Our "night" before Christmas actually started about 3:30 p.m., when we arrived at church for the Christmas Eve Family Pageant.
We only had one shepherd this year. For whatever reason, Ryan could not be persuaded to dress up and join the flock of shepherds in jubilee.
A good chunk of the day was spent tracking Santa's flight on Google Earth, thanks to NORAD. The boys LOVED, LOVED, LOVED doing this. They especially enjoyed the times when Santa would arrive at a destination, and would run around cities like Moscow and Baghdad so fast that Rudolph's nose flying through the skies looked like little lasers. A big, big hit.
After church, we came home and the boys opened one present each - a tradition from my family when we were growing up. The boys scoured underneath the tree for the ones they most wanted. Alex selected a box from Uncle Beau - he tends to especially love presents from him since my brother is cleaning out his collection of Star Wars toys by passing them on to his nephews since he ended up with two little girls. This present was the Sebuba Pod Racer ship from Star Wars, Episode 1. Beau worked on that movie, so he bought the motherload of toys featuring that movie.
Ryan opened up the largest box he could find - one from his brother. Alex gave him the Kung Zhu Arena - a present I thought was crazy at first, but Alex insisted upon, and it was at a pretty good sale price at Toys R Us. Ryan's reaction when he opened up immediately quashed any misgivings I might have had. He was unbelievably excited, jumping up and down with joy. "I wanted this! Yes! Its just what I wanted, Alex!" He was a bit concerned, though, because he was "getting this for Christmas," (as he had put it down on his list). We explained to him that this WAS Christmas, and he gives us this exasperated look. "No, Mommy. Its Christmas Eve." Ryan was so in love with his new present that he his it away from Santa Claus, lest Santa Claus try and steal in and give it to another little boy.
After dinner, the boys wrote a note to Santa, and put out milk and cookies.
We then made hot chocolate and put on 'A Christmas Story,' which the boys had never seen.
Ryan still wasn't that into it - he kept disappearing to check on Santa's flight status - But Alex totally identified with Ralphie, the little boy who wants one thing for Christmas, above all others: the Red Rider BB gun.
Alex's own version of the Red Rider is the DSi.
We've resisted buying this for him since it first started topping the list at his 6th birthday. Having disappointed him for two birthdays and last Christmas (and with a little nudge from HEB Plus who had the suckers marked down to $99.99 last Sunday) we've taken the plunge, and the DSi is now waiting for him under the tree.
We wrapped things up reading 'The Night Before Christmas,' and then tucked both boys in together in Alex's bottom bunk. They got concerned Santa had made his way to the America continents, and didn't want to risk being up when Santa hit Austin, lest he skip our house. Thus, we had two little boys go to bed remarkably easy this Christmas Eve. No one even got up for a last minute potty break. I guess they are too busy resting with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads.