Every year I obsess over, er, spend quality time figuring out what our holiday card will be – especially since we’ve had beautiful children to make them awesome. In fact, I’ve got a lot of blog posts on the Holiday Card subject…
This year our November bled into December, and right away we a) put up our REAL Douglas Fir Christmas tree I begged my husband to go to 3 lots to find, and b) started our annual Super Santa journey. Every year I’m hopeful to capture a great Santa photo for our card, and most years I’ve ended up with a “B-roll” picture in front of the mall Christmas tree that I took myself that bested the Santa one. This year was no exception – EXCEPT that while my pictures were better, they were NOT as great as the ones Bart got at the Broad museum while I was traveling in November:
By now you’ve probably seen those for yourself and also some of my B-roll pictures:
The “official” Santa shot, the posed one, I did not love (though, Mom, I bet you do!):
Which is why I asked for the silly one featured up top, and this year they were smart enough to offer an “add a picture” feature instead of charging for two full packs of photos, so I own it. Two pictures I’ll never be able to recreate are one of Zoe’s first on Santa’s lap at 15 months old:
And the silly picture of both kids I wasn’t allowed to buy…
(this was the photo of the screen a poor photo elf allowed me to take, against regulations)
We had another Santa sighting in December at Universal CityWalk:
This clever setup encouraged a “free” picture with Santa but the only way to GET that picture was to buy a tacky light-up frame… which we did. I’m a sucker. After the photo we went to see ELF in the theater, our kids’ first time watching it (and my first time IN a theater). Among the many, many holiday movies we watch, ELF is a new/old favorite. We also have to watch:
- The Year Without a Santa Claus
- Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
- Frosty the Snowman (and Frosty Returns), though both are a little creepy
- The Polar Express
- The Grinch (animated and live action) – plus, the new one this year
This year we also added The Christmas Chronicles (a brand new Netflix original with Kurt Russell as Santa in a contemporary setting), which was quite good. The kids don’t really “get” A Christmas Story, but I refuse to give up on that one.
We also had a few firsts this year. Let’s start with the worst one first:
One of Zoe’s classmates (Leona – I shall never forget her name) told her that THERE IS NO SANTA – that your parents buy those gifts – AND that the Elf on the Shelf doesn’t move by itself – that your parents do that, too. What the Heck?! Isn’t it EARLY for that?! Of course, Zoe announced this in the room with Ella, so I had to think quickly. First, I said, “Well, what do YOU believe?” And thankfully, she said she believed in Santa and that she was sure the Elf moved itself.
Want to know a few reasons why she’s a believer?
- First of all, the wrapping paper Santa uses. “We don’t have that.” (yes, I am THAT brilliant – one of the few benefits of an over-active mind)
- Second, “someone set up a camera and captured the Elf on the Shelf moving“. It’s on YouTube. It must be true. And sure enough, we looked it up and WOW, it DOES move by itself!
- Third, “every year Santa’s elves put up streamers on the outside of my door so I don’t come out and see Santa“. Again, I am brilliant. I found this on Pinterest in 2014 and it stuck. This year she was super cute about reminding Ella and telling her not to be scared if she woke up and the door was wrapped. It looks better from inside the room, but you’ll get the gist:
The Elf on the Shelf MOSTLY remembered to move every day but didn’t pull off anything very daring this year, other than when Uncle Greg hung her from a light over the table. That was a big hit.
We again overshot for Christmas gifting… but I am proud to say that at my insistence, Zoe and Ella donated many many boxes of toys and clothes right after Thanksgiving. And when looking for something we could do as a family to give back for the Holidays, I found that you can make Holiday Cards for sick children in the Children’s Hospital of LA. What makes perfect sense (but I’d never thought of) is that you need to laminate them before sending. And so, we now own a cheap laminator and sent 20 cards that hopefully brightened the holidays for some kids who needed some Holiday Cheer. Need anything laminated?
I actually LOVE Christmas. Spending time with friends and family, GIVING gifts, watching our children’s faces as the open presents of their own, eating great food, finding fun ways to celebrate and make memories. What a magical time!
Anyway, I’m going to say that Christmas is officially “A Wrap”.
I have one more post filled with other December adventures to write to close down 2018. The countdown begins!