I feel like I talk about the benefits of our new neighborhood all the time, but life really is significantly different for us now that we're living in a neighborhood vs. the country. Another benefit is that our neighborhood hosted a breakfast with Santa at our Clubhouse one Saturday morning in December. It was so nice to be able to fit in a visit with Santa but also not have to go far from home - we literally just had to drive to the other side of the neighborhood!
When we got there, the line for Santa was very short, so we went ahead and hopped in it.
Cooper was up first, and he had to do some thinking when Santa asked him what he wanted.
He was so cute talking to Santa. I loved it!
Next up was LL. She was a little more reserved, but she was still excited.
Her sweet smile is just precious.
After they were both done talking, we got a quick picture with both of them.
After meeting Santa, we sat down to eat some breakfast. The kids also had a station where they could make reindeer food to put out on Christmas Eve to help the reindeer find our house. It had oats, cheerios, chocolate chips, marshmallows, and glitter.
They also had a little train ride set up, so we went outside for the kids to take a few rides.
While the kids were on the train, Mrs. Clause arrived for story time. We went to the backporch for a few stories, some candy canes, and even a kiss from Mrs. Clause!
Cooper found a school friend to sit with.
This part wasn't LL's favorite and I can tell she felt a little too old for it. She stuck it out for a little while, and then she went back inside with Matt.
School Dress-Up Days
For the last 8 days of school before Christmas Break, my school had dress-up days. It was a really fun way to get into the Christmas spirit and have fun in the days leading up to break. Also, it was nice because we got to wear jeans if we participated (count me in!).
Day 1 was Santa Hat day. I didn't take a picture in my hat, but I was happy to be in comfy clothes!
Day 2: Flannel Day
Dress-up days are even more fun if you can twin with someone else!
Day 3: Each grade level had a different color, and 6th grade was white.
Even though all we had to do was wear white, all the girls on 6th grade decided to be reindeer also!
Day 4: Ugly Sweater Day!
Who knew llamas on Christmas sweaters were so popular??
Day 5: Jingle Bell Day. I put a jingle bell on once I got to school, but I also wore my Santa shirt!
Day 6: Candy Cane Day
Day 7: Light Up the World Day
Day 8: Winter White Out
The last day was a 1/2 day and it was full of fun activities all morning long!
Mailing Letters to Santa
Last year, we realized that our post office has a mailbox specifically for letters to Santa. We also realized that if you put your address on your letter, Santa would mail you a personalized letter back! Both kids wrote letters, but Cooper and I dropped them off when LL had gymnastics one night. About 4 days later, they both got letters back!
Meeting the Grinch
Once Christmas break started, our local Chick-Fil-A had a "Grinch afternoon" with some grinch activities and a chance to meet the Grinch. It was from 2:30 - 4:30 and I figured it wouldn't be that crowded since it wasn't a meal time. I was wrong! That place was packed, but the kids had fun anyway!
Jammy Cocoa Christmas
This was our 4th year participating in Jammy Cocoa Christmas. If you don't know what it is, here is how you play:
1- Wear pj's (more points if you match)
2- Go to Starbucks (or anywhere you like) to get drinks and treats. You must go in, though! The drive-through is cheating!
3-Drive around your town and listen to Christmas music and look at Christmas lights.
Our kids love this and it has become one of their favorite traditions!
I've got to brag on Matt for a minute. Typically, he just wears joggers and a tshirt and I wear pj's. This year, we saw matching pj's at Target, and he did not hesitate to wear these with me. Like seriously not even for a second - he was just immediately on board with buying them. This man of mine is amazing. He is lighthearted, laid back, and is more than willing to do anything that makes me happy.
And yes, the hoods had bear ears. Ladies, find a man that loves you like this. A man that is willing to wear fuzzy pj's with bear ears out in public because of a fun, silly tradition that makes his wife (and kids) happy.
Two cuties waiting on their hot chocolate!
Is there anything cuter than matching pj's and mini-Starbucks cups?!
We also have a tradition of going to Grammy and Pop's house to make Christmas cookies.
This is so much easier and enjoyable as the kids get older!
These ones are my favorite!
At our church, the Sunday before Christmas is always full of music. This year, we decided to take both kids into the big service with us instead of sending them to their classes. They did great and enjoyed it!
Our elves (Sparkle and Michael Jackson) brought us a gingerbread village to create. This village came with 4 houses so we each got to decorate one however we wanted.
23rd Movie Night
This last activity is a new one for us that we will start doing from this year forward: movie night on the 23rd. We watched Home Alone, had a fire in the fireplace, and popped popcorn and drank hot chocolate. We had leftovers for dinner, but decided for the years moving forward that this will also be a "take-out" night. It was a really fun way to get geared up for Christmas Even and we all enjoyed it!
Snuggles make everything better!
After all of these activities, we were more than ready to celebrate Christmas!