A Very Christmasy Blog Post

(If you make it to the end you get some holiday home tour pics.)

Growing up in our house, the holidays were a pretty big thing. My mom is a teacher so when Fred & I were on winter break, she was home with us, too. Back in my day (😁) we didn’t decorate for Christmas before Turkey Day. Honestly, I don’t know how my mom fit all our Christmas fun into one month.

One evening in December we’d crawl into Dad’s truck and he’d take us to Fox’s Nursery to pick out a Christmas tree. Of course, once the tree was home you had to let it sit outside and “relax” the branches. A G O N Y for a child who wants to decorate it right. now. After a day or two Mom and Dad would wrestle the beast of a tree (always 7ft or taller) into the house and up to the living room. #yaysplitlevelhouses Then we’d decorate while sipping on eggnog.

For as long as I can remember, Mom has always made cutout cookies. She’d make the dough, refrigerate it (giving Fred and me about 24 to 48 hours to snack on it in the fridge when she wasn’t looking), and then we’d roll it out and punch out candy canes and trees and Santa sleighs. She’d get about an hour of decorating out of us before we got bored, swiped the 4 cookies we’d made, and disappeared to play while she finished up. To this day her cookies always look 5xs better than mine. I did not get the decorating genes.

Christmas Eve is my favorite, though. We’d always have a new outfit for the evening church service. We attended church with my grandparents and uncles and aunts so our pew was packed. At the end of a soft and cozy service, the lights would dim and we’d light our once-a-year personal candles and sing Silent Night. As an adult, my emotions sneak up on me and I cry during this part of the service. After church we’d shiver all the way back to the car and head to my grandparents’ house for sandwiches and punch and shrimp cocktail. My dad’s and uncle’s friends and their families used to come over, too. Then it was home to set out milk, cookies, and carrots, and off to bed.

When I was young & my grandparents lived in Chicago they’d travel to us on Christmas. (Some years we went there, but my memory is fuzzy on those years. They’ve since moved here.) My aunt and uncle from St. Louis would also come stay with us. That meant Audrey got displaced and tossed into Fred’s room since he had bunk beds. (I didn’t mind.) On December 25th around 4:30 or 5 am, Fred and I would creep to the top of the stairs and look down on the tree to see what Santa brought. (We were not allowed to go downstairs without the rest of the family.) We’d slip back to Fred’s room and lay in our bunks discussing what we saw. Mom’s rule was “sleep until (at least) 6am” so obviously at 5:55 were jumping on their bed and shoving their bathrobes in their faces. When we finally got them to the top of the stairs (6:08 am UGHHH) the morning was officially on and Christmas had begun!

The holiday has changed significantly, but these are my favorite memories from my childhood. Toss in shoveling the looong driveway we had and sledding on my grandparents’ big hill and Rascal bringing the Christmas tree down multiple times throughout the years. One year, the day after Christmas, we had to say goodbye to our family dog Bruno. Another year, also the day after Christmas, I totaled my car and spent the evening at the hospital. Not all my memories are happy, but the good outweigh the bad and my parents always figured out ways to keep the season cheery and festive.

For whatever reason, I just wanted to remember and share some of my favorite traditions of the season. And now, if you’re still here, enjoy some pics from the new house!

Why is this picture so terrible & blurry? I have no clue.

This is my “library” area, plus some dogs stuff and minus quite a few books (that are still packed up). We’re still needing to hang artwork and photos on the wall, too.

Happy Holidays, my friends! Enjoy the memories being made!

Linking up with Alexandra and Shea today!!

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Holiday Q & A with TBB

I’ve wanted to link-up with The Blended Blog for a while, but this is the first time I remembered! Just in time for the holidays…

1 Real or Fake Tree?
I hope that I will always be in the real tree camp. Growing up we always had one real tree in the house at Christmastime. I didn’t know multiple trees was a thing. As an adult, I admit that we have a fake tree at the PI office and a fake tree on the ledge at home. Our main tree in the living room will be 100% real, though (when we get it).

2 Favorite Christmas Cookie?
I’m boring. I love my mom’s iced cut-out cookies. So good 🙂

3 Home on Christmas Morning or Travel?
I guess we technically travel? We drive about 10 miles out of town to my parents’ house in the morning, then we spend the afternoon/evening at K’s parents’ house (which is about 5 miles from our house)… We consider those places “home”, though. And we do a quick gift exchange when we wake up at our house with each other and the pups!

4 Clear or Colored Lights?
Honestly, I kind of like color on a tree, but clear on a house. We stick to clear, though. K has always preferred clear.

