I was able to make gifts this year, which was both economical and a good use of my free time.
For my good friends at work, I made these Christmas trees.
For the kids' teachers, I altered some tins I had on hand and filled them with Christmas goodies. For Ian's teacher, I had Ian draw some Christmas-sy things and decoupaged them onto the tin.
I started in November. I've had roughly six weeks and I got two boys done--even with my extra free time. Turns out my brilliant idea is HARD to execute!
But, as it so happens, I did get this far, and so maybe I'll have the other two boys done by her birthday (in September.)
Next up, Aramis' birthday. I made an awesome lasagna from scratch for him. Seriously, I wish I could put a sample on my blog because it was THAT good! We ate lasagna for two days and then I gave the rest to my neighbors. (I make an obscenely large lasagna.)
Three days later, it was Ian's birthday. Right about this time, someone on Freecycle put up some Batman decorations, so we actually had a theme going here. And since we decorated, we invited some kiddos over to share in cake and ice cream. I'm not up to hosting a full-on party, but I'll tolerate the neigborhood kids for an hour or so. Ian loved it. My little guy is six! Can you believe it?
Getting ready for Santa takes up much of Christmas Eve. First, we must do the holiday baking, starting with GranMary's special Mincemeat cake. It's a Christmas tradition. The other part of the tradition is that no one but myself enjoys it, so I eat myself sick on this expensive treat. (still going!)
Then we bake cookies for Santa, open our Christmas pajamas (supplied this year by GranMary and Pa)--and btw, Ian was QUITE disappointed to find pj's and not a toy on Christmas Eve. You'd think the past six Christmases would have given him a clue! We put out reindeer food, to guide Rudolph and Co. But this year, I forgot until the day of to get the ingredients and had NO intention on going to ANY kind of store on Christmas Eve, so we improvised by putting out carrots. Zachary insisted we roll them in sugar ("because its shiny!") and then carefully arranged them into an arrow shape pointing at our door. After that, we track Santa on Norad and drink our foamy milk and eat our cookies. Finally we read "The Night before Christmas" and issue dire threats to all children about waking Mommy and Daddy before 7 am and put the kiddos to bed.
They actually went down without too much fuss--something that should have made me suspicious.
We let them sleep for about an hour or so before we get to work doing the last bit of wrapping and assembling. But the kids TRICKED us you see. They got up at 3 am--just when I was getting ready to put the toys out and drop off the stockings. So we wait.
And wait for the kiddos to go back to sleep.
Not happening I tell you.
I drop off the stockings in front of the doors and say, let's go to bed. But Zacky GRABS his stocking as soon as he sees the lights go off in the livingroom and proceeds to WAKE UP his brothers!
At 4:30 we decided to just do Christmas as the kids would wake us in approximately 2 and a half hours anyway. We haul a semi-comatose Matthew and a-not-ready-to-be-awake-what's-this-Christmas-stuff-all-about-anyway?-Eli out of bed, set them among the toys and call out the other two.
We ended the day with only one child awake (I have no idea how Zachary managed it) watching WALL-E.
Oh, and I might mention that the tooth fairy and Santa Claus battled it out on Christmas Eve. Zack lost a tooth that morning, and I was awakened by the screams of Ian as Zack tried to dislodge a tooth in Ian's mouth that he just knew was loose too so they could both get visits from the tooth fairy that night. Because certain little boys refused to go to sleep, the tooth fairy managed to sneak in while putting away brand new toys Christmas morning. Luckily, Zack was so excited about Santa, he forgot to look for the Tooth fairy's present!
And now, I leave you with another Christmas tradition. Each year, my mother sends ornaments for the family and each year I also get each member a new ornament. We have a Christmas Code around here. Zachary is Santa's, Ian is Snowmen, Matthew is Teddy Bears, and Eli is Gingerbread men. This holds true in wrapping paper as well as ornaments. The boys also have their specific animals. Zachary is my Monkey Boy, Ian my Tree Frog, matthew my Mouseling, and Eli is my Eli-phant. So if its not one, it's usually the other. So I leave you with our new ornaments for this year.