There was very little sleep on Christmas Eve. We were giving Meg and Clare each desks from IKEA for Christmas. While my husband and I watched Love Actually, I used my IKEA assembling skills and put together both desks. As I finished assembling and the movie finished, my husband headed to Midnight Mass. In our parish, Midnight Mass actually begins at Midnight (not always true for other parishes). I finished up Christmas morning preparations and then curled up on the living room sofa, where I spent the rest of the night acting as guard. Periodically throughout the night I would hear little feet walking across the floor upstairs and I would rush up the stairs where I would find one of the girls at the top of the stairs wondering if Santa had come yet.
At 6:30 a.m. Clare made it about halfway down the stairs. I told her she had to wait for Meg. She responded, "Okay, but I see my art desk." We pulled everyone together fairly quickly. Even my exhausted husband (who protested he didn't really need to see the girls opening their gifts) made it to the sofa (where he promptly fell back asleep). The girls were happy with their desks and the art supplies. Clare loved her Elsa doll and wig. Meg loved her Clara (from the Nutcracker) rag doll.
At 8 a.m. we started scrambling to make it to Mass. I quickly put the ham in the crockpot. Everyone threw on clothes. We were not in our Christmas best, but we made it to Mass. The girls love Christmas Mass because they finally see the church decorated, including the beautiful Nativity scene. After Mass (and after allowing the girls to look closely at the Nativity scene), we headed home to prepare Christmas dinner.
Christmas dinner was pretty simple this year. Ham, a turkey breast, mixed vegetables, mashed potatoes, canned biscuits and store-bought cranberry relish. Our biggest project Christmas Day was making the birthday cake for Jesus which would serve as our dessert. As you can see from the picture above, the girls went all out on decorating as they always do. They even used candy from their stockings to add color and pizzazz.
Christmas night we headed to Bull Run Regional Park for the Festival of Lights. It was a long drive there, but completely worth it. There are 2 1/2 miles of lights to drive through and the light displays are very whimsical. It was so much fun and perhaps will become an annual Christmas night tradition. I have to say I preferred it to ZooLights at the National Zoo, which is legendary in this area.
Christmas was a lovely, quiet day this year. The grandparents began coming into town the day after Christmas. The girls would have preferred to have someone special visiting on Christmas Day, but they were perfectly happy with how things worked out.