I do a little rehash about this every year but when we got married Zach was hardcore about spending every Christmas Eve at his parent’s house. It’s a multigenerational tradition and it was important to him to continue it. I was 19 at the time of this discussion so of course I was like “SURE!” with all heart emoji eyes and everything haha then we got married and started having kids and the reality set in for me that I’d never have Christmas morning at my home. Yeah…kinda a tough thing to swallow for me and it created a bit of a struggle, especially once my mom stopped being part of my life. Holidays got tougher and I felt like my traditions were disappearing and everything we did was Parker.
We talked it out and Zach has been AWESOME about understanding my feelings. We decided to create our own “Core Crew Christmas” tradition. So every year on the 22nd we have a mini-Christmas Eve type night and then spend the 23rd together as a family doing ALL of my childhood traditions as well as new ones we’ve created on our own. It’s the PERFECT balance. It’s really allowed me to ENJOY Christmas at his parent’s house b/c I’ve already had that special quality time at our home. It’s been awesome and it’s become my very favorite day of the entire year!
This year was extra special because it’s our first year as a complete family!
I typically buy the kid’s Christmas pjs a size up every Christmas and then have them wear the year prior’s pjs for our Core Crew Christmas. So all these pjs were the ones they wore last Christmas. It’s a good way to use them again! And I was SO PUMPED when I happened to see a deal for the same exact pjs in a newborn baby size! It was meant to be 🙂
First matching outfits!
Our 22nd tradition is to get our pjs on and go to a nice neighborhood near ours and let the kids unbuckle while we drive around and look at lights. SO fun! This year we let them bring a treat too!
Spear slept the whole time 😉
I have such great memories of nursing Britt by the Christmas tree and I just LOVE having a newborn at Christmas time!
All ready!!! We loaded up all the gifts to take to Zach’s parents house that night so the next morning we were able to open everything that was under the tree. Having our Core Crew Christmas has also worked out GREAT with gifts. I am a Carnival Christmas person. I love buying gifts throughout the year for the kids and I like to wrap everything separate. So while my budget is $200 total per kid…I make that stretch to like 20 gifts each ha! I wrap books and placemats and socks. Literally anything and everything because I just love opening!
The tricky thing with having Christmas morning at Zach’s parent’s house is that we’re Carnival Christmas people and not everyone is. So our crew ends up having WAY more gifts to open. While I don’t think anyone should have to change the way they do Christmas (I’m not suggesting anyone should wrap up more gifts or that I’d be willing to wrap up less either) it is SO great that we have the Core Crew morning because it allows us to open some gifts then in order to cut down on the opening Christmas morning. This year we opened quite a few at our house and there were still plenty Christmas morning to open and it worked out great! Next year I’ll do better in planning for which gifts we’ll open where!
Usually we wake up and run straight for the tree to find the pickle ornament but with Spear needing to eat we slow rolled it a bit and fed him first and then had the kids line up in the hallway to come out and find the pickle (the hall way line up has become an unintentional “thing” we do at holidays and the kids request it).
The pickle hunt is ON! This year our usual pickle got misplaced and the cheapest replacement I could find was a set of three. So the kids wanted to hide all three but agreed that the first one found would get the gift. I am not a fan of “everyone is a winner” mentality and like the bit of competition with the pickle 😉 Although I will say I always make sure the gift is kinda something everyone can enjoy together!
Daddy loved the gift…Toilet Trouble!
(I will say it’s a GREAT game that the kids can play solo and think is super fun…it gets played a lot more often than Pie Face does)
I just love how chill the morning is. Growing up we’d take HOURS opening presents. I always say the only thing that I really don’t love about Christmas morning with Zach’s parents is that it always feels SO rushed to me. I’m used to each person taking turns opening. Spending time talking about the gift after opening. Taking a break for Christmas Cookies. Listening to music. Getting off topic. Like legit 4-6 hours of present opening is my norm ha! So I really savor this morning and enjoy the music and relaxing vibe.
The kids decided they wanted to pass out all the gifts into piles! We go ahead and open the gifts that Grandpa and Grammie send too and this year the kids opened 10 gifts from us (I’m writing that down to remember for next year!). We also open the gifts we all bought each other and the gifts Zach and I bought for each other too!
His pile wasn’t little 😉 I was proud though of myself in how I handled Spear’s Christmas. When Britt was born (also a Christmas newborn) I felt like I had to make sure she had even number to Kye. So. Dumb. With Spear I made sure he had enough at our Core Crew to be even with the kids because we do take turns one at a time and I wanted him to be part of the cycle, but for legit Christmas morning he only had a couple b/c I knew he’d be napping!
