We had such a sweet, meaningful Christmas. As per tradition for our family, we spent Christmas Eve afternoon with some friends who always have a Christmas Eve Open House. I told them that I don't know what we'll do if they ever stop, as they have become tradition for us! Then we came home and began preparing our hearts and our meal. We always spend the eve of Christmas reflecting on the "true meaning of Christmas", the coming of Christ as a perfect little baby, fully God and fully man. Over the years, I've found it so hard to reflect and concentrate on this on Christmas day, with the Santa stuff, opening of presents, cookies, etc. Yet I don't want to quit with those more material traditions, as they're so much fun. So we developed the idea of having a very meaningful evening the night before, leaving out all the commercialism. We have a meal of Alaska King Crab. (yummy! It's the only time of the year we eat crab, and boy do we indulge!!) We light candles, get dressed up and enjoy our time together as a family. We talk about Christ, both when he was on earth, and now, personally, in our lives. After dinner we pull out all the yummy Christmas cookies and sit down around the Christmas tree (this year we even had a fire in the fireplace!) and Jeremy reads the Christmas story.
At the end of the evening the kids get to open one present (it's always jammies, so that Christmas morning pictures are of them in new festive duds!). Then they set out a plate of cookies for Santa, including a carrot for Rudolph, and they write their letters. Right before bed they take their stockings and set them at the ends of their beds.
This year Anna wanted to write her own letter and not be lumped in with the boys. Notice the "E" in "Dear"? I love how all my kids have added tons of horizontal lines coming out from the vertical line in the capitol "E". I think they've each done this when they've first learned to write.