Last night Derek and I celebrated our "Christmas Just the Two" for the second time and continue enjoying that new tradition of ours. Speaking of traditions, for the first time ever, I'm hosting our Christmas Eve Eve dinner - just a simple meal, I think it came about when I was in college and looking for extra family activity but I'm thrilled to be hosting (especially since this is my first Christmas "Eve Eve" not at home - we'll be heading over there tomorrow!)
Lots to catch up on from the holiday season (and also unexpectedly, lots of tradition sharing), so here we go.
Most recent first, right?! Yesterday was my last day at the office for a few hours and other than a couple hours next Tuesday, it's time for Christmas vacation until the new year!! My mom always has the best holiday outfits and yesterday we both ended up wearing plaid for the final morning.
Christmas Light Night:
This one we've been doing for years - some times on my birthday, sometimes Christmas Eve, sometimes just a random night. Now Derek and I still do it too. Friday night we stopped by Christmasland at the farm near my parents to pick up some stocking stuffers and headed out on our ride around town with Stella. And hot chocolate.
Second Annual Family Christmas Dinner:
We've had many Christmas traditions for years that we continue to carry on in my family and once Derek joined we didn't alter them much but we did add in just one more - a family Christmas dinner in early to mid December. This was our second year to all get together at the mall for a little shopping then to Maggiano's for a delicious italian feast.
Angel Tree Gifts:
One of my favorite parts of December is shopping for our angel tree gifts. Derek and I spent plenty of time picking out a bunch of little goodies for our angels. I always love how pretty our church looks in the month of December too.
I haven't been shy on my love for wrapping and usually it's done before the last minute. This year I've set up a little wrapping station in my office (I'll miss it but also be happy to get things tidy) and have gotten paper and tags on the boxes but for the sake of time, I'm saving the bows to do on Christmas Eve once I get to my parents house.
I shared after Thanksgiving how we had made our batches of my family's Christmas drink, Christmas Cheer. It has to sit for two weeks and on Monday we enjoyed our fist glasses. It's quite strong and quite tasty and will be a staple around here over the holiday break.
Derek and I literally fight over who moves Santa each day! My mom has two advent calendars and each year on Christmas Eve/Day I hurry down to be the first one to move the mouse/snowflake - these little calendars are a huge favorite of mine.
I'm really going to miss this view! No presents under the tree?! I am not a fan of presents under the tree until Christmas morning, even though most people are. Growing up all the presents "appeared" after we went to bed on Christmas Eve and I love it that way. Plus it keeps things cleaner :) (just dog toys - Stella's toy bin is right next to the tree)
Like I said on Monday, I had the best time celebrating my birthday. "Cheersing" to me with one of my favorite drinks with my favorite people - what more do I need!?
Last weekend (in the crazy mild weather) we wanted to spruce it up a bit and added some extra lights to the bare tree and bushes and hung these little evergreen balls on each light opposite our garage.
A couple weeks ago in the miss of the Christmas chaos, Derek got a new car! We've had a great time cruising around in it. Now that I think of it, I've yet to drive it so I'll need to get on that over break!
During the busy weeks, some nights just call for a relaxing night in. Instead of just getting a pizza, we decided to try a couple different types of smaller ones by having a little buffet.
All these new recipes are fabulous (and I love baking them) but some times it's fun to just get back to basics and pick up a pack of the slice and bake cookies staring you right in the face at the grocery store.
I met my parents for Christmas errands and lunch two Fridays ago and we stumbled upon these darling holiday plates that look like both of our pups. If they weren't part of a set with two others we would have surely scooped these up. Speaking of pups, one little one had a mix up and we forgot to ask for a trim as opposed to her normal do. She knocked the bow out a day later and has her normal fluff back now in time for Christmas.
Some Christmas blooms to bring some life to the living room (a perfect touch to the decorations) and some rare downtime with my girl.
Last but not least, my parents holiday card! They have been doing a nice holiday card along with a holiday letter for years and years. My mom started a collection for both my brother and I and I love looking back on past years. I'm so glad Christmas cards have always been a big deal for me because now I take find such excitement in picking out my own for my little family. Sharing ours tomorrow...
'Tis the season… Just TWO days left!