Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Our Christmas Eve Traditions

After spending two hours of my Christmas Eve off at work to deal with a customer who made a false claim about product damage, I finally made it home to spend some time with the family. Our Christmas traditions got under way after a late lunch from Panera Bread.

We loaded up the kids and headed to church for a Christmas Eve service. The service was a somewhat traditional Christmas service with contemporary music performed by the Aaron Pelsue Band (including Aaron's brother, Dave). I enjoyed the service quite a bit, and my son was (for the first time in church) very well behaved. He was actually singing along with the music.

After church, we drove through several neighborhoods on the way home to look at Christmas lights. Maybe it's because Indianapolis is so much larger than Terre Haute, but it just doesn't seem that there are as many light displays in Indy as there were in Terre Haute last year (and years prior).

After topping off the car with gas for the trip to Terre Haute tomorrow, it was time to head home. We still had several things to do before Santa arrives, starting with a birthday party for Jesus, complete with cake and singing Happy Birthday to Jesus, as well as reading my Christmas story to the kids. My son especially enjoyed the opening references to all of his favorite Christmas television specials.

After the birthday party, we carried on a tradition that was started by my father when I was a boy: each child is allowed to open one Christmas gift on Christmas Eve. When I was a boy, my father would give us clues to the contents of one of our gifts, and we would have to guess what the item was in order to open it. Of course, there were never any losers, because the clues would keep coming until we couldn't possibly guess wrong. My kids aren't old enough yet for the guessing game, so my wife chose two gifts for each of them from under the tree and let them each pick one.

My daughter opened an Only Hearts Club Doll. These dolls are much better than Barbie or Bratz, in my opinion, as they do not depict women in a manner that is entirely too "adult" for little girls. My son opened a DVD of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, featuring the inimitable Johnny Depp. My son was thrilled, and spent the next thirty minutes learning the Oompa-Loompa dance. It was quite entertaining for me, watching my wife and children perform the Oompa-Loompa dances (sorry, no actual video of the wife dancing) for me.

We even let our dog Maddy open a gift -- a squeaky toy that my son picked out for her.

My children both had letters for Santa and cookies they made earlier today that they left by the fireplace for Santa, after dropping the cookies on the floor several times. My son chose this year to leave Santa candy buckeyes, chocolate chip cookies, and apple juice. Yes, apple juice instead of milk! I guess Santa won't be able to dip his cookies when he stops by our place tonight.

After a quick check of Norad Tracks Santa, my son decided it was time to get to bed so he could be asleep before Santa arrives.

The kids are now safely tucked into bed, and my son is already fast asleep. My daughter will hopefully be sleeping soon, as well, because it appears that Santa is in Uruguay right now and rapidly closing on Indianapolis.

Norad Santa

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