This Christmas was very different for us. We weren't traveling to Chicago and my family wasn't coming to visit us. Since we had just done a lot of traveling for both weddings this fall we all decided to stay home this December. This plan was good for the pocketbook but not so much for the heart. We missed each other like crazy, but we are very grateful for Skype!
We usually celebrate Christmas with the Jansen family on Christmas Eve morning. This year, Wes was working in the morning, so we met up around lunch time. This kids always have fun playing all together.
We munched on some delicious snacks and then it was time for stockings!
With 9 grandchildren and 8 adults it takes awhile. We go through the kids first because they are so anxious to open theirs, and then the adults go while the kids check out all their new little goodies.
Heath was Santa's Helper this year and helped pass out the stockings!
Heath's favorite stocking gift was this mini Donnie Dream Light!
Nolan collects these little Team Mates. They come in mystery packs, so you never know which teams you will get. He was SO excited to finally get the Broncos! He was the only one of 8 boys to get it, so he felt so special! Total luck!
After stockings in the family room we moved to the living room for presents! We all pull a name of who to buy for. I had Brad. Mark had Cara. Nolan had Arie. Heath had Landon. And Brooks had Brady.
Cohen had Nolan and got him the game TROUBLE. He was excited to have a new game to play and won the first family round.
The Brad Jansen boys also had Brooks! He got two Baymax action figures! He LOVES them and was so excited!
Brady had Heath and bought him this Turtles pinball machine. Anything Turtles is cool in his book.
"More presents?" We heard this a lot this Christmas. Ha!
The boys thought these LARGE presents were so cool! They were so curious to see what was inside.
Oma and Opa bought them penguin sleds!
These sleds were such a great gift! We've used them so much already. And they are fast and light to carry back up the hill.
These two enjoyed stocking up their liquor cabinets. And we all got some really nice and thoughtful presents- I just didn't really take that many photos. After opening gifts, we had a quick and delicious dinner (Just ask Nolan about the jello- he had thirds and fourths- ha!) and then our family left to head to church. The rest of the family stayed to sing carols and have Santa Dave visit. But since our kiddos had already seen Santa and our family loves going to church on Christmas Eve, we decided to skip this year and have a quiet family Christmas Eve.
Nolan was too old this year to go to class on Christmas Eve, so he came into the service with us. It was fun to sings carols with him and to raise our candles together during Silent Night. We loved seeing his little hand lifted up singing praises to our newborn king. (He did get scalded with wax mid song, but he handled it like a champ. Ha! Memories.)
After church we came home and had some nice, quiet, time together. We did our last Advent devotion, read The Night Before Christmas, put out milk and cookies for Santa, and carrots for Rudolph.
Then the boys opened up fun Christmas jammies that Eckabee left for them on his last day.
This pic is dark, but beautiful.
I lightened it up a bit to see their excited faces, ready to open their new Christmas jammies!
And then we put the boys to bed. They were so excited they didn't think they would be able to sleep. However, after an exhausting day, they were asleep in minutes! Nice for Santa's Helpers.
We got busy.
Santa always brings the boys their stockings.
And then he brings them one gift- whatever they asked him for usually. Except we've already talked about how Santa does not do live animals or any technology that requires a 2 year plan. Ha! (Ahem…phones…starting this conversation early.) And Santa also brings a Pickle Present- usually something small and inexpensive. They also get one gift from Mommy & Daddy and one gift from the brothers. They get so spoiled by all of our family too.
While I can, I do not worry about the price value. I don't set an amount that I need to spend on them or make sure I spend evenly. I just pick out things I know they will really love. I want them to know that it is not about the amount spent, but about the thought and love put into picking out a gift. I hope that they will always enjoy giving and watching others receive. And I want them to learn to appreciate every gift from underwear to video games. So far, so good.
After Christmas was all set up, "Santa" ate his cookies.
Then Mark and I watched T.V. in bed and relaxed after a busy day. It wasn't quite our usual Christmas, but we liked it, a lot. It was nice to slow down. We really enjoyed our 2 weeks home together as a family!