This Christmas was so much fun! It was the first time that Gwen really enjoyed the festivities and became excited about the decorations. Since we now have tile throughout the house, and nice ornaments stayed in the boxes, and we had a great time letting Gwen help us decorate the tree with ornaments from the Dollar Tree. She was all over it! We started reading some Christmas bedtime stories before the holiday, so Baby Jesus became a big topic, along with Jesus' mommy and daddy. Of course Santa Claus could not be missed either.
I probably had the most emotional moment on the night that I took Gwen over to see Santa Claus at a friend's house. Because of my work schedule and other committments, I forgot to get a present to my friend for Gwen. All the kids began sitting on Santa's lap, and receiving their presents, and Gwen was so excited; "Santa, it's my turn?" My stomache turned and went from feeling foolish and embarrassed about not having a present for her, to heartache that this Santa might not put her on his lap and she'd have her feelings hurt. I was so upset, but Gwen just went up to him after everyone else was done, and asked him to hold her on his lap. She didn't even want a present, but just the action of being included. It was humbling, and reminded me that while the presents are nice, it really is the spirit of the season; love, humility, compassion and kindness.
Christmas Day was hectic but worth it. Gwen enjoyed a small Christmas here at home, and she helped open all of Jonah's things. We then went to Grandma and Pakah's house, where Gwen and Cole tore it up. We've never had such a quick Christmas gift exchange! Paper and bows were flying. We then drove to Orange County to see Grandma and Grandpa Hartmann, and have dinner with the extended Hartmann family, which we missed last year. Finally, we ended the night by opening gifts with Joe's immediate family at his mom and dad's house. Again, it was cool to see the toddlers personalities emerge during the gift opening. Gwen was more interested in Chase's presents than her own. We should probably get some Tonka trucks for her.