Since we have four adopted kids all who have special needs, two of them have birthdays, one adoption was final during the last week in December we have a lot to celebrate. We do celebrate all of these things, but we do it our way. There is much routine here and we keep things the same for the holidays as well.
!. We have the same get up time in the morning and the same bed time too.
2. We draw names so each person is responsible for the gift or gifts for only one other person. This teaches the kids that they have to save their own allowance to go shopping. For the kid who has lots of anxiety in the store we let her shop on line.
3. We attend children's mass on Christmas Eve because it is geared toward younger kids, is a little shorter, and is at a good time for us.
4. Since Allen`s birthday is also Christmas Eve I have something in the oven to eat after church. We let him open his birthday gifts (wrapped in birthday paper) and then we load up the van, turn on Christmas music, and drive around looking at the lights while eating a plate of cookies we bring along. It is Allen`s day and he is perfectly happy with this celebration.
5. Santa has left presents for everyone under the tree Christmas morning. This Santa is very practical. They get things like tooth brushes, deodorant, pencils, socks, t-shirts, etc, etc, that the mom and dad would have to purchase if Santa did not. They will all get something that they do not need such as a gas card for the drivers, the purchase of the high school year for the junior,etc. Santa wraps everyone`s gifts all in the same paper for example Karie's is red plaid and Lauren`s is silver with snowmen this year. There are no name tags to mess with, how you figure out which one is yours is by digging in the stocking and finding a little gift wrapped in your paper.
6. To save on the chaos of opening gifts the youngest goes first and opens all of his and then we move up the line from there. Everyone to the best of their ability, waits until all gifts are open before leaving.
We do not go to visit the relatives during this last week in December because there are to many of them and we do not exchange gifts other then with the kids Godparents. They now understand that our kids can`t handle the get togethers at this time. Now that our kids are getting older and we are dealing with girl friends/ boy friends they know the routine and are welcome to be there but if they choose to have other plans that is okay as well. We will be home for them when they want to be here.