The stockings are hung and the kids are in bed, excitedly waiting for Santa to come tonight! Joey and Michael even cleaned their room enthusiastically, when DH reminded them that Santa might check their rooms before leaving them gifts.
Oh, I know that at YOUR house, Christmas has come and gone, the presents opened, some no doubt broken already, the overflowing trash can taken to the curb (packaging drives me nuts!), and the battered tree holding on for just a few more days until you get the energy together to put it all away. But not here. We decided to celebrate Christmas Eve today and Christmas Day tomorrow. We emailed Santa and he was glad to have fewer houses to visit on December 25th, so here we are, waiting for Santa and the Christmas excitement to begin.
So why on earth would anyone delay Christmas? So they could hang out in sunny Arizona (ok, so half the time it was rainy Arizona, but still) and forget about the 11 inches of snow piling up back home:
DH's sister is in Sierra Vista for the next few months while her husband is in training at the Army base there. My in-laws decided to go there for Christmas, so we figured we'd take the chance to enjoy a warmer climate. We had an awesome time. Our kids earned junior ranger badges at four national parks or monuments:
The Petrified Forest,
Saguaro National Park,
and Montezuma's Castle.
We enjoyed the Painted Desert:
a mine tour in Bisbee,
and a hundred other things, including church and dinner with old friends, and Christmas Day with family. We stayed at a hotel while my oldest three spent two nights with my sister-in-law, Diane. They were there Christmas morning when her family of three (ages 4, 2, and 2 -- yep, she has twins too!) opened their presents. Diane said she felt like the bourgeois aunt who had invited the poor orphans over to watch her kids open presents. She may have felt that way, but my kids were still so excited and happy to open three presents -- one from us, one from her, and one from their grandparents. When we came over around 10 in the morning, all three came over so excited to show me their gifts! I was humbled to realize how simple Christmas can be and yet bring such joy. Lillian told me her favorite part of the day was watching her cousins get so excited over their presents.
So, in a way, my kids get to celebrate Christmas twice this year. We've never really traveled over Christmas before, and I don't know if we'll do it this way again, but it sure was fun!
And after all, what could say Christmas Eve more than watching a gunfight at the OK corral and eating lunch at a saloon in Tombstone?
Merry Christmas to you and your family!