"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Our (Almost) Perfect Christmas

So, I was a Scrooge McGrinch in the last Christmas post, and I admit that I went into our delayed Christmas feeling a little bit negative… but there’s just something about celebrating Christmas with your loved ones that puts you in a good mood!

First, you need a few Christmas decorations! Since I documented my last purchase of decorations ad nauseam HERE and HERE 3 years ago, I decided to at least capture my new purchases this year.  I didn’t get many, but I can’t wait to get serious about adding to them a little at a time each year. Also, I left all of my other Christmas decoration in the storage, and I wish that I had just brought them.  Lesson learned for the next move!

First I bought an advent calendar – which we didn’t use.  Actually we tried to do it, but it was too much temptation for Little Frances… maybe next year she will have a little more self control.

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I needlepoint and I have stocking patterns that I have started.  That’s my excuse for never buying stockings before, however its been years since I started them and I figured I better get some other ones in the meantime.  I love these!  They are fun (not even remotely elegant) for the age that we are at and with small kids.  We put Two Baby’s stocking up Smile, and we’ll monogram it later. The store than monogrammed the other three did the WORST job – I need to see if I can get it redone.  On our “mantle” is the German Pyramid that I bought while in Bruges this past February, a little Christmas tree that Agnessa gave us, and Nativity set that I bought from Brookwood in Old Town Spring!  If you don’t know anything about Brookwood, please take a minute to read about it HERE.  I want to do a post on it in the future.  I love my Nativity set, and the fact that it was made by adults with special needs makes me love it even more!

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We bought a fake Christmas tree.  Yes, it is definitely leaning.  Nick says that its because its Russian made and has nothing to do with assembly… hrmm.  I bought a few ornaments in Texas and Canada when we were there in November, and the rest are just cheap bulbs.

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I also bought a red Christmas throw and special Christmas pillows.  I kind want to get a cheap red rug from Overstock or IKEA just for Christmas time, but that will have to wait. I love red and brown together!

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We weren’t sure when to celebrate Christmas, but we decided to go ahead and do it the night we came back from Moscow.  We could have waited 2 weeks for Russian Christmas… but I guess I hate waiting for Christmas! Smile  I wanted to make it happen ASAP.

Since we didn’t back until late at night we stopped off and McDonald’s to pick up our perfect Christmas feast!

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Then we let Isla open her Christmas presents.  We really cut back this year, but she seems like everything she got.  Every single one of my presents was educational, which I didn’t realize until she opened them, and I felt kind of bad.  That’s ok.  She got a lot of fun presents from the Grandparents.

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Isla and Nick got to playing with them right away!  They have actually been playing more with the toys together in the week since which is awesome.  I am so impressed by how quickly she figures them out when they play together.  When she and I play with her toys, she says “I can’t do it, mommy YOU do it” a lot, but she jumps right in when it is her and Nick.  This is very different for them too, usually they play chase and rough house!

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Nick and I… it was late after a long day of traveling.  That’s why you’re only getting a small picture of me.

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Then it was time to set out cookies for Santa Clause.  I let Isla do something she had always wanted to do, which was pour the milk for the cookies into a glass.  After we readied the cookies and milk, I think she misunderstood and thought we said “cookies IN milk” because she then proceeded to dump the glass of milk over the cookies!

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We decided to set them out, as is Smile.

Santa left two presents.  One was a tent.  Upon assembly, Santa noticed that one of the joints in the rod was broken… which set Mrs. Claus crying and bawling over how Christmas was once again ruined (she may be a tad hormonal these days).

Thankfully Santa was able to use some cardboard and tape to smooth out the bed, although you can still see the jag in the pictures below.  The great thing is that Isla is too young to notice and she loved the tent!

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She also got candy in her stocking, which she loved.  She kept reminding me that it was all hers.

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And Santa left Isla a little note on Mama’s stationary, reminding her to be a good girl and to say hi to Two Baby when he or she arrived.  And on the back was a little reminder…

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It says “I love you… but JESUS loves you most of all!”

