If people wouldn't look at me funny...I swear I would leave my Christmas decorations up all year. I just LOVE how warm my house feels when it is decorated for the holidays. My fireplace mantel is my absolute favorite :-)
But the big Christmas tree in our dining room comes in second. We didn't put the big tree up last year because we wanted as little as possible to take down after Blake arrived. But this year...I told Eric I wanted to do Christmas in a BIG way. So...the big tree went up :-)
Because I am a sucker for Christmas trees, I always have to have a second tree in our family room. This is the tree that Santa will visit on Christmas eve :-)
And of course, our very first Christmas tradition as a family...the advent calendar my mom made a few years ago. This year it is filled with candy because Addie and Blake are already opening a new book each night :-)
So as it turns out, we started TWO new traditions this year. The "25 Days of Christmas Reading" book tradition, which we actually tied with our second new tradition..."Elf on the Shelf"...
It seems every parent I know has learned about and adopted Elf on the Shelf this year, but in case you have no idea what I am talking about, Elf on the Shelf is a book about a little Elf that works for Santa. He arrives at your house on Thanksgiving and stays with you until Christmas Eve. Every night, Elf flies back to the North Pole to tell Santa if you have been naughty or nice. And then the next morning, your Elf lands in a different place in your house and it's your child's job to find him. It's a super cute story and when my SIL told me that they had Santa deliver their Elf on a Shelf to their front door the day after Thanksgiving, I thought it was a great idea. So I called Santa and requested the same. Here is Addie coming to the front door to find the package he left...
We didn't even get 2 feet inside the door before she started tearing into it...
When she opened it, she yelled really loud, "OHHHH MY GOSSSSSHHHH!"
Santa brought us the gift set which actually came with a little Elf. You can order the book separately if you want to use your own Elf or purchase some of the bigger ones they have. But we thought this little guy was perfect...
Addie and Blake agreed :-) Now, as the story goes, your children get to give the elf a special name. My creative daughter gave our elf the very original name of "Elf" this year :-)
Normally, Eric leaves me in charge of these kid games and traditions. His reasoning is that he will forget to do something and/or do it wrong so he just leaves it to me. But for some reason, he has really gotten into this Elf tradition and I find him getting excited about where he is going to hide Elf the next morning!
Yesterday we found Elf hanging out with Mr. Squirrel. My husband has a thing for squirrels so this came as no surprise to me :-)
As I said earlier, we decided to combine our book and Elf traditions so that every night, if Addie and Blake are good little kiddies, Elf will leave them a new book under the tree for them to read that night. This has worked out very well and we have only had one night where we didn't get a book :-) Let's hope it continues.
I am just so happy that the Christmas season is in full swing! And if the snow storm that is coming tonight and tomorrow leaves a nice blanket of snow...we will be all set!