Nothing gives me the warm and fuzzies more than remembering Christmas Eve / Christmas morning growing up. My parents made it so special. We’ve always celebrated Christmas Eve in a big way, in part because we tended to have extended family gatherings on Christmas day, and in part because (I think?) it was an Italian tradition we inherited from my sweet Italian grandmother to celebrate the Eve. We’d go to an early anticipatory Mass, and then have a delicious dinner my mother had been slaving over all day (with Martinelli’s sparkling apple cider out of champagne flutes, which felt ridiculously fun as a child) and loads of cookies afterward. Then, we’d each open a handful of presents from family friends / grandparents, saving the rest for the morning after, which was genius because it meant we’d get through all the boring socks and sweaters but would still have the thrill and promise of the good presents from Santa the next morning.
I particularly recall Christmas Eve from the room my sister and I shared for many years — we would giddily stare out the window hoping to catch a glimpse of Santa and his sleigh, sleeping fitfully and waking each other up off-and-on until we’d finally made it to 6 A.M., when we’d make the rounds waking up the rest of our siblings (five of us in total, holy moly). There’s this feeling of adrenaline and exhaustion I remember so clearly from Christmas morning — the sun not yet up, the sky a weird periwinkle color just suggesting the beginning of dawn, a nip of cold in the air, the hushed and excited whispers of my siblings and I as we’d eagerly collect at the top of the stairs while my father would trudge downstairs to set up the video camera. My mom had a navy blue robe with white piping that I strongly associate with these Christmas mornings. And then, finally, we’d get the go ahead to race down the stairs. But before we could tear into the gifts we’d ogle at with wide eyes, my mom would instruct us to place baby Jesus in the manger of her creche (she has an exquisite, stunning porcelain creche by the Spanish designer Lladro) and sing him happy birthday. It was SO painful at the time — we’d race through the song at about 34 beats per second — but I now appreciate her insistence that we understand Christmas is not all about the gifts. And then, finally, it was time to dig in.
Is there anything better than turning the corner and seeing a brand new pink bike with your name on it? Or a pink Barbie house just for you? Or an entire Playskool kitchenette just your size? AHHH. My parents really did Christmas right. There were always these big and extravagant treats waiting for us and we’d play for hours around the tree. My Mom said we were always very gracious, even about the littlest things in our stockings–like rolls of scotch tape. We’d say: “Look, Mom! TAPE!!!!”
At any rate — reliving these memories makes me excited to share some gift ideas for the mini set — so here goes!
Is there anything more classic than a Radio Flyer wagon ($69)?! (Or $127 for the one with wood paneling.) The answer is no. I love the image of one of these under a tree with a pile of presents in it.
For religious-minded families, this little Giving Manger ($35) would be such a thoughtful gift. It’s described as “a fun + interactive Christmas tradition that will help families focus on giving and the true meaning of Christmas.” I believe you add a piece of straw to the manger each time one of the minis does something sweet/generous.
The CUTEST kids jammies ever from Roberta Roller Rabbit ($65). Also love this truck pattern from Winter Water Factory for a boy ($44) or this unicorn-print set from Oeuf for a girl (on sale for $43).
Oh and p.s. — RRR also creates kids’ teepees ($160) in the same print, and they are freaking adorable. Wouldn’t you have loved to have a teepee in your room when you were a kid? To hide out in and draw / read? Land of Nod also has some great teepees in adorable prints ($159), and don’t even get me started on their playhouses (OMG!)
Speaking of zzzs, how freaking adorable are these little animal slippers (on sale for $12)?
Personalized wood puzzles ($30)? I feel like my nephews (both under the age of 2) would love these!
No childhood should go without Lincoln Logs (on sale for $21). I’m delighted to see they haven’t updated the packaging in decades. Legos (the reindeer!!!) or Duplos, depending on age, are also always in style.
These hand-crocheted veggies ($28) are just too much for me. I mean LOOK at the attention to detail! They are gorgeous! And my little nephew is very into helping his dad garden…
I was obsessed with my American Girl doll, Samantha, and was thrilled to see they still carry her ($115), albeit in different clothes! Epic gift for a little girl. They carry a ton of new styles, including ones you can customize to look like you! Crazy.