Christmas in March!

Yes, Yes, I am well aware that it is March 1, and Christmas was more than two months ago.. but hey, the holidays are wonderful, and... ok, my blog is late. Haha! So, Christmas time with my two girls is so much fun now, from decorating on December 1st to crafts and baking all month long, and of course the actual holiday, it is really kind of exhausting, but fun! 
December 1st, the tree goes up! We transform our house into holiday mode the first day of December, I sacrifice the wonderful smell of a real tree so that we can have our tree lit and up all month long, this way we don't have to worry about the tree drying up and losing needles. 
I may not have stated this before during my blog posts, but we are believers in our Lord  Jesus Christ, we have been saved and although Jesus is in our hearts all day/year long, this past Christmas season was a little more meaningful, as our daughters began to appreciate and realize who Jesus is, and what he means to us.
Being the mommy to two little girls, holiday/candy cane/snowflake toes are a must! 

One rainy December day, as the girls were napping, I transformed the refrigerator into Frosty. The girls were so excited when they woke up, I think it is a definite new tradition and addition to our holiday decorations. Oh yeah, I found a new blank canvas! (Halloween ideas are coming to mind...)
Oh the baking!!! I am definitely held accountable for the few pounds that my entire family gains during the holidays. This batch of about 9 dozen cookies, was one of two batches made in two days. This year I tried a new recipe for Raspberry Almond Shortbread Cookies and they were delicious! And this is the recipe I use for the best from scratch Sugar cookies
This year the girls' aunts came over to bake and decorate cookies with them, all while listening to the crackling of the original "A Very Chipmunk Christmas" album. 
Another tradition is the making of the Gingerbread house. One year, I will attempt making the Gingerbread from scratch and all that mess, but for now, the $8 kit from JoAnn's will do just fine. The thing I love about this tradition is that it's something we can all do together, my husband included. In fact, he said next year he wants one of his own so he doesn't have to share the "creativity" with the girls.  
We made two different types of snowflakes this year.  We made the good old fashioned paper snowflakes, lined them with glue, and then the girls' used glitter for the first time to cover them up and make them sparkly. The second was a pipe cleaner snowflake that I saw on Pinterest and it just so happened I had pipe cleaners and beads on hand that day. 
Letters to Santa are a must as the girls get older. This year was their first year, and since they  are not of writing age yet, they told me what they wanted to say in their letter, I wrote it in pencil and Lacey traced all the words for both of their letters. 
These were our official Christmas books for the month of December. Olivia helps with Christmas, The Christmas Story (the story of when Jesus was born), and The night before Christmas. 
As important as Santa Claus is to kids, for us and our family, it is very important to acknowledge and teach  the real meaning of Christmas and why we celebrate it. Of course, to 2 and 3 year-old's it may have been the excitement of having cake and blowing out the candle, but if you asked them whose birthday it was, they would say Jesus! 
One of my favorite memories growing up was shopping for a special Christmas outfit! New dress, new shoes, new tights, new sweaters (we live in So Cal, so we don't need a coat) and new hair accessories! This year I think I was still more excited than they were, but I know that will be changing when they start wanting to pick out their own dresses, until then, I'm holding onto that joy.
And finally, their picture with Santa. Growing up, one of my uncles would dress up as Santa Claus for all of us kids, and we would have to sing Christmas carols before he would come to the door, we would hear his bells, and then "HO HO HO!!" in would walk Santa Claus! I hope my kids will remember that excitement when they grow up. This year, I helped my Nino dress as Santa, and had all of the kids sing Christmas carols so that Santa would hear them. When Santa walked in, my eyes were on my girls, I just wanted to bottle up their reaction and keep it forever. The priceless moment for me, was when Lacey tugged at Santa's coat, and he leaned down, and she asked him, "Did you like the cookies?" I love that presents weren't the first thing on her mind, instead, she wondered if he enjoyed the cookies that she left out for him. She really is a thoughtful little girl, and yes, she made me cry. :)
Merry Christmas! (only 298 more shopping days left!)