frustrated.”

“Yes. We’ll plan on everything being a complete disaster. Kids screaming, presents breaking, lunch burning, people puking, emergency room trips – the whole thing. Then we won’t react when things go wrong.”


We repeated our mantra nightly.

“We will not become frustrated on Christmas Day. We will not become frustrated on Christmas Day.”

And to help us in the lowering of our expectations, we both contracted the stomach virus the weekend before. And I didn’t get better (due to my other health stuff I guess.)

So we went into Christmas Day with me sick (but seemingly not contagious), all plans in tentative mode, and completely grateful for any joyous moment we might come upon.

And as such, we had the best Christmas Day ever.

So if you, like us, struggle to not let the little things get under your skin on major holidays, I highly recommend a deep sickness leading up to each one.

Anyway, here were a few of our favorite moments.

10. Making Christmas Eve Gingerbread Cookies – mainly so I didn’t feel like such a schmuck for doing nothing Christmasy with the children for the prior five days.


But despite my selfish motives, they adored it,


right down to…listening to the cookies?


Maybe they expected to hear tiny Gingerbread screams, I don’t know.


9. Ali’s interpretation of leaving Milk and Cookies for Santa.


Clearly, he’s a Hipster.

8. Noah’s traditional refusal to take a decent Christmas Eve Jammies Picture.

Christmas Eve Christmas Jammie Pictures

7. Christmas eBay Purchases. WHY doesn’t Lego make Bob the Builder Duplos anymore? Whatever the reason it’s not good enough. But thanks to the lovely invention of Online Auctions, we were able to gift Noah in this combination of his two favorite things.


(Oh. The train tent in the background? That was Santa’s best interpretation of Noah’s only Request – a “Tall Tall Train.” However, Noah refused to enter into the Holy of Holies for the first twelve hours, but will now not come out. So I guess it passed the test.)

At any rate, when Noah saw the Bob the Builder Duplos, his reaction was to scream, “WHO brought these to me?!?!?!”


So we’ll call that a win.

6. Ali’s first Christmas to request books. LOTS of books.

There’s nothing more exciting than raising a little literature geek.


A geek who also methodically opened,


then sorted all of her presents. And was quite nervous when her brother came to inspect her stacks.


5. Excitement,






And a sugar rush.


4. Ridiculous Messes.



3. Ali being a volunteer gift-bringer and Noah being a complete squealing narcissist when finding photos of himself in other people’s presents.


2. Contortionist Cousin Eli and his annual attempt to fit into my Grandmother’s Tiny Dog’s crate.


Another successful year in the books.



(And then the attempts to unfold him out of the crate.)


He’s gotten more rubber than last year, when we had to disassemble for removal.



1. My sadistic mother and her hiding of the children’s gifts, making them answer questions about The Christmas Story to earn puzzle pieces,


and work as a team to piece together the puzzle and find clues to hunt down their presents.


Nobody would ever accuse her of being a Veteran Homeschool Mom.

(But the children loved it, of course.)

(After they were assured that their presents were safe and unharmed.)

0. (Yes I can have a 0 it’s my blog post!)

The children declaring at least thirty times each that it was the best Christmas EVER.



And I absolutely agree.

What were your top moments this Christmas?

21 thoughts on “Top Ten Moments of Christmas.

  1. Ali is a girl after my own heart!

    Our Christmas fell into the High-Expectations-Too-Much-Frustration category, unfortunately. It was mostly my own doing. Christmas is torture for a Type A/OCD person such as myself. My kids were the ones who saved it by their sheer excitement when they opened their presents.

    Did you see the Ninja-bread cookie cutouts at Target? Nicholas (age 5) and I had the best time making those!

    1. I totally understand – been there. So been there.

      And yes! I wanted Ninjabread so badly. I saw it on Zulily, but by the time I saw it they were sold out. I’ll have to keep my eyes open other places.

  2. Ali got a Spirograph–that’s awesome! I got one for Christmas in either 1975 or ’76. In a time when six-year-olds routinely get Kindles and iPads for Christmas, I love to see the old-school toys still hanging in there.

    My favorite Christmas moment was when I surprised my husband, who is incredibly difficult to shop for. When I bought his gift, I wasn’t sure if it was something he already had or not, so I just took a chance and went for it. He loved it!

