Every year, Sarah's side of the family has a Christmas party. This tradition started with my Dad's parents and I can't remember a Christmas party throughout my childhood when we didn't have a special visit from the Jolly Old Elf. I still remember the anticipation of Santa's arrival. The excitement would build from the moment we arrived at wherever the party was being held, through dinner until we finally would hear a loud HoHoHo and the jingle of his bells as Santa walked through the door. All of the cousins would come running to greet him! We couldn't believe that he was taking time out of his busy schedule to come visit with us. It truly was magical.
We were able to have our party this last weekend and all of my in state siblings and their families were able to come. It's always a hoot when the family gets together. The kids were trying to keep busy after dinner and could barely contain their excitement as they waited for Santa. Finally one of the kids shrieked gleefully that they saw Santa! "He's here! He's here!" they shouted as they ran through the house gathering up all of their cousins. Sure enough, Santa did not disappoint! He came with a present for each one of the kiddo's. Santa told us a couple of jokes that Mrs. Claus had helped him with and then each kid was called up to sit on Santa's lap and have just a minute to whisper (or shout) what they were hoping he would bring them this year. As they hopped off Santa's lap he gave them each a small present.
Wade was actually the first to be called this year and his face lit up when he realized Santa actually said his name. The rest of the adults don't typically sit on Santa's lap so he was really surprised. I didn't hear what he asked Santa for this year but Wade assured him he has been good so Santa said he will see what he can do. After all the kids (& Wade) had their turn receiving their gifts, Santa had us all sing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. He even brought props! Antler headbands for the kids and one bright red nose. They loved that they got a second chance to be near Santa.
Santa also let the kids ask a few questions and responded so cleverly that he had them all giggling! Before Santa said goodbye, he took a few minutes to remind us all about the reason for the season. Even with all that fun, Santa had one more surprise up his sleeve, he handed out candy canes as he was getting ready to leave. Santa wished us all a Merry Christmas and with a few more jingles from his bells he was gone!
The kids all opened their presents and excitedly showed each other what Santa had brought them. As we all watched the joy and mayhem, I overheard one of my cute little nieces say, "I love Santa and he knows me. Santa! I know him!" And then she broke into excited little giggles. She continued to talk about how she hoped everyone got what they wanted and if someone didn't know Santa she would probably be able to find him again so they could tell him what they wanted too... She melted my heart.
This is by far one of my favorite traditions! I love that we have continued it through the years as I get to see and relive the awe and excitement every year through my nieces and nephews...and Wade :)