Bass Pro Santa 2023…

It doesn’t feel like Christmas until we make our annual visit to the Bass Pro Shop to see Santa. And this year, more than ever, I’m grateful my older kids, especially Hallie, are still willing participants!

We started this tradition right after we moved to Arizona and we’ve never missed a year. We’ve come a long way – we didn’t have a single crying kid this year. 🙂

We love the appointment system at Bass Pro, but for some reason this year even with our appointment time, the wait was still lengthy. Hunter and Bennett made their way around the store while Hallie, Briggs and Cannon wrote letters to Santa while we waited.

I would have to agree with all of their letters – Cannon and Briggs have been very good boys and Hallie’s unsure where she wants to be next year so she’s soaking everything in. Their requests have been signed, sealed and delivered to Santa.

We finished our Bass Pro visit with a friendly game of hide and seek in which Bennett and Hunter were deemed the victors with the ultimate hiding spot – a Christmas miracle indeed.

Gingerbread man…

We attended the annual neighborhood gingerbread house making this afternoon and every year I sing the praises of the mom that willingly hosts this annual event! She kindly hot glues all the houses together so the kids just show up and decorate. Really they eat two pieces of candy and then attach one to their house, eat another two candies, add one to the house.

It was weird to only have two elementary kids decorating this year. Cannon took his time and was meticulous about his candy placement. Briggs was decorating at a table with all his friends and they were all destroying their little houses so I was surprised when Briggs’ house made it through the destruction that tore through their table.

Pretty sure Briggs had more frosting on his shirt and body than he had on his house – but he was happy as can be!

My little elf…

We were at a family Christmas gathering last night and I had shared with my sister-in-law that the boxes in my room were piling up and I needed to go through them to make sure I had all the gifts I had ordered. (This pile has been growing for quite some time and it was just easier to not open the boxes so I knew they were safe from curious eyes).

Upon hearing my reluctance to sit down and go through everything, my niece offered to help me out. I know she was being kind but she came up to me a little later in the evening and said she thought it would be fun to help – I could tell she was sincere and this morning I sent her a text and told her I was going to tackle the pile. (While I still have a few days left of kids in school)

She joined me with her little boy and we had the most enjoyable morning: Opening boxes, sorting into piles and we even took over Steve’s job and started wrapping. We talked and connected and made sure the toddler didn’t find the scissors or open any of the presents!

I had been dreading this task for far too long – which is not typically like me. I was sick last week and it zapped my energy and I didn’t have the same zest for prepping presents like I usually do. But thanks to my lovely niece, my angel elf, we are back on track and ready to roll!

Christmas happenings…

There’s so much that goes on during the Christmas season, it’s hard to document all the happenings…

We had our neighborhood nativity (our family has participated many times over the years) but this year we got to enjoy it from the audience. It was next level with the introduction of a zonkey (that is not a typo – look it up) and a full size camel. Most nativities showcase a camel, but the zonkey at the birth of Jesus is questionable – but fun nonetheless.

Briggs and Cannon had a Santa’s Workshop at the their school one night. Steve was out of town and all the older kids had stuff going on so it worked out perfectly for me to be there with them.

We’ve made just a few visits to the “Christmas House” in our neighborhood. Any free evening we have, the kids are convincing us we need to go on a walk. They’ve added additional snow machines and bubble machines and there’s always a song or two where they end up looking like this.

Hunter took no time to get into the holiday spirit. The day after Thanksgiving he arranged to go to Goodwill with his friends. I had no idea the purpose of the trip, but he came home with a Christmas tree for his room. He’s decorated the tree, lined the room with lights, put a swag across his bed and has little Christmas trees on his dresser and nightstand. Of course the minute he was done, the other boys were wanting a full size tree for their room!

Our nephew was the lead in his high school musical Frozen so Steve took those without any commitments that night which happened to the two youngest. Our nephew was amazing and so impressive in his leading role.

Hallie and her friends are always down for a photo opportunity.

One Santa a season is never enough! These kids are willing to take a candy cane from anyone in a red suit. We still have our favorite Santa – Bass Pro Shop – left on our to-do list, slated for when the kids get out of school.

With one week left before Christmas we’re quickly crossing off our Christmas traditions…just a few more to go.

Dear Santa…

Evidently he wants a squirrel feeder kit (Thanks Mark Rober for his current interest in squirrels). I told he may need to put a stamp on the envelope – he assured me you only need to draw a picture of a candy cane for a stamp and Santa will get it. I sure hope he’s right or else Santa is never going to know about the squirrel feeder kit.