This year we were away on vacation over the Christmas break and we spent the big day in Santa Barbara. The idea of staying in a hotel room over Christmas felt a little weird so I organised a house through AirBnB to stay in rather than a hotel. The logistics of Santa visiting us while we all slept in the same hotel room just seemed too tricky plus I wanted to be able to make a traditional Christmas lunch. I found a cute house on AirBnB that was perfect for our family and the owner was even kind enough to leave up their Christmas tree and decorations for us. That certainly made it feel more like Christmas for the kids.
Christmas morning the girls awoke bright and early and couldn't wait to go downstairs to see if Santa had visited. Back home they had left a note for Santa letting him know where we would be staying and asking him just to bring small presents to us. Any larger present could be left at home under our own tree.
The girls were treated to all sorts of fun presents from Santa, Kim and I, and each other. Ava hit the jackpot with a Surface tablet from Kim and I - which means I no longer have to share my Macbook with her. A present for us both! She also received a karate outfit, swimsuit and swim accessories for her American Girl doll.
Lola also received a karate outfit for her American Girl doll along with an American Girl sleeping bag and another outfit, a unicorn book and a Frozen doll. There were a few tears when Lola discovered that Ava's American Girl doll accessories came with more charms than hers. She wasn't concerned by the number of presents (which were even) but purely by the fact that Ava's doll now had one extra charm (the charms come with selected American Girl outfits). I couldn't resist sharing this photo of how upset Lola was over the charms. She got over it pretty quickly though.
Mathilde received rainbow stacking blocks from Santa, a screen-printed bib from Kim and I, a toy camera from Ava and a toy phone from Lola. Of course, she still prefers to try and play with my real phone and camera! Babies are smart - there's no fooling them!
Our friends Amy and Andrew were visiting California from London so they joined us for Christmas lunch which was lovely. They brought a Christmas pudding and fruit mince pies with them which was fantastic as those tasty items are hard to find here. We enjoyed a delicious lunch and then headed to the beach in the late afternoon.
Ava and Lola were in agreement that the best part about our vacation was the fact that they would get to celebrate Christmas again when we got home! We arrived home late on New Year's Eve and the girls headed straight to bed - but not before checking that Santa had indeed visited while we were away. There were presents under the tree so that was a good sign!
On New Year's Day the girls were up bright and early again and eager to go unwrap the presents under the tree - our crunchy, not watered in 9 days tree. Good thing it was still standing. I had half expected to return home to a dead tree laying on top of the presents!
The girls were all pretty excited by what they found under the tree. Ava received a chess and checkers set from Santa, and a knife set and cook book from Kim and I.
Lola received a set of Magnatiles from Santa and a play stove and accessories from Kim and I.
Mathilde received a rocking horse from Santa and a Toddler Wobbler walker from Kim and I. I just might be regretting the decision to give Mathilde a walker at 8 months as she's toddling all over the apartment with it now. I'm sure it won't be long before she steps away from it and takes her own steps.
Ava made pop up drawings for Kim and I for Christmas and these were on display next to the tree for us. I love how she always draws my hair two tone with the yellow at the bottom!
Two Christmases for three very lucky little girls. I hope you all enjoyed the holidays too.