In the afternoon, I gave the girls their bath and put their hair in curlers. They sat somewhat quietly and watched Christmas movies in their robes most of the afternoon. Then we did our yearly tradition of making monkey bread together. For supper each Christmas Eve, we have a picnic of cheese omelets, bacon, and monkey bread, which we eat on a blanket on the living room floor.
After that, they put on their velvet Christmas dresses, and I brushed out their hair. I took pictures but...you know my camera only works in natural light pretty much so I had to scrap all of those. We went to the Christmas Eve service at church, which was lovely. One of my favorite services--just singing carols and reading the Christmas story together. When we got home, we hustled them off to bed, then had our yearly tradition of watching all the choir Christmas concerts on PBS while wrapping presents. Remember last year when the girls came downstairs and opened all the presents a day early? Yeah, I wasn't going to make that same mistake again--I didn't even put the presents under the tree until they were in bed, and they had strict instructions that they were not to go downstairs without Dad and me in the morning.
When we all woke up on Christmas morning, we started a new tradition of singing "Good Christian Men, Rejoice!" together around the Christmas tree before opening the presents. Then they tore into their stockings. Each girl got a tiny Madame Alexander doll--Elaine got Dorothy, and Lucy got Glinda. They got furry-lined slipper crocs (w/ Tinkerbell on them), a china mug--Lucy got Jemima Puddleduck; Elaine got Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, a Country Mouse/City Mouse DVD each, some chocolate that they both ate immediately of course, and the hit of the morning, a Barbie phone--Elaine's is purple; Lucy's is blue. My friend Julie and I stood in TJ Maxx for ages with those phones, listening to every possible message available to make sure there was nothing trashy or IQ-lowering on them.
Then they moved on to the presents underneath the tree--an outfit apiece, the audio CD and DVD of Noel Streatfeild's "Ballet Shoes" for Lucy, the Frances audio collection and a Curious George book & CD for Elaine, the Peter Rabbit toy and book I braved the mall for for Elaine, the most beautiful bookends I've seen for Lucy--one of Lucy climbing into the wardrobe and the other of Mr. Tumnus standing at the lamppost--(this is one of those gifts she enjoyed opening but probably won't really appreciate until high school or college; don't worry, they're up on a high shelf at this point in time), and then their main gift: a big doll for each. We pretended that they had opened everything before we gave them the boxes with the dolls.
Note that we got one for Lucy with loads of dark curls. We've really been working with her on not touching other people's hair, and that is a struggle for her. We thought she needed someone whose hair she can maul continually without protest. And pretty much the first thing she did was undo the hairstyle the doll came with. She named her Lucille. Here she is, assessing her hair.
A new outfit and a new doll to love...
After clearing up and getting ready, we headed over to my parents' house for Christmas dinner and to open more presents. The big hit of the day for the girls there was an antique doll crib from my parents, which fits both dolls. My mom had made bedding for it as well. The big hit of the day for us was getting tickets for our family to see "Mary Poppins" on stage this Spring from my brother and sister-in-law.
We left Mom and Dad's around 3 p.m. and headed down to Darren's parents. Normally we don't cram it all in one day, but Darren's sister is a nurse who works weekends so that is just the way it worked out this year. As soon as we got there, we had another Christmas dinner. By this time as well, Elaine kept asking, "Do we get to open more presents?" Why, yes! Yes, we do. Among other things, the girls each got a Barbie doll--Lucy got the baby doctor, and Elaine got the swim instructor (I let them have Barbies only if they are wearing respectable clothes and are contributing meaningfully to society.) Then Darren's sister and niece gave them each a mini-American Girl doll: Lucy got Julie--the 70s doll with the waist-length hair! She was in heaven. I am simply depressed that someone from the 70s is now considered historical. Elaine got Kit Kittredge.
After three Christmases in one day, two big meals, countless Christmas cookies, and piles of presents, there was no way the girls were going to sleep. We put them in the bed they share at my in-laws, and they giggled and giggled and giggled and squealed and giggled some more. Each adult in the house took a turn going up to wish them goodnight aka tell them to get to sleep. Finally, Elaine was so tired she was bawling, but in between sobs Lucy would make her laugh. My mother-in-law said, "It's 'Guilford Road: IloveyouI'mcrying'!" Exactly.
Finally they fell asleep around 10:30 p.m. but were up bright and early with their toys at 6:30 a.m. A little later, Lucy rushed into our room where I was half asleep and said, "Mom! I lost my other tooth!" She had had a bottom tooth that she could rotate in a complete circle, and she now held it out in her palm triumphantly. "That's great! How did you lose it?" I asked.
"I was pretending to be a dog, and I bited Elaine's toe!" Wha-HUH? "By accident" she added hastily.
We headed home that afternoon, all of us completely exhausted, through a dense, thick fog. By the time we got back to our house--it seemed as if years had passed since we'd been there instead of just a day--the girls were crying with tiredness, and I think the parents were pretty close to it too.
Darren put them to bed, and I pulled down all the Christmas decorations and we sent the tree to the curb the next morning.
Oh, wait. One of the things that passed me by this year was sending out Christmas cards. This may be only the second year since we've been married that I haven't sent cards. So from our family to you: a belated Merry Christmas and a joyous New Year to all!