This is the fun part. . . Harper was so excited she was totally off the wall all day. She did not nap, which is usually disastrous, but worked fine today because she fell asleep right away this evening. Now the gifts are under the tree and I am enjoying a few minutes of satisfied peace before the mania that will likely ensue in the morning.
We have started a tradition with Matt's parents (and sister and Auntie M, depending on who is in town) of going to Christmas Eve Mass, then having a simple dinner at our house. We have potato soup and bread for dinner which is not fancy, but I did make both from scratch this year. Then we just have a quiet evening. Tonight it was just Matt's parents and us for dinner. We did a puzzle with Harper afterward and then played cards once she was in bed. There was Christmas music playing, a fire in the fireplace, and it really did feel to me like our own little Christmas card. I kind of like that we don't really do any gifting on Christmas Eve, especially since there will be three rounds of gift opening tomorrow and another one or two when we drive up to Wisconsin. Don't get me wrong, the gifts are fun! I just enjoy the fact that we, for now, have a wonderful Christmas Eve tradition that isn't even a little about the presents.
We usually go to church very early on Sunday mornings, when there aren't many people there. Tonight we went to a children's service and it was packed!!! It was neat to see the place so full of families and all the children dressed in their best holiday garb. During the first reading Harper leaned over to Nana and asked (in a loud whisper), "Are they talking about Santa Claus?!"
During the gospel and homily of this one mass, the children are all invited to sit up on the altar. Harper got really excited while the priest read the gospel about Jesus' birth. It is probably important to note that they didn't really use Jesus' name; the priest referred to him as a baby and the first born son. When she came back to the pew she told me, "They talked about my baby brother!!!"
Tonight, before bed, Harper chose treats for Santa very carefully. She asked Nana to put her to bed and then sent Nana out to us with two messages:
1) That if Santa should leave any treats on the plate, she would like to eat them herself.
2) That Nana and Dziatku better go home soon so Santa could come!
I can't imagine a year with children when Christmas won't be fun, but this? This is the best one yet.