The Night Before Christmas

This Christmas season has been one of my favorites ever.

Ella is at an age where it’s all just magical and exciting for her, and I’ve tried really hard this year to keep the things that stress me out to a minimum (we entirely ditched the advent calendar I made last year, because I found that doing a daily activity just stressed me out), and maximize the things that make Christmas really fun for me.

Instead, we’ve done loads of dancing around the living room to Christmas music, lots of reading Christmas books (this has been a huge hit this year – we have read most of the books four or five times), and a lot of snuggling on the couch looking at our Christmas tree, which is a legitimate size this year, now that we don’t live in a little apartment. We’ve taken plates of goodies around to our neighbors, and done a little Christmas shopping together.

And instead of doing a lot of daily activities, I’ve focused more on doing a few of the traditions I most loved growing up and adding a few of our own (Anne from Modern Mrs. Darcy (is that the best blog name ever, or what?) wrote a great post about the importance of traditions that has really stuck with me this month, and I’m trying to do things that are meaningful and simple that we’ll be able to keep up as a family for years).

My in-laws are here this week visiting, so yesterday morning, we made gingerbread houses (but, like my mom did throughout my childhood, I opted to do graham cracker houses because they are so much easier). Ella had seen a tiny gingerbread house on the front of the December Family Fun magazine and has been asking to make them every since.

We’ll also do our shepherd’s meal on Christmas Eve, followed by chocolate fondue with friends.

And this year, finally, we get to start up a tradition my family did for as long as I can remember.

Every Christmas Eve, our family would go see a movie in the movie theater. Lots of great movies come out around Christmas time, plus it’s an excellent way to burn up several hours of the slowest day of the year for kids.

Ella is old enough to sit through a full-length movie now (last year, we tried watching the Grinch as a family and after about five minutes, she asked, “Is this almost done?” The whole movie is only about 25 minutes, so we knew a 90+ minute film was out of the question), and she’s never been to a movie theater.

Next Tuesday, armed with Junior Mints (our movie candy of choice), the three of us will go see Frozen. She’s already talking about it, and I hope it lives up to her expectations.

I cannot wait. It’s blowing my mind a little how magical Christmas with little children is.

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  • Reply Tina's Blog December 18, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    I took my girls with some friends to see Frozen a few weeks ago….my kids are older than yours, but we loved it. I was thinking of going to a movie in the evening of Christmas Day, but haven't found one yet that I think we would enjoy.

  • Reply Ash December 18, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Junior Mints? The best choice! All of these sound like so much fun…. I'm all about reducing stress around the holidays. It didn't really work for me this year but maybe someday 🙂

  • Reply megan December 18, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    I loved Christmas movies when I was growing up too. But ours were after the excitement on Christmas Day. Wish we could see you guys this Christmas. Your girls are the cutest thing ever.

  • Reply april December 18, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    The boys (3 & 5) loved Frozen, it was a great movie and I think she and you will love it.

  • Reply Ashley December 18, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Christmas really is so much fun with little kids. We are trying to start some Christmas traditions around here as well. Those are the things that everyone remembers! She'll love Frozen…my boys really liked it!

  • Reply Rachel December 18, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Seriously, best Christmas ever. I also ditched my advent calendar this year because it seemed like too much work, but I've still been able to find a Christmas activity to do almost every day. Our girls are at such a perfect age- they're so excited about everything but don't have high expectations. Enjoy!

  • Reply Katie December 18, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    The movie on Christmas Eve is such a great idea, especially if you don't live near your family. We saw Frozen a few weeks ago, and absolutely loved it! My daughter is 4 and could hardly wait to see it. I totally laughed and cried throughout the whole movie. We found the soundtrack at the library and snatched it up quick. We've been listening to it on repeat ever since. We'll be sad when it's time to return it!

  • Reply JoLee December 18, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    This Christmas season has been really fun for us too. It's a magical age. On an unrelated note, I just got an ARC of We Were Liars. Did you like it?

  • Reply Saskia December 18, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Yet another reason to want kids. Although Christmas this way is still pretty good.

  • Reply Kimberly December 19, 2013 at 5:08 am

    I have a friend whose family does a Christmas evening movie. The first time I went with here it felt weird, like I had no idea places were even open on Christmas, but it was so much fun.

  • Reply Kristina December 19, 2013 at 6:38 am

    I remember you writing about your views on Santa a while ago. I was surprised to find someone who feels the same way my husband and I do on Santa. I'm sure you don't want to start WWIII by bringing that up again, but I was wondering how you're handling things now that your kids (Ella) are getting older and understanding more.

  • Reply zeghsy grrl December 19, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    We saw Frozen a couple of weeks ago. Everyone loved it (a 4 year old, a 16 year old, both adults, and a 1 year old)! My only advice is don't let Ella drink the entire drink before the movie is half over. The 4 year old wanted to wait to go to the bathroom until after it was over. Even though he was doing the dance. You're going to love it.

  • Reply Ralphie December 19, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    We're going too! Wish we could go together. We'll be thinking of you.

  • Reply Ralphie December 19, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    We're going too! Wish we could go together. We'll be thinking of you.

  • Reply Laura Gois December 20, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Ahh Frozen is so great 🙂 hope you enjoy it! xx

  • Reply Amy Jo December 21, 2013 at 12:10 am

    This sounds magical. I don't want to wish away the age my daughter is, but I keep trying to do activities like she is 3 instead of 16 months, because it is just so magical to have a kid around at Christmas. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your fun traditions. I really enjoy your blog!

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