Christmas this year with a one-and-a-half year old sure was an adventure! There was a very clear shift in priorities this year as I was really focused on setting up some long-standing traditions that had sort of disappeared for years and years (for example, leaving out milk and cookies for Santa!).
A few days before Christmas, my mother-in-law was passing through town so she was able to spend the night with us and do a mini-Christmas with Camille that evening. Camille got a new wagon from her as well as some other goodies like puzzles and pajamas!
The morning of the 23rd, I got Camille up from her crib in the morning and we went straight to my car in our jammies -- drove to the Dunkin' Donuts drive-thru and ordered a half dozen donut holes and two donuts for a little breakfast picnic under our Christmas tree!
Later that afternoon, Camille and I drove down to my parents' home, and Ian worked a late night and joined us the next day. On Christmas Eve, we got Camille ready for bed, read Twas The Night Before Christmas, and set out peanut butter cookies and milk for Hoho. We let Camille try a bit of a cookie, and she ended up going for the entire thing and drinking all of Santa's milk, too!
The next morning we broke an old family tradition ... we let Camille open her Santa gifts first thing in the morning in jammies! In my family, we always had to wait until everyone was up, showered, and dressed to come downstairs, and we were always dressed up nicely. Ian was used to opening gifts first thing in the morning in pajamas. Two very different traditions!
We discussed it this year and decided that since a lot of my family likes to sleep in late (and we knew C would be up EARLY), we'd compromise and let her do Santa gifts in jammies, and then during her morning nap we'd all shower and look nice for opening family gifts and stockings. We let our family members know this plan and left it totally up to them if they wanted to be there for the Santa gifts or get some much-needed sleep! It ended up being a really cute way to fuse both traditions and compromise on how our little family will do Christmas.
Plus, since Camille got three gifts from Santa, it allowed her to fully focus on those presents and enjoy them for a few hours before more presents were opened later that day!
In addition to her wagon, Santa brought her Play All Day Elmo, a purple YBike, and a white KidKraft kitchen which now sits where her changing table used to be in her room. We gave her the Melissa and Doug food groups set you see above to go with the kitchen, and she got lots of other little things -- books, shoes, play pots and pans, a mini Swarovski ornament, some musical toys, a kitty cat, and some lovely felt play foods that my aunt made!
Keeping it real ... the biggest challenge for us this holiday was her sleeping schedule. It is crazy, but I've talked to so many other girlfriends who went through the exact same troubles as us. Camille normally takes two naps a day (one hour each) and then sleeps 7p-7a. This trip, she screamed thru naps until we got her and then woke several times a night. Several times, she either was taken by my parents into their bed, taken by us into our bed, taken down on the floor to sleep with Ian or me next to her pack and play, or just gotten out of bed all together as we threw in the towel on bedtime. I can't describe how frustrating it was, and as bedtime approached it was sort of depressing to wonder how badly of a night we had ahead of us again. I hate hate hate hearing her cry. But I also didn't want to be completely weak and run in to get her at the first wail. We spent three nights in Columbia and were scheduled to spend two nights in Winston Salem with my extended family. After the first night in Winston, a night that I was actually crying over how frustrating it was for none of us to be getting any restful sleep at all, we decided to cut our losses and head back to Charlotte a day early. It was tough saying goodbye to my family (we did stick around until 5 that day), knowing that they were all going to have another fun night together, but it was so important to get Camille back in her crib. Happy to report that she didn't skip a beat and has slept WONDERFULLY since we have been home. Hopefully next year will be easier ... but we will also have a 8-month old then ;)
Despite sleeping woes, it was a wonderful Christmas with family, and it was wonderful to witness it through Camille's eyes!