This year the girls' Christmas lists looked something like this:
Maybe a bed for my AG Doll
Maybe some clothes
Maybe some make-up
Maybe some books
(She's always been like this...very rarely outright says she wants something...kind of difficult to buy for!)
An American Girl Doll piano
(Yep. That's it.)
A Littlest Pet Shop
A Bed for Lainie
A Monkey Blanket
A Snow Globe
(Very funny, Sophia!)
We had been saving up for the AG stuff we knew they wanted so badly and Santa was all set to deliver the goods. Until one day when I was out shopping for stocking stuffers. While I was walking around the store I thought about how I wasn't sure of Bria's belief in Santa Claus. Then I thought about how I found a note that Chloe wrote to herself that said she wasn't sure if there's a Santa or not. Then I thought about how the only other gifts they were getting from us were a book for each of them and one other small thing (jeans for Bria, Mancala for Chloe and the monkey blanket for Sophia) and I decided that I didn't want Santa to get all the credit for the American Girl stuff. Maybe that's weird, but I went through a thought process right there in ShopKo which included the fact that I have been downplaying Santa this year anyway in trying to keep the focus of Christmas on Christ, and I made a decision. So, I texted Joel my thoughts, bought some other gifts from Santa, and went on my merry way.
I knew that I'd still need to put together the piano and the beds before Christmas, so we weren't trying to do that on Christmas morning. Besides, the impact is always so much more fun when it's all ready to go, don't you think? So, Joel and I decided to do a treasure hunt. On Christmas Eve, after the girls were all sleeping, we went down and began the fun.
The girls had gone to sleep with their dolls (as usual), but we took them and put each one on her new bed or piano, which were all set up in Sophia's closet. I was hoping the girls wouldn't notice that the dolls were missing on Christmas morning in the midst of all the excitement, but "Where's my doll?" was the first thing to come out of Bria's mouth when she woke up. Joel and I just shrugged our shoulders and said we had no idea where the dolls had gone...
We went down to see what Santa had brought, and while they were happy with their gifts, there was a little bit of disappointment that the doll furniture was nowhere to be found. Chloe began to open her stocking and tried to maintain a super happy attitude by saying, "It's okay that I didn't get the piano." I know she knew it wasn't under the tree, because she is the kid that goes through and shakes, sorts and resorts every gift a hundred times before Christmas.
All was well, though, because lots of wonderful things were under the tree. My parents had given them each several American Girl outfits for their dolls (they are so addicted) and that was awesome. They enjoyed all of the other gifts they received from us and others and it was a wonderful Christmas morning. There really wasn't any more hint of disappointment regarding the hoped-for furniture.
Which was all part of the plan! The last gift to be brought out was a tiny little box that said
In it was a clue which sent them to the door where all the Christmas Cards are hung. There they found another clue which sent them to my bedroom mirror. And upstairs to the bathroom. Back down to the kitchen...
This video starts while reading the clue they found under the kitchen table. It's the last clue, and they have some sense of that, so it's pretty funny when they all start running upstairs to Sophia's room. The moment when they open the door to the closet is DEFINITELY my favorite moment of the entire year. And I have to admit, I kind of like getting the credit. As much as I love Santa, it's nice for the girls to know that Mom & Dad really will get them the things that they want so badly, and that we absolutely love doing it.
Oh, and, don't worry about Sophia. We got up super early and she had been sick. I think things were just really overwhelming for her right then. 20 minutes later, when we were already at church (we cut it super close!) she was completely out and snoring on my lap. When we got home, she was excited to get Lainie in her pajamas and played with the new bed for a few hours.
Maybe next year I'll give Santa back the glory, but I have to say that this was kind of addicting....