So a little bit of back ground.  Nick and I were going back and forth on whether or not to do Santa.  We were afraid that it would detract from the real reason for the season, although we are completely fine with everyone else doing it!  No judgment – promise.

Ultimately Isla decided that Santa would come.  We don’t know how she heard about Santa, but in October she asked me to tell her about Santa.  Shocked I stammered “Well, he comes to visit in on Christmas and brings you presents.”

I immediately inwardly cursed myself because I knew she would latch onto the word “presents” and she did!  She immediately said “He’s going to bring me a big present and he’s going to bring you a little present.”  And after that she went on and on and on about Santa.  I also checked with anyone and everyone, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and all swear they didn’t tell her about Santa.

And Nick had really wanted to do Santa all along, and I know that Santa’s visits as a child certainly didn’t stop me from loving Jesus, so we decided to go ahead and do it.  Also, I really don’t want Isla to be THAT child, the one who tells everyone else that Santa isn’t real.

So decided to celebrate Santa.  And my WORST nightmares have become a reality.  ALL on her OWN she has started praying to Santa to send her angels.  At night we have a ritual where we go through everyone who loves her and at the end we ask her “But Isla, who loves you most of all?” To which she is SUPPOSED to reply “Jesus loves me most of all!”

However a few weeks ago, she started saying “Santa loves me most of all!”  When we try to correct her, she says “No Santa, he loves me and he’ll send me presents and angels.”

Sigh.  We are the worst Christian parents EVER.

But I know one day she will get everything straight, and this will be a good story Smile.  Still, I feel like a failure when other kid’s know that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday, a fact that she has been told but likes to forget!

Anyway, our Christmas celebration ended up being really wonderful, even if it was on the wrong day, and I am so thankful for my wonderful family and I’m thankful for the birth of Jesus, the one who made peace between God and man.

Looking forward to Christmas 2013 as a family of FOUR!


  1. Presents and angels! This made me laugh so hard. This is like me being afraid that Calvin won't like books. I shudder to think. This will be a great story someday. Could you spin it to be about Saint Nicholas? He is at least mildly religious. Either way, you are right that she will outgrow that. In a sort of related point, I don't know how I feel about Santa either, but for slightly different reasons. I also default to the reasoning that I don't want Calvin to be the different kid. Yet maybe the different kids grow up to do amazing things and not follow in the prescribed path. Sheesh, being a parent is tiring.

  2. It is exhausting! Yes, St Nicholas is how I justify Santa for the most part, but I think what finally tipped me over to the Santa side was my niece. When she is with her mom for Christmas, she doesn't celebrate Christmas because she also always with her grandparents who are against Santa. Her little face is so forlorn every time someone asks her what Santa brought her and she has to say "nothing." I guess I'm just a weakling, but I never want Isla to feel so left out of something that is so magical and wonderful to a kid.

  3. *I meant she doesn't celebrate Santa.

  4. We have always taken the approach the Santa celebrates the Christmas story and Jesus. We start the season with reading the Christmas story and before we go to sleep on Christmas eve. We try to not emphasize the whole naughty and nice thing and emphasize that like Jesus, Santa offers grace and that he wants to honor and celebrate Jesus's birthday by giving gifts to us like God gave us the ultimate gift sending in Jesus for our salvation. We played the Elf on the Shelf and totally changed the book that came along with it, I was inspired by a pinterest pin on how to make it about Christmas Magic and not about checking up on them and that Santa believes in grace as well. We feel that they only get to be kids once and have the fun in believing in Santa, the magic of Christmas but that our responsibility is to make sure they know the true meaning. Peyton also used to tell me that Santa was born on Christmas and mix it all up but this year it clicked. She very much understands the story and understands that Santa wasn't born on Christmas! Take a deep breath and it will all be fine!

  5. Its good to hear some wisdom from a more experienced mommy! I forget that she is only two and a half sometimes... she just has such a little mind of her own :). I thought children were supposed to regurgitate whatever they heard - but I love my little independent thinker! I know God will do great things through her.

    I love all your traditions! I can't wait to get ours more established. We kind of rushed through everything because we didn't even get back to our apartment until around 9pm! Next year will be better :).


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