The first two years after moving from Kansas to Illinois, we drove 12 hours both ways to spend Christmas with our family. But, the trip was long and Sophia hated her car seat and it seemed once we arrived we spent a lot of time in the car rushing from one family to the next. It just didn't seem worth the trouble when we could visit in the summer and really relax and spend the quality time we wanted with our family and friends. The decision to stay home and create our own traditions was a little lonely the first year since I come from a large family and I am used to being surrounding by noise and people, but well worth it.
I have really learned to appreciate the time we have with just the four of us. Our holiday is quiet and relaxed. On Christmas Eve we bake cookies for Santa, we bake bread for Christmas morning, we prepare the Christmas meal, and we usually do some type of activity together before Alexander and Sophia exchange gifts with each other. Then at night we leave the Christmas tree lights on for Santa and head to bed. Sophia is always the first to wake up on Christmas morning and I can usually convince her to snuggle in bed with me for a while so the boys can sleep a little longer. Finally, when she can't stand it any longer, we all head downstairs together to see what Santa has left.
I have heard my kids both say that one of their favorite parts of Christmas day is that Steve and I devote the entire day to them. Most of the cooking/baking is finished on Christmas Eve so we have little preparations to do. Instead we spend the day playing. As the kids get older and less toys are purchased I can see us playing board games or finding new ways to spend the day together. Whatever it is, I can't wait. I find myself getting more and more excited each day.