The Story of The Best Christmas EVAH

For those of you who have missed the million times I’ve bitched about it, I have missed Christmas with LilZ for the last two years. I alternate Holidays every year with his Dad, but last year I sacrificed my Christmas to switch our alternating holidays to work with MrZ’s family’s holidays so LilZ could be a part of that as well. So – that gave me two years in a row that I didn’t have him for Christmas. Now – we fake it really well – we pick the first Saturday after Christmas and do everything like we would if it were Christmas, but I’ve been looking forward to this Christmas for the last 12 months. A real Christmas.


LilZ came back from his Dad’s house late Christmas Eve afternoon. I had made the decision to make this Holiday as “traditional” as possible to take advantage of the year. I’m a big fan of tradition and ritual and I was planning on milking the Holiday for all I could. NikkiZ and I had already painted ornaments that day, which turned out to be more fun than I thought. Evidently, she knows how to handle a paint brush. I was adequately surprised by that. She did like to mix and smear the paint more than actual painting, but considering she’s 2, it could have been a lot worse.

After we picked up LilZ, we decided to first make cookies for Santa. We did this from a Crayola kit we bought at the grocery store. Which was actually more than I originally planned which was getting those tubes of sugar cookies you just slice and bake. I think LilZ was surprised that we actually had to mix something for these cookies. He may have even referred to them as homemade, and I totally didn’t correct him even though the only thing required was water.

NikkiZ and LilZ both played a part, with NikkiZ doing the stirring and LilZ doing the catching of all the crap NikkiZ flings when she stirs. It turns out that the mix may have been about 100 years old because the consistency was really off and we kept having to add flower to make it even remotely dough-y. (Hey! Even more homemade!) We rolled out the dough and cut our bear shapes. Then, MrZ and LilZ did the typical guy thing and made cookies shaped like certain body parts. That is part of the tradition, isn’t it? Boobie cookies? No? Oh well.

We baked the cookies and iced the bears and set them on a plate for Santa.

I had read earlier that day at Fluid Pudding about Magical Reindeer Food and knew that was a tradition I wanted to start with my kids. We didn’t have any glitter on hand, but we did sprinkle the oatmeal in the front yard. LilZ said, “Why haven’t we ever done this before?” “Because I just read about it on a blog today!” “Of course.” We used plain oatmeal and the Strawberries and Cream mixed packet kind. Because you never know what those reindeer might like.

After leaving the food out for the reindeer, we bundled up and walked around the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights. Our street goes all out for Christmas and we wanted to take some time to really examine all of the decorations. Especially the inflatable nativity scenes. Those are my favorite. NikkiZ loved it. After our walk read our goodnight stories and NikkiZ went to bed.


I woke up at 4am to try to get everything ready for the morning ahead since I had told LilZ he couldn’t get out of bed until 5am. I put out the stockings and hid the scavenger hunt clues (losing one along the way, of course). Then, I took the token picture of it all before waiting for everyone to wake.

MrZ said to wake him up at 5:45am and we’d start opening presents at 6am. We all assumed LilZ would be up and itching to get started, but of course, none of us factored in the fact that he’s a teenager. And they are physically incapable of getting up before the sun. So, I woke him up by storming into his room saying, “WHY AREN’T YOU UP ALREADY?” Of course, his universe protected him by making me trip in the dark and bust my ass before I got to his bed. He said his first thought was, “OH NO” and then his second was, “Don’t laugh.” Smart kid.

I then woke up MrZ and we all went in together to wake up NikkiZ.

We then, of course, had to take the token Family In Front Of The Tree photo for the year. Update from 2020: Can’t find that pic 🙁

The rest of the day was a blur of presents and food as you can see in the photos below. LilZ got a new camera, a step up from his Kodak. NikkiZ got a Tickle-Me Elmo which she’s not completely in love with yet. She is, however, in love with her shiny red shoes given to her by her Aunt and Uncle. We ate tons of food and watched movies and hung out with a little bit of family and ate dinner with a few friends. It was the Christmas I was looking forward to for 3 years. It would have been perfect if our families could have been in town, but we knew better than to hope for that. But, it was a close as it could get otherwise. Here are some more pictures from the day.

