Jonah and Grandpa
We always spend Christmas Eve with my side of the family. To me, Christmas Eve is as much Christmas as Christmas Day is. Growing up we always had a big spaghetti dinner at our house (or out in Seattle if we were visiting my dad's side of the family for Christmas) on December 24th. My dad grew up doing this, and my mom continued it after they were married even if they didn't have any of his side of the family over. If we ever move away or take over being in charge of Christmas Eve, I will definitely continue serving spaghetti- easy and delicious! And traditions, I am all about traditions.
somebody ate some yummy veggies for his Christmas Eve dinner
We also always opened presents from our west coast relatives, which we continue to do, and now also open presents from my parents and my siblings since we won't see them on Christmas Day. Almost every Christmas Eve that I can remember, my mom's best friend and her family have come to dinner as well. Last year my mom and her best friend decided that since all of their kids are grown, we would do a white elephant gift exchange amongst ourselves. This year the exchange involved my parents, my three siblings, my brother-in-law, my other sister's boyfriend, my parent's exchange student, my mom's best friend and her husband, their two sons, and daughter-in-law. Luke and I ended up with a game and large drink dispenser for parties.
Noelle doing what she does best
Since Noelle and Jonah are the only two kids, they always get super spoiled. Everyone, including the relatives on the west coast, gave them presents. Noelle was awake for gift opening (though she did ask to go home at one point because she was so tired), but Jonah was asleep for the whole thing so we just ended up taking his presents home. We left my parent's house a little after 10 (so late even for me!) and I was worried that Jonah would be a mess for the car ride home since we would have to wake him up. But thankfully he did really well, and after I nursed him at our house he went right back to sleep.
while Jonah was napping
Noelle ended up with a number of things from Frozen, which somehow has become her favorite movie. She absolutely loves the "princess dress" that her Aunt Ruth gave to her at Thanksgiving, and pretty much wears it night and day. My mom got her an Anna doll, which Noelle slept with on Christmas Eve, the kids I watch in the mornings got her a Frozen crown and jewelry set, and my mom's best friend got Noelle a Frozen coloring/sticker book. Quite a few of those things have already ended up coming with us to various places.
waking up on Christmas morning with her Anna doll.
and she also slept in her Christmas Eve dress since she fell asleep in the car
Some of my favorite gifts related to the littles were my matching Toms for me and Noelle from my sister Becky. I know my days of matching my daughter are numbered! My other favorite was some pictures from my sister Heather. When my parents were watching the kids a few weekends ago, my sister went over to their house and dressed the littles up in coordinating outfits that she had purchased, and took pictures of them in front of my parent's Christmas tree. So stinkin' adorable! I can tell Jonah cooperated better for the pictures than Noelle did, but in the one picture my sister framed, Noelle is smiling and Jonah has a the face of someone who is about to break out in tears. But he's wearing a bow tie- can't get much cuter than that!
I love living near my family and being able to see my siblings and parents, and I love that Noelle and Jonah get to grow up with family around. I can already picture future Christmases when they will be older and will hopefully have cousins to play with!