That's the first message I got on my iPad this morning from bff Mickey. "Happy Christmas Eve Day".
How the kids used to love Christmas Eve Day...only one more day left before Christmas...the excitement was thick in the air. I think it was the longest day of the year for them.
For me it meant a lot of prep work for the next day festivities...stuffing to make, chocolate cake to bake to be the basis of our traditional Death By Chocolate Christmas dinner dessert, stocking stuffers to wrap, preparing some of the vegetable dishes for the big dinner, etc.
But the best part of the day was evening. The kids would all be bathed and in their pyjamas. The family would sit in the livingroom and Lloyd would read the Christmas story from the New Testament. I would read The Night Before Christmas, we might even have sung a carol or two. Then all nine stockings (Lloyd and I liked opening stockings too!) would be lined up on the couch (we didn't have a fireplace to hang them from), cookies and milk would be set out for Santa, the room darkened except for the lights on the Christmas tree, and the kids would go to bed, hopefully to fall asleep quickly.
As soon as it was quiet in the kids' bedrooms, Lloyd and I would bring the brightly wrapped Christmas presents from their secure (we hoped) hiding places and arrange them under the tree - the Santa gift usually unwrapped. After all, how would Santa have time to wrap up all those presents for all the kids in the world? Then we would stuff the stockings, always starting with a Christmas orange in the toe.
Now the real work would begin...assembling whatever special gifts needed assembling. I remember one particular Christmas when our oldest daughter was eight or nine. Her Santa gift was a Barbie doll house - three levels with an elevator up the side. I'm ashamed to tell you that the Christmas spirit almost died that night. That blasted doll house took forever to put together - two or three hours - with tempers strained to the breaking point as we tried to get all the little parts where they belonged without making a noise and waking the sleeping (we hoped) children. Eventually it got done and was worth the effort when we saw how pleased Jenny was with her very special gift. The elevator even worked!
After we got all the presents organized and assembled, we collapsed onto the couch and ate the goodies left out for Santa (we earned them!) and went to bed for a few hours' sleep until the kids got up and the Christmas fun began.
I hope you all have a fun Christmas Eve Day and a wonderful Christmas day with family and loved ones.