5 Send Christmas Cards?
Yep. Every year. I looove sending & receiving cards!

6 Favorite Christmas Present Received?
Uhhh… I’ve added a lot of pets to my family in December so let’s go with that! Enzo & Ly both came home on the 7th, my mom got me a bird on the 23rd one year (Noel!), and I got a hamster for Christmas once (his name was Jazz but he wasn’t healthy and he died pretty quickly).
Edit: I was reading other answers from bloggers and I remembered that one year I got my first cell phone. That was awesome 🙂 Also, Erica gave me/us a Lylee ornament one year and it’s seriously one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever gotten!

7 Favorite Christmas Present Given?
Our first year together I made K a fleece tie-blanket. For some reason that’s one of my favorites because I was so happy to give it to him. I love finding the perfect thing for him.

8 Stockings or No Stockings?
Wait… why wouldn’t you do stockings?? Of course stockings!

9 Christmas PJ’s?
Kind of? Every year on Christmas Eve I wear my penguin pj pants to bed. I don’t know why I’ve deemed them the Christmas pants, but it’s become a thing for me. Lol

10 Favorite Christmas Carol?
I love ‘Angels We Have Heard On High.’ Most Christmas music makes me happy. Exception include: Santa Baby, Last Christmas, & All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.

11 Favorite Holiday Tradition?
I like picking out the tree with K (and sometimes a dog or two). I also love decorating my parents’ tree, which we go over and do each year. And Christmas Eve service at the church!

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Coming at ya from 2015

12 Early Shopper or Last Minute?
I get 75 to 80% of my shopping done early, but I fully utilized Amazon Prime til the end and I like popping into stores and seeing the decor.

13 Favorite Christmas Movie or Show?
The claymation movies are my favorite. A Year Without A Santa Clause, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, etc. I also love watching John Wayne movies on Christmas Day.

14 Favorite Holiday Beverage?
I love hot beverages so winter is really my time to shine 😉 Hot chocolate, hot apple cider, Starbucks Caramel Brulee latte. Anything spiked with Southern Comfort… ha.

15 Cookies and Milk for Santa?
Of course. And some carrots for the reindeer!

Well that was fun! 🎄

I’ll Be Home For Christmas…

Everyone’s posted a holiday home tour but me (or so it seems ). Let’s fix that!
(Check out other people’s houses, too! Mattie, Emily, Taylor, Michelle)

home_tour

Typically the decorations go up mid-November, but we don’t get our tree until December. This year we really procrastinated. I knew I wanted a smaller one this year (and we set up a larger one in K’s company office), but I don’t know that I was picturing it this small… Perks to buying your tiny tree the Saturday before the holiday weekend? We got it half off. Say hello to $10 ‘Ronald Trees-ley”:

ronald_trees-ley
Yep, he’s real. Both of them.

Ok… on to the house tour.

No house light this year. Just my sled & fox.
No house light this year. Just my sled & fox.
Favorite holiday spot in the house
Favorite holiday spot
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K and I are the snowmen, Ly is the “woof”, & Enzo is the fox

Ronald, Enzo, & Ly

If you missed it on IG here's one of my favorite ornaments!
If you missed it on Instagram here’s one of my favorite ornaments!
I think we have five nativity sets in our house...
I think we have five nativity sets…
home_tour_7
I love this little cutout in our house

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What a Christmas wreck... ha.
What a Christmas wreck… ha.

Where all the magic happens ;)

And there ya have it. We only decorate the first floor, although there is a pine candle in the basement. Sorry my pictures aren’t high quality… that’s just life!

. . .

I’m going to get religious for a minute.

I am a firm believer in faith by example. Rarely do I mention religion here on my blog, but I don’t shy away from identifying as a Christian. It’s my hope that through acts of kindness and openminded-ness toward others I get across what I believe to be the important parts of being a Christian. I think that being ‘Christian’ means knowing that you are flawed, seeking forgiveness and wisdom, and spreading kindness and love to the other flawed humans (and animals) on this planet. We’re meant to love and take care of one another. I don’t think Jesus cares if you voted Republican or Democrat (or Independent). That doesn’t make you a better Christian. I don’t think Jesus cares where (or if) you got an education. That doesn’t make you a better Christian. I don’t think Jesus cares about your skin color, gender, pay grade, criminal record, or hobbies. I think that Christianity is about serving Christ- and since we have no idea what He looks like or when He’ll appear, it’s best to serve one another with a happy, genuine heart.

All that to say, Merry Christmas, friends! (And if you celebrate a holiday other than Christmas, I welcome your festive greeting! I do not feel like there is a war being waged on me or the holidays I celebrate, and I hope you feel the same.) If you’ve ever thought about visiting a church you should slip into one on Christmas Eve and listen to the story of the birth of Jesus. If you live near me and you’d like someone to go with I’d be more than happy to have you along!

If you are not a Christian or you celebrate another event this time of year: Happy Holidays!  ❤︎

christmas

Regardless of your beliefs, spread a little love and cheer and kindness this weekend, friends! Thank you for your friendship here in Blogland ❤︎

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