  3. I’m so glad your family had a great Christmas! I hope you are all the way better now, too.

    So far, Christmas has been really good for us, too. I decided for Brantley, Logan, and me to stay home on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and they were fantastic. We had Christmas dinner with neighbors and their friends that we just met. It was really nice to not have any family pressure the day of. We are going to my in-laws tomorrow for our last Christmas of the year and I’m sure it will turn out as well as the others :)

  4. I was ALWAYS asking for books for Christmas and I remember getting a spirograph one year as well (probably still have it too)…. Glad your kids had fun :)

  5. I am pretty sure we had a Christmas like your past extravaganzas. Let’s see-I caught the flu from my brother, I am 12 weeks pregnant and 99% sure I am going to be the first person to die of morning sickness. Every time I take my tami flu I vomit leaving me to wonder what to do. Now my son has it and my husband claims to have it, but i think that just might be a survival tactic so he gets to stop doing all the work . :(

  6. I’m of the “keep the expectations low” camp. Because if parenthood has taught me one thing, it’s that nothing will ever go as planned. Ever. Like, NEVER EVER. Keeps me from being disappointed. Which is both good and bad. Because I seem to have swung to that extreme in most areas of life and I find it very difficult to get excited about anything. But so many things went so very not as we visualized when we had our first child that it was the only way I could figure out to survive and not spiral down into a pit of despair. So I pretty much just try to live moment to moment when it comes to my kids on ANY day of the year, since I can’t predict when there will be a sudden bout of stubbornness or a tantrum or projectile vomit.

    The one thing that DID go right and was perfectly magical, though, was we went and saw Santa for the first time ever and my children did not freak out. Did you hear that??? MY CHILDREN DID NOT FREAK OUT!!! I’m still in a bit of shock! It was a last minute thing, we were at the mall late in the evening and there was no line to see Santa so my husband suggested we give it a try. I was not very optimistic and tried to talk him out of it. But he insisted. And shockingly, our normally shy and stubborn and totally not open to new experiences four year old ran right up to Santa and jumped into his lap. The photographer even got our squirmy 20-month-old to look at the camera and smile. The kids were kind of grubby from dinner, we’re not in matching outfits, and the baby was still wearing his monkey-backpack-child-leash, but they’re both smiling. :-)

  7. we got your card, thanks! you guys take great photos :) sorry you were still sick on Christmas :( We started the day off at our house and then went to my in-laws who live nearby and spent the rest of the day there. My Dad came with us (made my day that he was there!), and Jake thoroughly enjoyed opening up his presents. I would say being with family, and watching my family enjoy themselves really made my day. Oh, and Jake liked Santa when we had his photo taken! I’m pretty excited about that :) I also really enjoyed shopping the morning after Christmas for next year’s presents and decorations. (I got a couple of really good deals on some throw blankets for $5 that will save me lots in the long-run) and it was nice to be out with just my husband and our kiddo for a little while, and the stores weren’t crazy at 9am thankfully.

  8. What a good idea to prepare for a terrible Christmas! Haha :) Actually we had a really good Christmas, and were only the frustrated the next day when we went to Target and they only asked for 1001 things regardless of the fact that they still had brand new piles of Christmas toys waiting for them back at the house! LOVE the picture of the kids listening to the cookies. K also declared several times that it was THE BEST DAY EVER! :)

    1. YES – kids totally don’t get the concept of having enough. We had this discussion about candy at the movie theater today! They’ve eaten approximately 30,000 calories of candy each in the past week. We didn’t need movie candy!

  9. We had a great Christmas, very low key. The funny story of the day was that my 3 1/2 year old was woken up by my very early rising almost 5 year old. He still wasn’t awake so when he saw his BIG SANTA gift that he has been begging for daily there was ZERO excitement. (Thomas the Train Castle Quest…the one where he gets the crown-as if you didn’t know) I was all set up to take great video of the utter joy and no joy was shown…he just sat down, ran it a few times and then moved on. The hit with the 3 1/2 year old was the Fart Gun (despicable me) that his brother got him wins for most annoying toy ever! The almost 5 year old was so excited that he got his first Light Saber. My big gift was a 90 minute massage…what mama doesn’t need that? LOVE!

  10. Looks like a very fun time! Hate you were sick though :( last year 10/11 family members caught the stomach virus while we were there for Christmas. Needless to say I morphed into a germaphobe in the weeks leading up to it this year. We have very similar problems with the Pj pics.

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