This year we went to the Breakfast with Santa event that our PTO organizes. It was a fun family breakfast followed by meeting Santa! I wish I had been able to get the family photo we took with him on here, it was so much fun! Then we headed over to the Holiday Shop at the school. The PTO brings in all sorts of dollar store items that the kids can purchase for family and friends. I had previously thought this was just another way to earn money, but they actually do it to give the kids a chance to think of others and shop for them. They also donate Santa bucks to kids who have very little so that they can still give their family members a small gift. We used this opportunity to let the kids pick a small gift to give to mom and dad. We really wanted them to be excited about the chance to give. Chad and I took turns helping the kids pick out and pay for their items. They loved having a secret, but it nearly killed them to keep it!
We enjoyed our Christmas candy making. The kids got to help with some easy candy projects, and the fruits of the not so easy ones!We also loved going to our annual Santa dinner that Chad's work puts on for the kids. It was a huge bummer that Chad had to be on call that night, but he managed to get a short break, and was able to scarf down a quick dinner with us before being paged.
For reasons beyond Chad's understanding, we also managed to squeeze in a gingerbread "craft." I purchased some clearance gingerbread kits the year earlier to take on. None of them turned out to be anything like the package, in fact the mostly flopped pretty hard. Luckily, the kids didn't care and just had fun sticking candy to the gingerbread. Pratt and May crashed before the fun had started and missed the event. I made sure they got to glue candy later.
My favorite new tradition of the year came on Christmas Eve. We had a fun family dinner, and our favorite bachelor friend Brother Ritz joined us as well. Once dinner was over, Saundra helped cast our first annual Christmas story reading. I know that a lot of families do this, but it was easy to see why it is such a widely held tradition. I loved the way that the kids were a part of the story, rather than just waiting it out as they listened on the couch. I think it made it more real and meaningful in their little minds and hearts.Our cast was as follows: Mary-Aimee (she would have had it no other way), Joseph- Porter, Shepard's- Pratt and Carter, Angels- May and Kamry.