Christmas Eve we woke up to discover our Elf on The Shelf, Buddy had brought our Christmas Eve box and a note. You can see the first week he was here, including his arrival on Thanksgiving or his second week of hijinks while he was here. I didn’t find the time to continue giving weekly updates on his locations.

I was exhausted most nights this month.

#ParentLife

buddy the elf of the shelf leaves Christmas eve note and gift

We have two traditions on Christmas Eve in our family. We get a Christmas box full of goodies to enjoy as a family, that night. And our daughter selects toys to go away with Santa.

This encourages her to give for good reasons, as well as helping us to get rid of some toy waste and clutter.

This is the first year we put an actual number goal for how many toys to remove from our house.

You can view the exact items inside the Christmas eve box by looking at my past post What I Got My family for Christmas, pics included.

buddy the elf of the shelf leaves Christmas eve note and gift

In case you’re wondering about his super suit. My brother bought him a cute super hero outfit to wear. My daughter found that I had it stashed in my dresser earlier this month, so the story has been that Buddy was keeping it put away until Christmas Eve so he could take it back to the North Pole with him.

So now we have to locate the pieces and leave them out for him.

Which means the rest of the day will no doubt, be me cleaning the house.

FUN.

struggle today strength tomorrow christmas story opening the christmas eve box family tradition
struggle today strength tomorrow christmas story opening the christmas eve box family tradition

This year our Christmas eve box included a movie we hadn’t seen before, a PJ set for everybody and was 100% Dairy Free! *Shocking, I know.* Especially since right on top is a Butter Lovers Popcorn. Snacks purchased at Dollar Tree.

After dinner, we all took showers so we could be squeaky clean in the new pajamas. And then we all gathered around the tv to load our faces with candy and watch Ghostbusters.

We had been afraid that the movie wouldn’t hold up to the originals (we’re big fans of the original Ghostbusters.)

Surprisingly, the movie held up on its own merit and the special cameo’s by the original actors was great.

The kids both looked super cute in their new pjs.

Sam was the most adorable little monster, but he’s a nudist at heart. So keeping him dressed was a challenge. He remained in the PJ’s most of the night with the hood down, I guess that was our compromise.

Emoji PJ’s for the win. A little big on her, but kids are known for growth spurts and she’s overdue for one here soon.

Towards the end of the movie, my daughter decided she wanted to do her bedtime routine so she could hug and kiss her elf goodbye.

She sat with him in her lap for awhile and watched the movie.

christmas eve movie family tradition budd the elf on the shelf struggle today strength tomorrow

My son was unable to stay awake for the whole movie, and passed out on the floor.

christmas eve movie family tradition struggle today strength tomorrow samuel passed out on floor

And then it was bedtime for the kiddo’s

But first, milk and cookies for Santa had to get set out, and reindeer food needed to be sprinkled outside.

christmas eve movie family tradition struggle today strength tomorrow milk and cookies for santa

As much as I was ready for bed at this point, I had to stay awake like a real adult and wait until all kids were asleep.

I prepped the red velvet cake overnight cinnamon rolls. Washed a sink full of dishes, prepped the coffee pot and rotated laundry. Picked up all the popcorn and candy from the floor. By time I was done with all of that, it was time for putting out the presents.

My husband and I went to the garage and took everything out of hiding. Set it up as I had planned in my head.

I think the kitchen set grew..

The next morning, my husband pushed the coffee brew button, preheated the oven and took the cinnamon rolls out of the fridge. While the kids and I got ready to go out and see what magical scenery awaited us.

On the front lawn, laid a bell with red ribbon. Obviously, it was dropped from the reindeer last night.

christmas eve movie family tradition struggle today strength tomorrow milk and cookies for santa

The milk and cookies were gone!

christmas eve movie family tradition struggle today strength tomorrow presents out by the tree

The kitchen set had play toy foods in the fridge, hidden for a surprise. Two snowmen of gifts from us to the kids. Stockings stuffed by Santa. Santa wrapping paper covers the two gifts each that he got for them. Gifts from distant relatives has been mailed to us this month. So we set them out too.

The cheapest Christmas we’ve ever had and it was amazing.

My daughter got “pranked” with the top head of her snowman being a trash bag box. Her face was priceless. Inside was her “something to wear” gift.

My daughter got "pranked" with the top head of her snowman being a trash bag box. Her face was priceless. Inside was her "something to wear" gift.

She really thought she was given trash bags. Oh my gosh, I couldn’t stop laughing. I didn’t intentionally do this either.

The Red velvet cake cinnamon rolls turned out great.

I made a vegan buttercream frosting for them and dyed it green so it was festive. For the Printable Recipe to make these rolls, click HERE.

The Red velvet cake cinnamon rolls turned out great. I made a vegan buttercream frosting for them and dyed it green so it was festive.

We played Christmas music on the TV for the next few hours.

The kids played with their new toys.

The kids played with their new toys. struggle today strength tomorrow

Us adults we sat around playing Words with Friends 2. A mobile Scrabble type game.

Adult gift exchange

I showed what I got every member of my family in a past post. Raving about how funny it was, that none of them would see the posting either. I completely forgot that my sister had been following me on Pinterest. She saw her gift weeks ago, so I hardly got a reaction out of her.

struggle today strength tomorrow how to make a rustic wall hanger christmas gift on a budget

While I didn’t, get a reaction from her, she still said she loved it. And she already knew where to hang it up at her apartment. So it’s still a win. P.S. you can see the tutorial for making this by clicking right here.

My brother on the other hand-

struggle today strength tomorrow brother opening gift cry single man

He guessed it was a scrapbook before he opened it. Claiming he’s a good present guesser. But after some page flipping, he got misty eyed. Being away from his kids on Christmas day is really hard on him. BTW he’s still single ladies.

Dinner was at 3pm

Not your traditional dinner, my dad cooked up salmon, wild rice and broccoli. *There’s a turkey and a ham in the freezer.* We watched A Christmas Story and played cards against humanity for a few hours.

struggle today strength tomorrow cards against humanity


By the time that the movie was over, we were all feeling worn out and tired. My sister and brother in law went home. The rest of us watched Marvels Infinity Wars on Netflix.

Not going to give any spoiler if you haven’t seen the movie. But I will say the way it ended left a bad taste in our mouths. Not the ending we wanted to our day.

My son completely devoured as many candy canes as he could get his little hands on. Left a sticky red mess everywhere. Luckily, it cleans up easy.

All in all, we had a really great family Christmas this year.

I hope your Holidays were just as pleasant.

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