Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Favorite Christmas Moment

This year the girls' Christmas lists looked something like this:


Maybe a bed for my AG Doll
Maybe some clothes
Maybe some make-up
Maybe some books

(She's always been like this...very rarely outright says she wants something...kind of difficult to buy for!)


An American Girl Doll piano

(Yep. That's it.)


A Littlest Pet Shop
A Bed for Lainie
A Barbie
A Monkey Blanket
A Snow Globe
An iPad

(Very funny, Sophia!)

We had been saving up for the AG stuff we knew they wanted so badly and Santa was all set to deliver the goods. Until one day when I was out shopping for stocking stuffers. While I was walking around the store I thought about how I wasn't sure of Bria's belief in Santa Claus. Then I thought about how I found a note that Chloe wrote to herself that said she wasn't sure if there's a Santa or not. Then I thought about how the only other gifts they were getting from us were a book for each of them and one other small thing (jeans for Bria, Mancala for Chloe and the monkey blanket for Sophia) and I decided that I didn't want Santa to get all the credit for the American Girl stuff. Maybe that's weird, but I went through a thought process right there in ShopKo which included the fact that I have been downplaying Santa this year anyway in trying to keep the focus of Christmas on Christ, and I made a decision. So, I texted Joel my thoughts, bought some other gifts from Santa, and went on my merry way.

I knew that I'd still need to put together the piano and the beds before Christmas, so we weren't trying to do that on Christmas morning. Besides, the impact is always so much more fun when it's all ready to go, don't you think? So, Joel and I decided to do a treasure hunt. On Christmas Eve, after the girls were all sleeping, we went down and began the fun.

The girls had gone to sleep with their dolls (as usual), but we took them and put each one on her new bed or piano, which were all set up in Sophia's closet. I was hoping the girls wouldn't notice that the dolls were missing on Christmas morning in the midst of all the excitement, but "Where's my doll?" was the first thing to come out of Bria's mouth when she woke up. Joel and I just shrugged our shoulders and said we had no idea where the dolls had gone...

We went down to see what Santa had brought, and while they were happy with their gifts, there was a little bit of disappointment that the doll furniture was nowhere to be found. Chloe began to open her stocking and tried to maintain a super happy attitude by saying, "It's okay that I didn't get the piano." I know she knew it wasn't under the tree, because she is the kid that goes through and shakes, sorts and resorts every gift a hundred times before Christmas.

All was well, though, because lots of wonderful things were under the tree. My parents had given them each several American Girl outfits for their dolls (they are so addicted) and that was awesome. They enjoyed all of the other gifts they received from us and others and it was a wonderful Christmas morning. There really wasn't any more hint of disappointment regarding the hoped-for furniture.

Which was all part of the plan! The last gift to be brought out was a tiny little box that said

"To: All the Girls, From: Mom & Dad."

In it was a clue which sent them to the door where all the Christmas Cards are hung. There they found another clue which sent them to my bedroom mirror. And upstairs to the bathroom. Back down to the kitchen...

This video starts while reading the clue they found under the kitchen table. It's the last clue, and they have some sense of that, so it's pretty funny when they all start running upstairs to Sophia's room. The moment when they open the door to the closet is DEFINITELY my favorite moment of the entire year. And I have to admit, I kind of like getting the credit. As much as I love Santa, it's nice for the girls to know that Mom & Dad really will get them the things that they want so badly, and that we absolutely love doing it.

Oh, and, don't worry about Sophia. We got up super early and she had been sick. I think things were just really overwhelming for her right then. 20 minutes later, when we were already at church (we cut it super close!) she was completely out and snoring on my lap. When we got home, she was excited to get Lainie in her pajamas and played with the new bed for a few hours.

Maybe next year I'll give Santa back the glory, but I have to say that this was kind of addicting....
Lara Neves
Lara Neves

Lara is mom to three daughters—two teens and a tween. She loves to share her parenting and homemaking triumphs and failures here at Overstuffed! She was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2015 and has been fighting it ever since. When she isn't working on her mother of the year award, you can find her reading, singing, or taking photos.


  1. Ha Ha I love it!!
    I have to agree. At some point when my kids were all home and little I thought the same thing - Here we struggle and save and then Santa gets the credit - No way!

    I love the surprise you gave your girls! What a Happy Christmas.

  2. That was great. I love that you recorded it and shared it. It made me happy all over just watching! Thank you.
    We don't do Santa here. I mean, I don't ever say he isn't real, and when the kids talk about him or ask about him, we talk about the true meaning of Christmas. Some people say I am robing them of the magic, but I don't think I am. I just don't want to lie to the kids. I know, I am weird. at any rate, they never get gifts from Santa, but I don't go around telling them that Santa isn't real. And yes, the gratitude and joy directed at me may have something to do with it.

  3. I don't like santa getting all the credit either so he only brings one big gift each year and the rest are from us. My friends dad makes american girl doll furniture and we got Elodie a picnic table. She loves it and was totally surprised by it. And the best part was it only cost me $20!! So fun!

    P.S- Do you have any secrets to keep the AG doll hair nice when the girls sleep with them? We had to make a rule that "Emma" can't sleep with Elodie because her hair gets all ratty. I've done the fabric softener trick and that seems to work well. Thoughts? Advice?
    P.S.S- I love that Bria still loves her AG doll.

  4. My girls totally love their AG dolls too! This year I bought a whole set of outfits from Vision Forum when they were half off - 15 outfits for $150. It was a lot of money but evened out at $10 an outfit. And they are gorgeous! Not official AG outfits but lots of "costumes" like medieval princesses, to Heidi, to southern bells, Sacajawea, and more. They girls received them for Christmas and were ecstatic. I also told them that meant I never want to be asked again to sew another outfit for their dolls. :)

  5. Oh, and the scavenger hunt idea is awesome!

  6. What a fun idea!!! I love that it was from you and not Santa and I LOVE the scavenger hunt/clues! That will be such a memorable Christmas for your girls :)

  7. What an exciting surprise for your girls! I bet that one will be a memory they will remember forever! Great idea!

  8. I knew early on there was no Santa because my Mom spent the effort coming up with little rhymes/clues that we had to solve and looking for Christmas presents turned into a fun game. It also made Christmas morning last longer! My parents recorded it so we could watch it later in life. I'm sure your daughters will remember this as well!

  9. Thats really good!! so very awsum! :)

    Following you! :) Do follow back if you like ;)


  10. I love that instead of picking up their new things right away they immediately came back and hugged you. What sweet grateful girls.