Before Christmas I found a quote on facebook that read, “As a grown-up I’ve learned that all the “Christmas Magic” I felt as a kid was really a mom who loved me.”

I would add – as a grown-up I’ve learned that “Christmas magic” doesn’t have to cost a fortune and for my kids it takes very little effort. I’ve found that Christmas magic is in the little things I do leading up to the big day. Just little drops in the bucket that build to an unsurmountable excitement. I’ve always heard that they’ll never remember what they got, but they’ll remember how they felt.

We had a beautiful Christmas. Our kids are at fun ages where their wants are basic but their excitement and gratitude is high. It’s the perfect combination.

Steve and I like to get all gifts wrapped well before Christmas but I don’t even want to admit how late we were up on Christmas Eve putting the double shot together. But you can tell from these faces, it was a big hit.

I know every family does Christmas a little differently. This is how we roll: Our kids get stockings from Santa, but all their gifts are wrapped from us (unless it’s large like a double shot and then it’s unwrapped and from us). We take turns opening gifts one at a time which means I make sure that each person has the same amount to open. Each year they can expect one of their presents to be books and another to be some type of clothing they are in need of.

Present opening is not something we rush through – we definitely take our time and give each kid our full attention.

Surprisingly, every one is pretty patient – even the four-year-old – just waiting his turn.

What I like about this process is the kids are always excited to open their own gifts, but I love how excited they get when other’s open gifts. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

We had some pretty great reactions this year – to some surprising items. You would think Hunter’s face is opening some expensive technology that he’s had his heart set on – instead it is a Comfy that I had convinced him was out of stock. Bennett’s reaction was jealousy when he looked under the tree and couldn’t seem to find a box the same size – he was hoping for a Comfy as well. Bennett was over the moon when he opened a kid sized version of the comfy that came in a smaller box. Little did either one of them know the effort to that “Christmas magic”.

Hunter had asked for a comfy a while back and I picked it up and wrapped it in his wrapping paper. But just two weeks before Christmas Bennett would not let up on wanting a comfy. But I do all my shopping early so my kids know not to ask for something two weeks before. But I couldn’t help but see if I could find one – I could always swap out a gift and save something for his birthday. But I couldn’t find one anywhere. Hallie and I went to all the stores that claimed they had them in stock and nothing. I had come up short. Two days before Christmas I mentioned it to my friend in passing and she said her mother-in-law had bought several Comfys and didn’t think she was going to use them all. Sure enough, Christmas eve, she dropped by an adult size and I already had a kid size. So I unwrapped Hunter’s and wrapped the adult one for Hunter and rewrapped the kid’s version for Bennett. The is how “Christmas Magic” works!! I think my favorite reaction was Hallie’s surprise knowing how hard we had tried to find one and we couldn’t!

Steve gave me the comfy last year as probably a joke – but the joke was on him because I loved it and used it all the time and now my kids love them as well!

This year we did something we haven’t done before and we hid everyone’s main gift – the thing we thought they’d be most excited to receive. It started because Hunter was getting a ripsurf skateboard which came in a very large package and a dead give away to what the item was. So we decided to hide it and once we were hiding his, we figured everyone would benefit from a hidden gift. But they had no clue they had a gift in hiding. So we opened all the gifts and everyone was so happy with what they received – not a disappointed face in the crowd. We cleaned up all the paper and started organizing the living room. And then we told Briggs he had a present he needed to go find and Hallie and Hunter instantly looked at each other with a inquisitive face wondering if they all had another gift.

And this set off my favorite 15 minutes of Christmas morning. Pure joy and excitement. Jumping up and down. Squeals.

Just like we thought, Hunter knew exactly what was in that box. A present he had been asking for for months – that was literally out of stock, except I purchased it back in August and held on to it. He made sure to take his time and really savor the moment.

And my very favorite moment of the morning. Hallie. With the last gift of the morning. The girl who literally did not ask for one thing for Christmas. She claims I do a great job so she doesn’t need to come up with anything. 🙂

We had bought her airpods on black friday. Not because she asked for them, but because we knew she would love them. She loves music. We wrapped them in an inconspicuous box because that’s part of the magic – the surprise. And boy was she surprised. It had never crossed her mind to ask for them – that’s what made giving them so fun. She instantly started to get emotional. And through her tears (All captured on video of course) she says, “Why are you so nice to me?!” Well, that sent all of us to tears. Steve. Me. Hunter. Bennett. We all cried with her in her excitement because she was just so genuinely grateful.

It is fun to give gifts! Especially when they are so excited, and so grateful. Years from now, I may not remember what I gave her, but I will always remember the special moment we shared when she opened that gift. When she sent the whole room into tears.

We spent the day building lego sets and playing outside.

Cannon has taken on a new love for our old hove board. I love love that he was riding that hoverboard while playing with his new Christmas robot.

Christmas was magic. For a hundred little reasons.