Elfing Around

Our Elf on the Shelf, Bob, returned for a third year this Christmas season.  He comes out the day after Thanksgiving and hangs around in various places until Christmas Eve when he heads back to his North Pole home.

The kids were even more excited about Bob than they have been in the past.  Every morning they couldn’t wait to find out where he was.  Although he didn’t do anything too crazy or elaborate, he found some fun places to keep an eye on the kids.

One day Bob was found dangling from the overhead light…

This was the day we brought our tree home and since they couldn’t do any decorating until the tree settled, Jack and Casey entertained themselves.  The took the tree skirt and some Santa hats and did their best impressions of Bob’s mischievous smirk and eyes.

2012 Christmas Tree

After several years of an artificial tree, we went with a real one this year.  We got rid of our fake tree after last Christmas.  The lights weren’t all lighting and the branches were flopping all over the place and not staying level.  I felt like I spent way too much time “fluffing” it and trying to make it look real.  And I think our Yankee candle that smelled like a fir tree reached the end of its wick as well.

Our tree buying experience turned out easier that I could imagine.  We decided to go with Costco because several friends mentioned they got their tree there and it was a good price.  The only potential problem was that you couldn’t pick the tree.  You get what you get!  But it was so easy to get the tree that I liked the idea of just working with whatever it turned out looking like.  No searching the lot in the cold for the perfect tree.  Although I’m pretty sure it wasn’t anywhere near cold here in early December.

After breakfast with Santa, we crossed the street to Costco, pulled the van up to the trailer, and the tree man put the tree on the roof and tied it down while I paid.  So easy!  

We pulled the tree stand out of the attic and brought the tree in.  I think we only adjusted it about 3 times.  Then we had to explain about letting the tree settle to the kids who were a little anxious to decorate!

Pat looks very proud of his tree!

Jack is helping out…
Then the kids decided they should take some pictures.  And I think you can tell that we had just about squeezed all the joy out of the tree buying experience and it was time to move on to something else!
It ended up being another week or some before we finally got to decorating it although Jack was still placing new ornaments on up until Christmas Eve.  
About halfway through decorating, I realized we should have had some sort of Tree Decorating 101 discussion with Jack.  Some topics we could have covered – 
– Heavy ornaments require a heavy branch
– Not all ornaments of the same type need to be right by each other
– Some ornaments need to go at the top of the tree
– Some ornaments need to be on the sides of the tree
But with a little redirection and some discreet repositioning, the tree got decorated.  
We put a couple strands of LED lights on this year.  I really wanted to like them because I like the idea of more energy efficient light bulbs, but they just didn’t have that glow that I wanted.  
Our theme is simply what we have collected over the years.  We have ornaments from all the places we have lived and places we have visited.  This year we got ornaments when we were at Disney World.  When we got them out (of a bag I have yet to unpack from the trip!) Casey promptly dropped her castle and a few turrets broke off.  It now goes well with her Cinderella carriage ornament of which all the wheels are broken.
It was Casey’s year to put the angel on top.
After she was decorated, the kids once again wanted to take pictures with my camera.  They each spent forever trying to get a good shot without people in it.  But I couldn’t resist jumping in a few pictures while someone else was behind the lens.

Breakfast with Santa

I didn’t mean to take another long break from blogging.  I reached the space limit for storing photos though Picasa and I’ve spent forever trying to figure out how to best put pictures on the blog without paying.  Right now I’ve settled on Photobucket, even though I have upload them individually (as far as I can figure out).  
And so, I’m going back to the beginning of the Christmas season!  I think I struck a good balance between Christmas fun and getting things done this year.  It felt like we had an extra week or two this year because we are celebrating Christmas with Pat’s family in a couple days instead of the weekend before Christmas.  
Way back at the beginning of December we had Breakfast with Santa at the country club.  It was decorated beautifully, the food was good and the kids got to craft and visit with Santa.  Although I wasn’t totally impressed with the realism of Santa, I liked the fact that the kids got to spend as much time with them as they needed and he “knew” their names.  We weren’t hurried by a long line behind us and we didn’t have to pay for overpriced picture packages. 

Casey hopped right onto Santa’s lap without a bit of hesitation.  She asked for baby dolls, Barbie dolls and a toy puppy.
Jack didn’t have a problem going up to Santa but looked a little nervous the whole time he was sitting there.  This is only the second year he has spent time on Santa’s lap!  He asked for a Disney monorail, a video game and some Hotwheels.  I can’t believe he remembered about the monorail!  I was hoping he’d forget after not talking about it for 3 months.  (And since I’m posting this after Christmas, he did not get a monorail and thankfully hasn’t asked about it.  He came up with another different list of things at school!)