OK, so it was yesterday and I'm a day late, but it's still a date worth celebrating.
We have our own little Nicholas of course, who gets a thrill from a big day all his own. But oops, what a bad mom, I completely forgot to read the Saint Nicholas story! Does it help that they watch the short Saint Nicholas video all year round that the Bolognesi family gave us? I think that next year we'll do the story as a precursor to opening stocking gifts. Set the stage and bring the kids around to why we do what we do.
Elise had asked if we put gifts in the kids shoes. Well, if we had clogs I would, but can you imagine eating anything that had been sitting in your tennis shoes all night. No thanks! I think it would be hilarious if we did it in their sandals though, what an odd mix. Of course, it dips down to the mid-70s here now. At night.
So once the kids finally noticed their bulging stockings and everyone was awake, they enjoyed their gifts. Katherine had a Harry Potter snitch reading light and a small alarm clock, Rebecca had a watch and a Princess bead set, Jonathon had a quiet time book (one of those with snaps, buttons, matching, etc.) and a set of Color Wonder markers and paper, Nicholas had a new book and a watch. They also each had a little bag of chocolate coins and a coloring book.
At the same time, I opened a box I'd received from a cultura gift exchange, a lady in Switzerland, which was packed with neat foods to try and little gifts. In fact, the stollen, gingerbread, stocking full of treats and other sweets were our breakfast. It all fit in perfectly with our St Nicholas celebration.
Once breakfast was done, the tree was pulled out and all the decorations and we spent time putting it all together with white and blue lights. The kids enjoyed putting up their ornament collections (each child gets at least one new ornament per year, usually something that reflects the past year, this time it was shell ornaments). Unfortunately I realized too late that the white lights blinked and not a lazy gentle blink but a frenetic cacphony of light. I detested it, but everyone seemed to think it was OK. Later on, it turned out that 2 of the strings already died, so this morning I took every ornament off along with the lights and strung up 2 blue strings. It doesn't blink, it's calming and I think at night it will look lovely.
Now to switch topics, in the late afternoon Rebecca went to a birthday party. It was scheduled from 4 to 6 at a pool. Ian dropped her off and when he picked her up, it seemed that the party was a huge failure. Once again it was excessive. Decorated to the gills, too many people and Ian had been expected to stay. We didn't know. She didn't have anyone to sit with and was left with a couple of spare yayas. She'd worn her swimsuit expecting a party at the pool to be a pool party. No, it was a poolside party. There was food to feed an army and "professional entertainment". She had been told that swimming would be "later" but we figure that was said just to get her to stop asking. When Ian arrived to pick her up she was upset, and I don't blame her. She got enough party gifts to not need anything for Christmas.
Obviously we knew that parties here are not like parties at home but Ian had I agree that enough is enough. It's all just too much.