Christmas, despite our best efforts, turned out not exactly like we planned. We'd hoped to get the girls out to visit Santa earlier in the month, but one thing after another kept us from getting to it and then a small neighborhood emergency kept us from even going on the 23rd like we'd planned. So we did something completely stupid and went to a mall on Christmas Eve to see Santa.

::insert needle scratching on record sound here*::

I KNOW! Right?

It actually didn't end up being that bad as I have learned the secret to going anywhere in the D.C. metro area and having a semi-enjoyable time: show up before 10:00 am and leave before noon.

So we got up early, dressed the girls in their Christmas dresses*** and headed off to the mall to see Santa while spending much of the car ride explaining that we were not, in fact, going to church. (Possible resolution for 2011: have children occasionally wear nice clothing on days other than Sundays.) We were there way before his fireside seat even opened, and were the first in line which is probably why we got such a great picture. No waiting.

The Dormouse had been wondering what Figgy Pudding was and because I'd never had it either, and I didn't learn my lesson from the Sugar Plums, I agreed to find a recipe on the interwebs and make some:

Verdict: meh.

It's edible if you put enough butter and whipped cream on it, but then again, I could probably eat my husband's sneakers with enough butter and whipped cream, so I don't think that's high praise. I'll take my extra holiday calories in the form of sugar cookies with lots of icing, please.****

That evening, the sugar plums came in handy because I'd totally forgotten to get any cookie-like sustenance to leave out for Santa and - oh, you didn't know? - I hear he really likes sugar plums. Don't think about how convenient that happens to be. I'm hoping my children won't.

It's not healthy food, but there are fruits and nuts, so I'll bet it's healthier than cookies.

We took some time to write our notes to Santa. Some of us had more specific questions...

...than others.

Then we hung all out stockings by the chimney TV with care.

We still have no idea which stocking belongs to whom.

The next morning, Santa had indeed come. Glory be!

Not all of us were ready to get up at 6:00 am with the little girls...

...but once you open a gift or two, you perk up a bit.

There was dancing with Daddy in the living room to Christmas songs...

and exploring new lands.

Santa managed to bring some of the things on The List (which by now had about ten more things than when you saw it here).

A very, very, large diamond.

The infamous old-fashioned milk can. (No, I do not know what she intends to do with this. Just be impressed Santa found one because I am.) Also: we're calling that thing she's wearing a "blue and pink calico dress" just in case you ever run into us. Calico is surprisingly hard to find.

There were also tearful thank-yous for thoughtful gifts from younger sisters.

This is maybe my favorite Christmas memory ever.

Then were were all so exhausted...

we went out for Chinese food, 'cause that's how we roll.

*I fully realize no one reading knows what that actually sounds like.**
**I am old.
***read: normal dresses that they've worn all year long but which I have now dubbed "Christmas dresses" because they're "special"
****No really... please. This is my shameful attempt to get more Christmas cookies.