This Christmas was a particularly magical one for all of us. Luke, almost two, fell in love for the first time with the excitement of presents and Christmas decorations. For Erik and me, the story of our Savior’s birth held a new poignancy as an expecting parent’s wonder and concern centered in our minds because of Eleanor’s 12/28 due date. For all of us, it was a change from our pattern of traveling to visit family for the winter holidays, giving it an unfamiliar quiet and unstructured feel. Somehow it felt strangely grown-up and parental to be having Christmas on our own!
Christmas morning, Erik and I gave Luke his first holiday hint by taking him out of his crib wearing Santa hats. I don’t think he knew what to make of that, but no explanation was needed when he came out and saw our tree transformed by a bounty of gifts! He gleefully ran to the toddler-sized wheelbarrow that my parents had sent and commenced pushing it in laps around the house, loading it with gifts as he went.
Next we opened stockings, including one for Eleanor, and headed next door for breakfast with our neighbors. At the neighbors’ and during our Christmas skype conversations with our families, Luke showed off his two holiday party tricks:
1) an imitation of a reindeer lawn ornament
2) answering the question ‘what does Santa say?’ with an adorable ‘o, o, o!’
We took our time between presents, helping Luke set up and play with each toy as it was received.
It was especially sweet to include Eleanor in the family festivities by opening a few presents for her. Luke did an admirable job unwrapping her gifts and seemed to at least partly understand that they were for his soon-to-arrive baby sister. Though that didn’t stop him from trying them out himself!
Then we made paninis, an easy family favorite, and watched part of The Muppets Christmas Carol – a tradition from Erik’s childhood. Erik and I finished the evening with Christmas music playing and a fire in our fireplace, counting our many blessings together.