We started off the day with a candy cane (from strawberries and bananas) and hot chocolate. It was E's first time trying hot chocolate and she gulped it down.
After breakfast and playtime, I buckled down and began my Christmas baking. I waited until Christmas Eve because I wanted everything to be fresh for our Christmas celebration. I also made enough to give as gifts to some of our neighbors.
I tried all new recipes this year and everything was delicious!! I will definitely be making these again. We had candied almonds, peanut butter fudge, red velvet cheesecake brownies, sugar cookies, and christmas popcorn. I couldn't find any cute Christmas containers so I had to use these boring old foil pans but I doubt anyone cared. :)
Around 5:00 I finally finished baking and prepping for our Christmas Day meal. We spent some time playing before getting ready for an evening out.
Last year we were invited by a dear friend to go out for Christmas Eve dinner. We had such a lovely time that we decided to continue the tradition and do it again this year. Although we loved the location last year, we thought it might be nice to try somewhere different. And since we 100 percent believe the more the merrier, we invited Jesse's Marines to come along.
We put on our Christmas best (well, Emerson did) and snapped a few pictures before heading out to the hotel.
We had heard that many of the hotels decorate for Christmas but we were quite surprised at all of the beautiful decorations in the lobby. We were even more surprised to see a choir performing Christmas carols just as we walked in. Even though it wasn't exactly like what we would see at home, it really put us in the Christmas spirit even more. And Emerson was thrilled to see the choir singing and dancing.
They also had a little gingerbread house with snowmen in front. I think it was Emerson's favorite part of the night. She was in love with those snowmen.
While we were waiting for dinner to begin, Santa Claus made an appearance. We convinced E to sit on his lap but she wasn't really into it at all. She wasn't scared like she was last time, but she was just more interested in everything going on around her.
She was excited about the cookies he gave her, though.
After checking out the beautiful decorations we found our table and chowed down. It was a buffet, which really aren't my favorite, but the food was pretty good.
Jesse decided that E needed her first taste of chocolate fondue. Despite the look on her face, I can assure you that she loved it.
After we ate I left Jesse to chat with the Marines while E and I went back to look at the decorations. They also had a kids play area with a slide and rocking horse, so we hung out there for a bit. I chased Emerson all over that hotel lobby for about an hour. By then it was nearly 9 (two hours past bedtime) and she was exhausted. We knew we were headed for meltdown city if we didn't get home soon. So we took a few pictures in front of the tree and headed out.
We had planned on letting Emerson open one present that evening but she was so tired we decided that her last advent gift would be enough. It was baby Jesus- that last piece of her Little People Nativity. I love the look on her face when she saw it. So cute!
After she put him in with the rest of figures, we let her play for a few minutes before putting her to bed.
That night I could hardly sleep because I was just so excited about Christmas morning. It reminded me of when I was a kid and I couldn't sleep because I was waiting up for Santa.
I don't think we could have asked for a better Christmas Eve with our sweet girl. Perhaps the only thing that could have topped it would have been spending it with our families but hopefully we will get to do that next year!