I truly believe that the Sandman dreads Christmas Eve. While kids around the world anticipate this night more than any other night of the year, the Sandman probably grits his teeth and exclaims "in eight hours it will be over!" Because, guess what? All kids under the age of 12 are immune to the Sandman and his powers of blissful sleep. I am certain of this because year after year, we are awaken multiple times from our blissful sleep by our anxious daughter and her anticipation of Christmas morning.
This year was no different but we set the limit of the final 'rise and shine' at 6:00 am. And despite the two clocks waiting by her bedside, surprisingly, she woke at 6:30 am.
We had a wonderful morning with our own family tradition of Bailey's and coffee (for the adults, obviously) and bagels with lox, cream cheese, capers, tomatoes, and red onion. Dasher got a big old bone, my husband got his much anticipated pressure cooker, I got my much anticipated carved wooden Santa and my daughter got her much anticipated Playmobil Magic Castle.
Imagine my surprise, however, when the box containing said castle, was filled with about 2,000 little itty bitty pieces and an instruction booklet about 20 pages long! "Some Assembly Required" was an understatement. I spent 2 hours of our lovely Christmas morning putting this thing together. As my beautiful daughter quipped "It's just like a puzzle, Mom!" Of course, sweetie, how could I be so exasperated!?! I relaxed, sipped my Bailey's and coffee, and realized that I was in for the long haul.
The Magic Castle, however, turned our to be quite enchanting. My daughter started playing with Playmobil toys a few years ago when I came home with one of their Advent Calendars. What I love about these toys is their simplicity. They are timeless in their design. My daughter has been playing with them every since. The Magic Castle was the icing on the cake. The day after Christmas, a group of neighborhood kids were huddled around it playing kings and queens in a fairyland far, far away. What fun!
This year we started a new holiday tradition in our neighborhood of caroling with the kids in the neighborhood. I think our poor elderly neighbor's were stunned by a group of 15 kids barreling into their front yards singing "Here Comes Santa Clause" at the top of their lungs, because only two folks of the 7 houses we visited even came to the door. No matter... the kids enjoyed hot chocolate and cookies at our house afterward and the adults enjoyed my husband's new Hot Spiced Wine recipe (which we proceeded to enjoy at every family gathering this season!)
So, if you're curious, here are some of the ingredients for the Spiced Wine: Merlot or Cabernet, apple cider, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, all spice, fresh squeezed oranges with rind. Heat and serve (do not boil) - yum!
A lovely Christmas, indeed!