Where do I begin with the holidays? October through December is my absolute favorite time of year. Football is in full swing, the weather is finally starting to cool down, leaves change, Halloween, fall and holiday desserts and drinks, Thanksgiving, and everything that comes with Christmas – Christmas movies, parties, buying gifts, drinking all the hot cocoa and egg nog – I could go on! Everything about the holiday season brings joy and inspires an attitude of giving and focus on Christ.
I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m always a bit bummed once Christmas has come and gone. I want it all to last longer, which is one reason why I tend to keep my tree up until halfway through January (the other reason is that I’m worn out and just don’t feel like taking it down yet). This is also why my tree goes up mid-November. I want to be able to sit by a beautifully lit tree for as long as possible. (When does yours go up?)
This year I used stickers from the Happy Planner Winter sticker book and Happy Year book to create a fun little Christmas bucket list page for my planner. We actually checked off all of these items, even if we waited until the very last minute to do some of them 🙂
We enjoyed a number of fun little Christmas get-togethers this past month. Our connect group at church has a ladies’ bible study each month, and this month we decided to do a “Favorite Things Party,” which I had the pleasure of hosting. Everyone brought a favorite Christmas inspired appetizer or dessert, and three wrapped gifts (they picked one favorite thing and brought three of them, wrapped separately). We drew names and each person went home with three new things. We enjoyed good food, lots of laughs, and great company. I even set up a fun little hot cocoa charcuterie board with crock pot hot cocoa (this recipe is sooo good!) I look forward to the fellowship of these ladies’ each month.
We enjoyed a nice Saturday evening “Friendsmas” with some new and old friends and all of our kiddos. 10 adults, 10 kids in one house! At least we weren’t outnumbered, although at times it seemed like it! We chowed down on delicious food and did a horrible gift exchange, which was hilarious (recommend if you’ve never done it!)
And finally, we had our annual church group Tacky Sweater Christmas party. This year I created David and my costumes to look like a Christmas tree and a present. David went all out with the tree skirt, bow head band, and super tacky woman’s sweater, and ended up winning the Men’s tackiest sweater award (ha!)
Something we’ve come to enjoy doing during the holiday season is grabbing some hot cocoa, getting in our jammies, and driving around to look at Christmas lights. Mix and Match Mama calls this “Jammie Cocoa Christmas” and it’s so much fun! The girls don’t like hot cocoa (crazy girls!) so they had cups full of egg nog and some cookies!
We enjoyed our first snow this month. It was a random afternoon snow, and we only got an inch or so, but it stuck enough for us to enjoy having snow ball fights. Hopefully this won’t be the only snow we see in Alabama this winter!
One thing that’s always on our Christmas bucket list is holiday baking. The girls like to help me make cookies and other goodies, and I let them help where they can. Of course, we’ve all got to get a spoonful of raw cookie dough!
This year I got the gingerbread kit from Target with 4 small gingerbread houses, one for each of us to decorate! This worked out great because the girls were pumped to get their very own house and weren’t fighting over who did what.
My siblings came in the weekend before Christmas so we got to spend several days with them. We decided to do a Family Grinch Night, which was a huge hit! We ate Grinch pancakes, Grinch treats, made a Grinch craft and watched the original Grinch (read more about it here!)
My mom made these adorable snowmen out of the kids’ gifts this year and they loved it! All the snowman pieces came from a snowman making kit, which we got to keep for whenever we actually get a big snow.
We finally made it down to the new Santa’s Village location at the Historic Huntsville Depot two days before Christmas. We got to make crafts, decorate cookies, play in the “snow,” and go through an icicle maze. We decided not to wait in line to see Santa since all the kids had seen him already this year. Audrey insisted on wearing the snowman hat and scarf, and I couldn’t stop smiling at how adorable she was.
We spent Christmas Eve at David’s parents’ house, celebrating with his parents and his sister’s family. As usual, the girls were obsessed with Baby Bailey!
Since Christmas was in the middle of the week and we had celebrated with our families, we were able to spend Christmas Day at home and not have to rush out anywhere, which was great! When the girls wake up on Christmas morning, we have them come to our room first, This gives us time to get out of bed, brush teeth, go potty, and all that before they run out and start tearing into things. Then we have them sit on the stairs, snap a quick picture, then let them run in to see what Santa brought. This has become a fun little tradition – I love seeing the excitement on their faces!
This year Raley asked for a scooter from Santa, and Audrey asked for a “pink and white bike with a basket for Brr.” At first she asked for a “Brr bike” (Brr is her pink stuffed elephant) but I tried to carefully tell her that I didn’t think Santa made “Brr bikes.” But Santa delivered and she and Brr have had a wonderful time riding around the neighborhood in her new bike.
One project that has taken a good three weekends to complete is creating a playground area for the girls in the backyard. We had planned on getting them a swing set for Christmas, and we wanted to create a designated play area for it, rather than just building it on the grass. This will allow us to put other bigger toys in this space and not kill the grass (or look super tacky). It ended up being a much bigger project than we thought, and the weather wasn’t super cooperative, but it’s finally finished and I couldn’t be happier with the final product! My parents came over Christmas day and we spent the afternoon building as much of the swing set as we could.
It’s hard to believe the holiday season is over already, and tomorrow the kids go back to school. But this coming week we get to celebrate something else – Audrey’s birthday! She’ll be 4 tomorrow, and she couldn’t be more excited. And I’m excited to take her out and make her feel special on her day (and probably all week, because that’s how we do birthdays around here.)
I hope everyone had a great Christmas and a Happy New Year! Do you make New Years Resolutions? I don’t typically do resolutions, but I do set goals for the year. I hope I do better this year than I did last year!