After the service in Bazine, we drove back home to have our traditional "FIND THE PICKLE!!" contest. We have a pickle Christmas tree ornament. We hang it on the tree like any other ornament. Then, when we are ready to open gifts, I hide the pickle. The kids come in and whoever finds the pickle gets to play Santa. (Legend says that whoever finds the pickle gets the first gift, but in our home they get to be Santa and hand out the gifts to the rest of the family, which means they are LAST to get to open a gift, but they LOVE being the one who gets to hand them out, so it's a great hunt!!)
Andrew found the pickle this year, so he got to play Santa..Oh what fun!!
We open one gift at a time so that everyone gets to see what everyone else receives. Makes it last a lot longer, and we get to enjoy each other, not just the stuff! With Warren serving in Bazine, his income has increased a bit, which translated into a few more gifts this year, the kids were excited! Our family knows that the real meaning of Christmas isn't the gifts, but it was fun to be able to go out and get the extra gifts that I normally would not have purchased!
Each of the kids made something at school called Reindeer Feed. It consisted of oatmeal, shredded wheat, and glitter! We spread it in the yard to encourage Rudolph and his buddies to come to our house!!!
After that, we got dressed up again and went to the 11:00 service at our church. All three of my kids were fast asleep about 10 minutes...ok, 5 minutes into the service. I carried each of them out to the car. Abbie woke up when we drove into our garage and said "Hey, why didn't I get to do a candle??" (We always do candles during Silent Night at Midnight! What a beautiful tradition!) I even went up to communion ALONE!! The kids ALWAYS go with me to receive a blessing, but they were all fast asleep and so I went alone, felt so weird!
Christmas morning we realized that the reindeer feed must have worked because their stockings were filled so full that some of the gifts could not fit! Each of the kids received a camera so they can take pictures of their own! I heard that Santa didn't enjoy trying to get all the little gifts into those awful stockings. The inside of the stockings are just a maze of strings and yarn. Getting the gifts out was hard enough, I can only imagine Santa's frustration in getting the stuff in there!!! So, I hit the after Christmas sales and found some new stocking that we will use next year, sparkly ones for the girls and a cute one for the boy...I'm sure Santa will appreciate the change! :o)