We had a lovely, quiet Christmas together here as a family in Tennessee.
Our church congregation was very kind and extended us invitations to many activities,
so we were with friends for Christmas Eve dinner and on Christmas evening.
After coming home on Christmas Eve, we got the boys ready for bed and then by the light of the Christmas tree we snuggled together as a family and read the Christmas story in the Bible and the Book of Mormon with songs interspersed throughout. It was a perfectly peaceful end to the evening.
Then the boys went to bed and Santa went to work.
The next morning the boys awoke to new soccer goals and a large set of these amazing magnets to add to their collection (HIGHLY recommended, as our boys have loved playing with these for years!).
Their stockings were filled with a few very simple gifts including new hot chocolate mugs.
"JARS!!! We got JARS!!!" Lincoln exclaimed with tremendous excitement when he pulled his out.
And their new socks in the stockings were honestly a highlight of the day!
Sometimes the simple things are the best.
After soaking in Santa's magic for a while, we enjoyed our traditional sticky buns and orange juice for breakfast before diving into present opening, much of the time on video calls with loving, generous family members who gave the boys such nice gifts.
We decided last year to start having the boys rotate giving to each other rather than having them each give to every sibling, and I think it was my favorite part of Christmas this year.
They were SO EXCITED to give each other their presents--and it so happened that each boy (at least the older 3) was getting the one thing he really wanted for Christmas from their brother. So it was incredibly fun to see their anticipation and excitement about giving this year.
Wesley's reaction was too perfect! (See the amazing sequence below!)
Other highlights of the season:
-Cedar Hills Christmas tree farm
-Driving through the lights at Christmas City near Munford, TN
-Being 12 Days of Christmas elves while simultaneously being on the receiving end
-Christmas Storybook advent countdown
-School music programs and class parties/gift exchanges
-Delivering treats and meeting new neighbors
-Making homemade chocolates with friends
-Ward Christmas party
-Spontaneous Christmas party at the neighbors' house
-These adorable vintage cartoons (we especially loved "Christmas Comes But Once a Year")
-Cousins gift exchange and Pie Face on FaceTime
-Christmas sing-a-long with family
-lots of cuddling and storybook reading under the quilt my grandma made me beneath the magical glow of the Christmas tree... (she has since passed away; this was one of our favorite parts of the season)