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10 Differences In Christmas With Older Kids

Every year Christmas is different. As the kids get older Christmas changes. It’s not a bad change, it’s just different. I dare say, it’s more fun. I realized recently just how much stress I put on myself trying to make the perfect Christmas for the kids. Now that they’re older the frantic need to make Christmas magical has kind of…dissipated. The result is a much more relaxed and easy-going Christmas for everyone. I figure I only have a few more years of Santa in my house. Mason is almost 9 and he’s already questioning. Zoey is 6 and one of her little friends has already tried to spill the beans to her. Christmas will be weird with no Santa and no Jingles the Elf. I’ll enjoy these last few years while I can, even if they are already totally different than just a few short years ago. 

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10 Ways Christmas is Different with Older Kids

1. I actually look forward to the long Christmas break from school. I never thought a day would come when I was actually counting down the days until the kids were out of school on break. I used to dread it when I knew all the kids would be home all day every day for over a week. Now it’s like heaven. No alarm clocks, no schedules, no homework. 

2. The kids sleep in late. We actually had to wake them up on Christmas morning. Matt and I sat around watching A Christmas Story and sipping coffee until around 9:30 when we finally decided to start waking up kids. 

3. I wrapped all the gifts and had them under the tree the week before Christmas. This is the first year for that. I trust that the kids will keep their hands off the gifts and it was fine. I’m sure they pawed through them and shook them but none were opened and nothing disappeared. 

4. It didn’t take me until the wee hours of the night on Christmas Eve to put Christmas morning together. Everything was wrapped and under the tree. All I had to do was fill the stockings. The kids are past the big toy stage that requires me to spend hours putting stuff together. I can’t say that I miss that stage. Especially since Matt either fell asleep on the couch and was no help or wouldn’t stop playing with the toys and was no help.

5. We watched the unedited version of my favorite Christmas movie- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. The kids didn’t even notice. Ha! The edited version just doesn’t do it for me. Some of my favorite lines are cut out of the edited version.

6. 99.9% of my Christmas shopping was done online. None of my kids cared about or asked for a “hot toy” so I didn’t have to run to every store in a 100 mile radius searching. I shopped from my couch on my iPad in my pajamas. As God intended. 

7. There are no more matching Christmas morning pajamas. In fact, this year I had to tell Tyler to go put on pants. Yeah. Nobody needs to see that.

8. The egg nog is full of alcohol because the kids know not to drink it. I might have told them it would give them salmonella to reinforce the no drinking it rule but whatevs. 

9. I’m not forced to participate in arts and crafts anymore. No more hand print reindeer, no more tissue paper stained glass popsicle art projects. The little kids do some holiday art projects in school and the big kids don’t care. So I’m finally off the hook.

10. I didn’t take one posed picture. I got tons of candid shots but I didn’t make them all pose for one very unnatural and fake looking picture. I captured their true personalities in the moment and it’s perfection. 


Merry Christmas 2016

We had such a fantastic Christmas at our house this year. It was laid back and easy and we thoroughly enjoyed every single minute. We didn’t host anyone so it was truly a no pressure holiday. Christmas Eve had us scrambling to get to church on time, as usual, and the only picture I managed to get was Maia and Abby because the girls were the only ones ready on time.


The kids wandered off to bed after we baked tons of cookies, ate delicious Stuffed Shells, and watched the football game. Basically it was my idea of a perfect night! Pasta, cookies, and football. What could be better? We did manage to catch Santa in the act as Matt and I headed up to bed around 1am. Shhhh…


Matt and I had to wake up kids at 9:30 because we were tired of waiting. Then it took 10 minutes or so to get Tyler out of bed. He’s been battling bronchitis so he’s sleeping a lot in between basketball practices. 



The little kids shocked me by opening their stockings first. Further proof that they are getting older. A few years ago I started filling their stockings with only candy. I hit the dollar store and load up on festive candy. The kids are happy and I’m happier not having little junk toys all over the place. The only person even happier is their dentist. Sigh.


They didn’t even dive into the pile of presents either. They handed them out nicely and opened one at a time instead of trying to rip them all open at once. I have big kids now. Sniff…





It looks like a ton of gifts under the tree but they got a lot of needs as well as some wants. Mason and Maia needed pajamas, all the kids got slippers, Maia needed a book bag, the three little kids got fleece sheets, Tyler got a North Face jacket, gloves, and hat. I try to combine wants and needs now that they’re older.















The three younger kids got fleece onesies. They look ridiculous but they love them. I couldn’t get these kids to wear fleece onesies when they were toddler but they’ll happily wear them now. I’m so confused. I cannot see these pictures without envisioning Ralphie in his pink bunny onesie in A Christmas Story. Ha!





Matt got a North Face jacket, 2 Joel Osteen books on CD, and a Virtual Reality headset. All of them have had the best time with that VR headset. I tried the roller coaster and it made me sick. But they love it!


Even the pups got in on the action. They got new chew toys but they had the most fun with the wrapping paper and bows. 



We capped off the morning with some delicious biscuits and gravy while we watched A Christmas Story! I made the most amazing Cinnamon Roll Bake for dinner because I’m a rebel. No big elaborate dinners for us. We ate Cinnamon Roll Bake, drank coffee and hot cocoa, and watched football! Perfection. I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas with your families!


Some Of My Favorite Christmas Traditions

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It seems like every year that goes by means another Christmas tradition that the kids no longer want to do. It’s so sad but that’s what happens when you have big kids. The days of Santa pictures, matching Christmas pajamas, and spending hours driving through the Christmas town looking at lights are long gone. But we’ve created some new traditions in the last few years that we all enjoy.

