This was the first year in quite a few years that we weren't home for Christmas. It was a little weird to put up our tree and make Christmas preparations, even though we weren't going to be around. We actually ended up celebrating Christmas as a family the weekend before we left, but it still felt odd!
I really wanted to focus on homemade gifts this year. I feel like it's such a crucial time in our kids where they are developing their own ideas of what Christmas is about, and I don't want their impression to be all about the latest and greatest toy. I made a bunch of superhero and Star Wars peg dolls which they seemed to love, and then I made them each a toy/game as well. Archer got a set of blocks with mix and match people and animals on them, Bryton got a fishing game, and Preston got a Checkers game. It was fun for me to try to come up with things that I could make that they would enjoy, and it felt a lot more personal than just going to buy something at the store. I had planned to make them pajamas as well, but I ran out of time! Next year...maybe.
We also were able to fit in a trip to the North Pole before we went to Oregon. The boys had been asking about it (we skipped it last year and they were disappointed), so I'm really glad we could do it. The Journey to the North Pole is put on by the resort in town. It is a cruise that goes across the lake to the "North Pole" which is all lit up, and Santa reads the names of the kids on the boat. Our kids are not Santa believers, but they thought it was cool...even though Santa accidentally skipped our boat and we had to turn around so he could read the correct names! There were a lot of kids on our boat who thought they were on the naughty list! Archer's favorite part was seeing the Grinch run alongside our boat as we left the dock. Silly kid didn't really care about Santa, but the Grinch was pretty awesome!