That’s the last of my Christmas talk. I just wanted to milk it for all its worth since I’ll have to go two years again without it. I needed this to last me 24 months, and I think it will. I hope yours was just as brilliant as ours was!

25 thoughts on “The Story of The Best Christmas EVAH”

  1. Merry Christmas, Zoots!

    OMG that picture of NikkiZ in the crib…that’s exactly how I feel in the morning LMAO!

  2. Sounds like a perfect day!!!

    Have you heard about Peanut? It is elf that you put in your house right after Thanksgiving and it moves around the house all up until Christmas Eve when it disappears, it is the the one that is watching you….for Santa. As NikkiZ gets older it may be a lot of fun…some people I know have made it get into “trouble” over night….I can get you the links if you are interested.

  3. Tis awesome! So happy you had a good Christmas. I have the camera LilZ got and I love it! ( Saving for a DSLR next year.)

  4. Love the reindeer food idea! We left out “reindeer corn” (which was really just Christmas-colored candy corn) and threw handfuls up on the roof for good measure.

  5. I’m glad you finally got to have your real Christmas. NikkiZ cracks me up — the doll on her back, the stickers on her legs, that look on her face when you went to wake her up — hee!

  6. Sounds like ya’ll had a great time. So glad you got LilZ for a ‘real’ Christmas this year! Many happy holidays to you and your family.

  7. I can see why NikkiZ loved those shoes. I am jealous of those shoes. They’re real live DOROTHY shoes!

    Looks like you all had a great day! Merry Christmas!

  8. Ahh, the Dark Tower series–The Mr. is also a big fan.

    Your photos are absolutely gorgeous, and I know your kids must LOVE the traditions that you’re establishing for them.

  9. I want her shiny shoes!

    On a more serious note, I have been looking forward to having my big son home for Christmas this year, too. It’s so hard sharing him.

  10. Delurking to say I love the pics!!! I’m so glad that you got to spend Christmas with your son! Mind if I ask what the age gap between the two of them are?


    Ok! NikkiZ is so adorable and your son is a doll.

    So glad you had a wonderful Christmas and that it was worth the 2 year wait!

    I’m delurking as well! Such is the awesomeness of the napkin rings and my love for ANYTHING peacock feathers!

  12. I’m so glad you had the Christmas you’ve wanted! Recreating is nice, but there is something about the calm that settles in around 6pm on Christmas Eve, when everyone is “in” for the night and just you and your family can be together – I know it sounds cliche’ish, but it truly is magical.

    Your post brought a question to mind though: How did you break it to Lil Z, you know the Santa stuff? What was that like? I know it is coming here, and I just hope we can handle it. I remember my own discovery of it, but I don’t think my kids’ will go quite like that – I’m just clueless how to handle it.

  13. Merry Christmas! It sounds like it was idyllic. I have to say, the weirdest things in this entry to me were the fact that Crayola apparently makes something edible (up here it’s only art supplies), and the light layers NikkiZ’s wearing for your walk. By the time we get bundled up to go outside here, Grommet and I both resemble starfish. We both have huge honkin’ boots with liners and it’s not unusual for me to have 2 layers on the bottom and 4 on the top, and sometimes I’ve got an extra layer on each. On the other hand, we did have lots of pretty white snow everywhere for Christmas this year.

  14. Beautiful! I love the pics of Nikki painting and the tree and Nikki waking up (that’s exactly how I feel in the morning!). I’m glad you got to share it with LilZ this year. Awesome!

  15. I was just looking at the pics you posted for Christmas & they’re great! The only thing I noticed which totally cracked me up was the family one in front of the tree. It looks like you & Mr.Z have white cones on your head because of the curtains behind you. While I was quickly scrolling through to get to the top of the post, I saw that and thought, “What the hell?” and had to go back & check it out. I have a lot of pics like that, where you’re just positioned in the right way for something to appear funny. Please don’t be offended because regardless, it’s a great picture!

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