We try to keep our kids as innocent as we can for as long as possible and like to “slow roll” entertainment choices. Our kids JUST started getting Doc McStuffins DVDS (b/c the adoption episode!) and Britt is in LOVE! It’s hilarious b/c she’s 6 years old and just getting into a show that is meant for toddlers haha!
Sweet siblings got Spear gifts from their school store 🙂
Grandpa and Grammie hooked him up with the adorable Mickey goodies!
And they rattle…adorable!
I LOVED what the older two kids did for Tess. For her gift from them (and Spear) they got her a recordable Storybook because she LOVES the ones we have and they read the book. It’s ADORABLE!
As I find book deals throughout the year I save them up for Christmas morning too! Books are always a wonderful gift to give and receive and they never go to waste around here!
Sometimes you buy something JUST for the reaction in opening it. I saw a deal for a $2 he-romper and I couldn’t resist. Especially when I saw the color choices. Zach’s reaction was PRICELESS!
You know it’s awesome when the brand name is “Half Chub” hahahaa
I must include this disclaimer in order to post this photo:
HE WILL NEVER WEAR THIS IN PUBLIC. EVER. IT WAS A JOKE. WE LAUGH AT OURSELVES AND DO NOT TAKE OURSELVES SERIOUSLY. YOU CAN LAUGH TOO.
Real talk though? I kinda think it’s hott!!! Haha! Am I crazy? I told him I want him to wear it for Easter haha!
I hit up Target after Halloween and got the kids adorable Star Wars costumes for next to nothing!
She kept checking on baby brother 🙂
Future guitar player?
The kids all picked out Baymax for Spear at Disney!
Britt is always so fun to watch open!
They LOVED the placemats I had made on Shutterfly!
Sweet girl got me a coffee cup!
Grandpa and Grammie found the perfect Mickey phone for Spear’s nursery!
Love the reaction 🙂
I have one of these ornaments for each of my babies 🙂
How AWESOME is this birdhouse from Dad and Audrey? Not only does it match our house so well but it’s also from Bowdoinham, Maine where my dad was born! SO cool!
He’d been begging for an “alarm system” for his room haha!
So. Pumped. For. This.
Funny story. I got all these great deals on Legos for Britt. And she tells me a couple weeks after Christmas that she does NOT like them and does NOT want them. Oops. She’s the easiest to please when it comes to opening gifts and her excitement but she doesn’t play with ANYTHING so it’s hard to get her things she actually enjoys long term!
Tess’s love for animals made me unable to resist Calico Critters for her! A girl in our neighborhood sold me her daughter’s house and all the accessories and pieces for a great price. Nope I’m not against used toys as gifts 😉
Watches for Daddy!
Spear got his own book collection started 😉
SO perfect for adoption!
Grandpa and Grammie got Britt this awesome journal!
My littlest girl!
Kye has caught on that the gift I have them open last usually will be the favorite 😉
He BEGGED for this watch and it’s been GREAT for him! I don’t love that it has games built in but I trust him and he’s super responsible and always asks me if he’s allowed to play the games (and usually the answer is no ha!).
I highly recommend this watch for the kid who wants a “smart watch” of their own (even though this kid’s mom and dad don’t have smart watches ha!). VTech Kidizoom
Once we finish gifts we then open stockings! We go to the dollar store every year and all split up to make sure each person in the family picks out a gift for each other person. It’s a fun tradition and being limited to the dollar store always means some creative gifts!
Zach has decided that the dollar store brand chocolate is his FAVORITE!
Team Cotton Candy
My biggest boy!
Our family! SUCH a wonderful morning together!!!
Time for a check-up 😉
The hit of the morning was the dollar store gifts 😉 Tess immediately went outside to play with her bubbles!
Daddy typically makes a feast mode breakfast and this year’s didn’t disappoint
Writing our family letter to Santa!
Spelling is a struggle haha!
During naps we watched Episode 6!
Grandpa and Grammie hooked him UP!
(Yes we still have an original Wii ha!)
I got Britt a super cute early reader princess book set and it comes with a certificate of completion. She LOVED it and read through the whole set of 10 books in under 30 minutes!
After naps we decorated Christmas Cookies!!!
Spear monitored 😉
The happiest mess!
And after dinner we got to each eat ONE cookie AND the dough I set aside when I baked them! (I have my mom’s special recipe so they are homemade cookies and homemade icing!).
Feast Mode Dinner…BBQ style!
A few videos from our day:
This tradition is one that is SO special to me. It’s a day of together time and just truly enjoying my family. Having Spear join our crew made this Core Crew Christmas the BEST one EVER and I only foresee every year being even more special just as long as we’re together 🙂