And Happy Holidays and all that good stuff! ; )
This year is special for us. It’s the first time (EVER IN OUR LIVES) that we’re staying at our own home for Christmas. Hubs (then boyfriend) and I first moved away from Austin back in 2007 (when we moved to Florida). Since that time, we have always made our way back to Austin for the Christmas holiday. Last year hubs really made a case for staying home for the holiday but I just wasn’t ready yet. This year we made a great compromise (and one that I think we’ll continue into the future). We’re staying in our own home in Tucson for Christmas, then heading back to Austin for New Years. Ultimately, we still get to spend a week with family but now we get to start creating our own family traditions at home.
And everything seems so much more magical this year simply because the girls’ age (3.5 years old) is such that they’re finally really getting everything. They know all about Santa and the reindeer, but they also know about Jesus’s birth in the stable, etc.
They performed in a sweet Christmas performance at their preschool (adorable!), helped me make sugar cookies to leave out for Santa (and we’ve got carrots for the reindeer), and we just took them to their first ever movie in a theater! For any locals, we went to the Fox Tucson Theater and saw the Polar Express. It was my first time ever going to Fox and I was really impressed! For non-locals, the Fox is a historic venue that shows movies, has concerts, plays, etc. They did The Polar Express as a special event. It was PJ night and they gave free bells, peppermint sticks, and hot chocolate out. Plus, kid’s tickets (for age 12 and under) are FREE! Can’t beat that!
We sat up in the balcony with the kids which still had a great view of the screen and was so much fun, as balcony seats are double the size (room for two people per seat), so we were able to snuggle up together. As I said, this was the girls’ first movie in a theater and they LOVED it! Afterward they kept saying “the theater is FUN!”
I promise she really did have a lot of fun! Those are tired eyes after the movie was over, as the movie ended at what is typically their bed time. See her showing off/shaking her bell!?
I’ve mentioned before that we’d initially hoped to take the girls to The Polar Express experience up in Flagstaff this year. That turned out to be too far outside our budget, but this was a really fun alternative for a fraction of the cost and we are already planning to build room in our budget for the Flagstaff Polar Express next year. I think it will be even more fun at age 4.5 (plus we’ll be consumer debt-freeeeeeeee), so I think it will all work out for the best.
Speaking of Christmas-related spending, is everyone done with holiday shopping? Since we aren’t back in Texas yet I haven’t been quite as on top of things, but I’m hoping to pick some things up today (most shoppers are done so there are already tons of sales and stores aren’t as crowded as you might think). One cheap idea I’ll throw out (since these family members don’t read) is the whole adult coloring book concept that’s sweeping the world right now. My brother is in the middle of a nasty divorce (that completely blind sighted him just about a month ago…right before the holidays. sad face.) He has several children so I got jumbo coloring books for the kids, and an adult stress-relieving pattern coloring book for him + crayons and colored pencils. A whole family gift that they can do together for about $15, total. I got my Dad an adult coloring book, too, so it’s kind of a theme this year. Just in case anyone is in a bind and still looking for something on the cheap.
Anyway….I’m going to go spend the day with my kiddos. We have a park playdate this morning, a tiny bit of shopping to do, and all our fun Christmas eve activities (traditions include attending a Christmas Eve service, reading The Night Before Christmas, and opening one present before bed). Please everyone send good-sleeping vibes/prayers our way. The kids have been REALLY bad about getting up in the middle of the night and wandering around lately, so I’m a little nervous about them “catching Santa” (or seeing Santa’s gifts) in the middle of the night. As always, our grandparents have really spoiled the kids with TONS of presents already under the tree. Hubs and I went pretty minimalist on their presents. They got some practical things (e.g., really needed new shoes), and cheap things they’ll love (e.g., bath fizzy/colored tablets and $3 purses). Their “big” gift is that they’re both getting a scooter. Again, I initially wanted to do something much more expensive (I had my eye on this Elsa/Frozen car for $250), but when it was clear the budget wouldn’t accommodate that, we ended up with these scooters for $25 each. Hubs’ and I put a $50 limit on gifts for each other. I was able to get him a rolling tool chest. It’s this model, but I purchased it from an open box store here in Tucson so I got it at a steep discount. Hope he likes it!
Merry, merry, happy day to you, readers! Thank you for your endless support and kind words in good times and bad. 2015 has been a roller-coaster of a year. It’s been nice to feel like we’re on this ride together. Hope you all have a fabulous (and frugal, if you’re still in debt-reduction mode) holiday season!