It's such a simple tradition but we love it for many reasons. We always seem to be tying up the last of the the little errands the day before Christmas, so it's a nice break. We also expose the kids to some good food. They always seem to find the time or arrange to get time off work to attend, so we know it's something they enjoy as much as we do. And it's just nice to be together to talk and laugh. Ella and Madi were a bit of a handful (surprised?), so I think eventually we'll make it a "grown ups only" thing and take the girls on a special outing to Wendy's. This year we ate at Macaroni Grill. I order the same thing every time we go-- teriyaki salmon. It's the best anywhere. Once I find something I like, I pretty much stick with it.
None of us are big cake eaters (we have pies or sundaes for birthdays), but the chocolate cake at MG is unbelievable. It's super rich so we usually just order one piece and each take a few bites. I left to go to the restroom and when I returned, Ella had eaten half the piece herself! The girl loves her chocolate. I didn't think she'd like it much because it's not super sweet, but obviously that wasn't the case. Good thing she'd just eaten a lot of whole wheat pasta and meat sauce or she would have been bouncing off the walls.
Speaking of bouncing off the walls, around 4 pm Ella started asking, "What time is Santa coming? How is he going to get down the chimney? Won't he get hurt?"
Amazingly, we managed to calm her down enough to have a special family night to remind us of what Christmas is really all about. We put our nativity on the living room floor and Lynn told the story of Christ's birth using each of the pieces. Ella watched the first time and then asked if we could do it again and again and again. She carefully placed each piece where she thought it should go and would then look to Lynn to continue the story. When he told about the angel, Ella looked at her and asked, "Is she a butterfly?" (I guess her guardian angels don't have wings.) It was such a sweet time in the midst of all the excitement and we all felt the Spirit.
The angel rode along with Ella all Christmas day in the basket of her new bike, right along with her ponies.