We had a good holiday. We learned some things from last year and kept things very low-key this year. We didn't get a Christmas tree until ten days before Christmas. We didn't put any gifts under the tree until Christmas Eve. A few boxes that arrived in the mail were put briefly under the tree, but then D had a huge meltdown over his breakfast choices and I realized it was really about the boxes and put them safely away. The weekend before Christmas we drove down to Virginia to visit grandparents and friends; the 65-degree weather was beautiful and we enjoyed the weekend and the distraction. When we came back the kids both decided to spend the day before Christmas doing homework packets as a way to soothe holiday nerves - you can call addition worksheets many things, but "filled with anticipation" is not one of them. We let Christmas sneak up on us stealthily, and that worked for us.
The evening before Christmas we had our now traditional Ethiopian feast. Christmas morning we opened presents, then we spent the day playing games. Right after opening new games and toys the kids wanted to play with old ones - another way to lessen anxiety about the unknown. Eventually we moved on to the new things, racetracks were set up, helicopters were flown, and it was a great day.
On New Year's we went to our neighbors' house for a party. I had the kids nap with me in the afternoon. A actually stayed up until midnight, having a blast. We arrived at the eleventh hour to the "Year of the Selfie" and had lots of fun with the camera. D crashed in a corner, but woke up at midnight for the Happy New Year's. New Year's Day we took the train to Philly and caught part of the Mummers Parade.
In between there were museum visits, bounce houses, play dates and lots and lots of Star Wars. My goal was to keep the kids busy but relaxed and myself sane. T was also able to take time off here and there and be around for lots of family time. It was a good break.