I have always loved Christmas Eve. When I was a kid, that was the night we would go to my cousin's house (we called her "Aunt Sue" because she was quite a bit older, but she was really my cousin). My memories of her house on Christmas Eve are primarily of candlelight and soft Christmas music playing. She had two kids, but her house always seemed in perfect order. The food was not at all fussy; mostly just hors d'oeuvres. She had a few things to do in the basement (shuffleboard, an arcade game and a pool table) so we were never bored. I also loved driving home and seeing the lights, with the anticipation of Christmas morning still in front of me.
Chris and I were just comparing our childhood memories of Christmas Eve and his were very different. He and his family went to his Aunt's house, where there was NOTHING to play with and he and his sister were bored to tears. He dreaded it every year and got out of going as soon as he became old enough to beg out and stay home alone. Funny thing is, his aunt's house and my cousin's house were/are separated by about 2 blocks. Isn't that so strange??? So even though Chris and I didn't meet until high school, we were within a couple hundred feet of each other every Christmas Eve for our entire lives. Even after 12 years of marriage, there are still new things I find out about him all the time.
This Christmas Eve, I believe the kids and I discovered what will be a new tradition for us:
After dinner, I told them to clean their room and they would get to open one present. They were able to correctly guess it would be new pajamas, since we did the same thing last year. I love the idea of new pajamas - sure wish I'd gotten some myself! The boys also got new slippers, since they have been wearing holes in all their socks running around the concrete floor in the basement.
They were quite excited to open the PJ's and then they all showered/bathed and got into them. I had them zip on sweatshirts and we loaded up the car to take a tour of the lights. The Grand Geneva does "Christmas in the Country" lights that are really something to see. My plan was for the two little boys to fall asleep, but that didn't end up happening, so when we got to Grand Geneva we ended up going in. Yes, in their PJ's. (I was dressed, of course.)
The resort was teeming with people who were enjoying all the many decorations they put up. Each year is a different theme. I'm sorry I didn't get any pictures of the displays but the lighting was bad and I only had my phone. I did snap this one of the boys, though:
The Grand Geneva also has a gingerbread house competition. Each entry is numbered and you get to vote for your favorite. We all loved looking at the 50+ creations, most of them VERY creative. Here are a few of our favorites...
After we were done walking around, we stopped at the little café and each of the boys wanted a scoop of gelato. I grabbed myself a hot chocolate and reveled in getting to spend a snowy Christmas Eve at such a beautiful place with my four beautiful sons. We had such a wonderful time!
Chris didn't get home from work until 11:30pm but we will be happy to have him accompany us next year. We all decided it would be a wonderful tradition to start and are already looking forward to doing it again in 2014.