Christmas is always a big deal at Bliss Barracks. I would definitely say we have a very traditional celebration. Part of the big festivities are due to the fact the littles are totally excited about Santa. The other part is due to the fact my mom LOVES Christmas. She could probably start decorating in October she loves it that much.
She pours over books and magazines throughout the Fall season gathering holiday home ideas. She carefully plans out the details of our Christmas Eve dinner menu. She hangs a note on the doors of the master suite the week of Thanksgiving that says, “Santa’s Workshop – Do Not Enter,” which sends those little kids over the edge with squeals of delight.
We have the tallest tree set up in the living room. She’s collected these ornaments in greens, golds and burgundy for as long as I can remember. It really fits her love of both Traditional and European styles.
As you can imagine, this space is filled when we’re all together. It’s taken a few years to get a system that works for everyone as the family has grown over the years but we finally feel like we have an arrangement that works for all of us.
Shortly after we have a traditional Christmas Eve meal, the littles pile pillows up on the floor of the living room while my mom reads them the book, The Polar Express. Meanwhile all of us girls and the brothers in law are cleaning up the kitchen and setting up the cocoa and coffee bar in preparation for dessert.
Once the book is finished and the kids have their baths, the entire family goes on a “jingle bell bike parade.” My parents live in a neighborhood where most everyone hangs up Christmas lights or decorates a festive lawn. It’s always fun to see how creative people get with their holiday decorations.
After the bike parade, we come back to dessert and hot drinks and hang out in the living room by the fireplace. We tell funny stories, play super easy games (Christmas Bingo, anyone?) and exchange sisters gifts.
We also open one gift from my parents which is usually a pair of Christmas pajamas. Do you guys dod that too? Looking back, I wish we had made ourselves take a picture of us in our Christmas pajamas every year. It would have been so much fun to see their “vintage vibe” now.
Once the gifts have been opened, we make a plate of cookies and milk for Santa and tuck the littles in bed. Of course, they NEVER go to sleep when we tell them too. So, someone has to be the “look out” and stay upstairs to make sure they don’t get keep getting out of bed. We send the one who has the most patience up there ha ha.
While the kids are “sleeping” (I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt) the rest of us are moving couches and chairs to transform the living room into a Christmas wonderland. We fill up on more coffee and stifle the giggles as we lay out presents at each station.
I know it may seem like the smallest thing but it’s one of my favorite parts of being together because we’re all “Team Santa.”
See you guys back here tomorrow. Gathering 12 people around the table is quite the undertaking but my mom always manages to pull it off. I’ll share the dining room at Bliss Barracks with you tomorrow.