There is always so much pent-up excitement on Christmas eve – its a wonder that any of the kids ever fall asleep.

The last couple years it has rained on Christmas eve and put a damper on our neighborhood luminaries. So when we saw a clear forecast earlier in the week, we were looking forward to our Christmas eve tradition once again. Almost 200 homes all display white paper bags with candles lining their sidewalk.

We lit our candles before heading over to our friends home for dinner and chimes. We’ve hosted our friends the last two years as they have been remodeling and they were happy to host once again.

I’m happy to report, the older the kids get, the better our chimes sound. There were a few years that were pretty rough! I don’t want to brag, but we sound pretty good and the kids love it.

After, we drove through the neighborhood to take in the lights and luminaries and made a stop at the Christmas light show (aka the Christmas house in the neighborhood). Definitely one of our warmer and drier Christmas eves.

We ended up back at home and the kids wanted to give their sibling gifts. They drew names and Hallie took them all to the store to purchase their gifts. I have to admit – this is one of their favorite things about Christmas and I want nothing to do with it! I spend enough time managing and purchasing all the gifts, I’m grateful they manage this on their own. And because I don’t know what they get each other, it’s a fun surprise for me as they’re opening them. So many smiles, so many hugs, so much gratitude.

It’s the perfect appetizer to Christmas morning.

Steve read a book to the kids and after they plated some cookies and carrots, they were off to try and go to bed. 😉

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.