I always take a big giant breath of relief when I see the tree like this on Christmas Eve. The living room in order and ready for the magic to begin the next morning. It feels like so much of my work is done by that point and I can just relax and let it all that magic wash over me.
We had a packed, but great Christmas Eve. We delivered some secret Santa gifts in the morning with Charity and then went to the airport to collect Eli and Julie who were coming up from DC to bring us even more Christmas cheer. Julie’s brother and his wife and new baby came up for our big traditional Shumway Christmas Eve dinner. The kids were over the moon excited by everything going on….and when I say excited, I mean kind of crazy and over the top and bordering on annoying kind of excitement. It was quite a challenge to get them to sit still to eat or be serious as they acted out the nativity. In my perfect little planned out world Christmas Eve was supposed to be soft and quite and full of the real meaning of Christmas as we read about Christ's birth in the Bible and let the kids give their gifts out to each other. We were going to focus on all the most important parts of Christmas, giving and Christ and peace. Instead, it was a whirlwind. Get the dinner on the table, time everything just right….. don’t burn the rolls! Sit still for the prayer! Eat your food! Don’t jump up on the table! Please sit and ask our guests some good questions. Oh, get the towel, more spilled sparkling cider. Get your presents all in a pile. Give hugs and say thank you! Put on your nativity costume. Please act like a reverent Joseph instead of Michael Jackson. Just wrap up that napkin in swaddling clothes, I don’t know where the baby doll went. Put on your new pjs. Lay out cookies and milk, no, we won’t forget the carrot. Oh, yes, write your little cards to Santa, but do it quick, he’ll be here soon. Read the Grinch. Lay in bed. Don’t get out. Pack up stockings, drag things up from the basement. Wrap more gifts. Tidy things up. Ignore your aching tired body and keep going. And finally done. Ahhh.
Here’s a video that Charity put together (thanks char) that kind of depicts the mood of the night.
Hazel saved up to buy Charlie this nutcracker. He has been coveting hers and mourning the loss of his last one that got broken last year. He was delighted, but I think she was even happier. It feels good to give. Charity was an awesome angel, Hazel was a serious Mary and Charlie was a very reluctant Joseph. Somehow we made it through with only baby Jesus having to be removed (she didn’t really like the manger bed…..I don’t blame her). And, as for the work after the kids went down? Sure it was hard. We were all working so so hard. But there’s something kind of wonderful about it, it’s all laced with anticipation of the magic that’s to come in the morning.
And I’m only going to get to do that magical santa work for maybe 8 or 9 more years? I better enjoy it!