1. Snowman Breakfast: We do our annual Snowman breakfast the morning of Christmas Eve. We make Snowman shaped pancakes, snowmen out of powdered donuts and straws, and white hot chocolate. The kids love it and so do I!

2. Christmas lights: Just because the kids don’t want to drive all the way to the local Christmas town to look at the lights doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some. We all wear our pajamas, grab coffee or hot cocoa from the Starbucks drive thru, listen to Christmas tunes, and drive through some of the rich neighborhoods to see the lights and decorations. It takes us less than an hour which is not long enough for the kids to start complaining but long enough to make me happy.

3. Movie marathons. One of our best traditions is our movie marathon. On the 26th, 27th, 28th, and 29th we rent 4 or 5 movies each day from Redbox. We make flavored popcorn, hot cocoa, light a fire, curl up with blankets, and watch all the movie that we didn’t have time to watch during the school year. The kids come and go depending on what movie is playing and their friends are always welcome. It’s just a great way to de-stress and relax after a long, busy Fall season. This year Tyler has basketball practice and then a 2 day tournament so we’ll be in and out but the tradition will go on.

4. Christmas goodies. We love to make Christmas goodies to enjoy and share with our friends. Maia especially enjoys it. This year we’re making Christmas crack, chocolate chip cookies, candy cane truffles, Grinch popcorn, and candied pecans. I can’t wait!

5. Christmas shows. This year we’re doing the Singing Christmas Tree, a holiday play at Tyler’s school, and the Nutcracker at the Children’s Ballet. I think this is probably the last year that I can get Tyler to come with us so I’m going to enjoy it. 

I must say, having big kids is not bad at all!


How Christmas Wish Lists Have Changed

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I remember the good old days when my kids asked for things like My Little Pony, Hot Wheels, Disney Princesses…oh, wait. That was last year. What a difference a year makes. The kids Christmas wish lists this year are so grown up. It made me sad. But it’s also a lot easier than trying to run around and find the hot toy for the year. 

Tyler: He asked for Madden 17 for the Xbox One and a North Face fleece jacket. That was it. So I was on my own trying to figure out the rest. I added North Face gloves and a beanie cap. Then I found him 3 short sleeve Nike Dri-fit shirts on sale at Nordstrom along with a long sleeve Nike dri-fit hoodie. Finally I added his favorite cologne, a Billy Jealousy Beard Envy kit, a pair of wireless sport earbuds, a watch, and a bluetooth speaker. 

Maia: She only asked for a unicorn onesie and black converse sneakers. I added a set of fleece sheets, a hair straightener brush, a Philosophy gift set, an adidas bookbag, a pair of wireless headphones, a cat watch, and a couple of pajama sets from Old Navy with new slippers. 

Mason: He asked for fleece sheets (he’s basically a little old man) and a Pokemon binder. I added a Knex build a blaster set, a Pokemon onesie, some Beyblades, a pair of wireless headphones, some Pokemon cards, and some new basketball shorts and tees.

Zoey: She asked for art supplies. I bought her a huge coloring roll and a big Crayola art kit. I added a Playdoh ice cream set, fleece sheets, a couple of Monster High dolls, a puppy dog onesie, and some Shopkins lego sets. 

I hope they like what they’re getting this year. I feel like I was basically on my own to figure it out and it was nice to not be shopping for specific things that were hard to find. I did save a lot of money, which is a good thing. I guess this is how it will be from now on. I still have 2 who believe in Santa so I hope I have a few more years of Christmas magic. 

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A Holiday Confessional


I cannot wrap my brain around the fact that we are less than 2 weeks away from Christmas. How is that possible? The last 6 months or so have been so jam packed busy that I feel like I haven’t had a minute to breathe. I had hoped to slow down for the holiday season but so far, that has not been the reality. Which means things are not exactly running smoothly at my house this season.

*Our Christmas decorations are only half done. I have one tree up and decorated but the other tree has lights but no ornaments. The ornaments are still in a box sitting next to the tree. That counts, right? Only half of my garland is up, the Christmas village is not finished, and I cannot find 3 of my reindeer. I’m close to just calling it done for this year.

*There will be no home made Christmas treats this year. No made from scratch cinnamon rolls, no made from scratch cookies, no crockpot hot cocoa. It’s going to be cinnamon rolls from a can, cookies from the fridge, and hot cocoa from a packet. I can only do so much.

*I bought Peppermint Schnapps for my hot cocoa. And I enjoy it. However, when making hot cocoa for the kids it’s a good idea to make sure your hot cocoa is in a special mug so those kids don’t accidentally take a big gulp from your cup. Oops.

*I’m not even going to pretend like I’m doing Christmas cards this year. I’m not. And I don’t care.

*I said no to every single Christmas party we’ve been invited to this year. I wish I wanted to go but I don’t. We’re busy, we’re tired, and I do not have the inner fortitude to make small talk right now. 

*My kids are getting a lot of useful stuff for Christmas this year. They’re getting older and I’m tired of buying big toys that they outgrow and get tired of in 2 months. I’m fully embracing the big kid stage.

*We have zero plans for Christmas day. We’re going to sleep in as late as the kids let us, and then lie around in our pajamas all day watching Christmas movies. And I cannot wait. 

*My house is a disaster zone right now. It’s bad. It’s so bad that I asked my sister to host Christmas with my parents this year. We are celebrating with them on Sunday and I just cannot get my house totally put together by then. So I’m not even going to try. 

Hope your holiday season is going better than mine! I’ll get it together….probably in mid-January.