In the upstairs loft of a barn, on a cold December night, my girls climbed onto his lap. His beard was real, his coat scarlet, and a pair of round glasses perched perfectly on his nose. He felt more like an artist rendering in an old storybook than the plastic Coca-Cola Santa we are used to at American malls.
“What would you like for Christmas?” the kindly old man ask my oldest. “A headband!” she replied. I suppose it was the first thing that jumped into her head when confronted with the question, but she doesn’t even like headbands! Unlike many of the other kids in line with us to meet Santa, our kids don’t actually believe in him. They love the stories and legends of St. Nicholas and Santa Clause but they don’t think that on Christmas Eve he will fly around the world, stop at our house, and place gifts under our tree. I didn’t prep them with the question I knew he would ask, so it was interesting to see them engage it.
He turned toward Millie not knowing just how silly Hilde’s answer was (of all things, a headband?!) and asked her the same thing. “A present,” her little voice replied. “Oh! You like surprises?” the Santa Claus asked trying to dig a little deeper. To which Millie just said “I like to unwrap them!”
We smiled and they thanked the Santa Claus. More excited about the man who was so kind “just like papa” and the photo they knew I took (“Mom don’t forget to show me the photo on your camera!”) than the gifts he may or may not be bringing them.
We climbed down the stairs to the rest of our group and upon being asked, Hilde recounted their time with Santa and told them she asked for a hippo. So that is what she meant – not a headband but a hippo. I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas by Gayla Peevey has been one of her most requested songs of the season, she was just agreeing with Gayla! 😉
I write all this for the memory. The memory of my kids interacting with a Santa that feels like just another grandpa- interacting with them, looking into their eyes, asking questions, and being kind. And me watching my kids be kids. So much of the Christmas Season – and life in general – are those little moments. The ones we can easily miss because we are stressed out, tired of being in line, or running late for the next big thing.
And I share this post for the same reason – the memories. Not every Christmas moment fleshes out into a full blog but add them all together and they make up the inbetweens of the Christmas season. So please enjoy our Christmas in photo (and look back on 2019‘s while you are at it!)
Our Gingerbread House
Every year we make a gingerbread house with the Mayberry side. We have now have children old enough to want to participate in the decoration so we gave them both a side! Hilde went all out while Millie took a more simplistic route! Haha. We make these Thanksgiving weekend and leave them out all season long! Click here to see some of our houses from the past.
Every year the Broadmoor makes a giant gingerbread house & goes all out on Christmas decorations. This year they made a Broadmoor Cadillac from the turn of the century all out of gingerbread. It was super cold the day we went, but it was fun to walk around inside!
Holiday Evening at Rock Ledge Ranch
We went to Rock Ledge Ranch’s Holiday Night for the first time. There was ornament making at the blacksmith, crafts in the barn, live music all around, Santa in the loft, hot cocoa at the shop, and just old fashioned holiday fun! We loved it so much we are going to make it tradition – even though it’s pretty chilly on a December evening!
A Christmas Baby
It’s Thorin’s first Christmas and so I took some photos of him.
Christmas Cookie Exchange
We have an annual Christmas cookie exchange with the same ladies and it is so fun to get together each time and load up on cookies! We are all the daughters and granddaughters of these four friends who have been in Bible study together for 30+ years.
The Electric Safari
The zoo lights up with Christmas lights during the holiday season and we bundled up to go this year! I didn’t take many photos, but I do love these ones of me and Millie!
The girls and I did quite a few Christmas crafts this year! I purchased the Peaceful Press Holiday Bundle to do with the girls and we had so much fun! Not only was it nice to have some put together activities to do with the girls during the day, but we also made festive memories together! And the big plus was that it helped to build my confidence for homeschool as I was planning to (and have now) started preschool in January for them! The reindeer were so cute that I had to laminate them to keep them forever!
More cookies! You can see in this post, but we made cookies several times this holiday season and I loved it! Usually I am just a one and done, but the girls kept wanting to make some, and I kept being like “why not?!!?”
The Christmas Pageant
Hilde and Millie dressed up like wisemen (aka wise ladies) for the church pageant and it was adorable. I mean, look at all the photos I took! The way our church does it is that every kid can dress up and be in the no-rehearsal Christmas Pageant. They have a room full of costumes to borrow before the service or you can come in your own costume from home and you can be whatever you want from the story! They read a passage of the Christmas story, invite a group to come up (one that was introduced), and then we sing a song. We keep doing that until the story is done! It is so much fun.
A Mayberry Christmas
Our Christmas day with the Mayberry side – including our time singing carols around the piano!
A Ridings Christmas
Christmas with the Ridings side of the family! Stockings, gifts, food, and fun!