Sunday, December 1, 2013

Let the Christmas Countdown Begin

Ah yes, December seems like it took forever to get here, didn't it? (well I suppose it took 11 months as it always does...) Thanksgiving this year was wonderful; full of delicious food, bubbly wine, close family and friends, and we ended the night with a trip to the Christmas house where we all sat drinking hot chocolate and watched a fantastic light and music display.

Black Friday came and went without too much excitement; other than a quick trip to Menard's for a few Christmas gifts later in the day, we stayed home and didn't do a whole lot. Saturday we went and had family pictures done which I can't wait to see. We spent an hour playing at the playground and park while she snapped our pictures.

Today Hunky Hubby and the kiddos decorated the front of the house for Christmas; I still have to put the swag up around the mailbox and hang some giant ornaments from the tree, but we're all set outside. As for inside, we're taking our time. Putting things up a little at a time, leading to the big event of putting up the Christmas tree. Last year was our first year getting a real tree and we loved it so much we decided we'd do it again this year. We have a Christmas party at General Mills on the 21st and then we'll go grab our tree and spend the afternoon decorating it, listening to Christmas music, and watching a movie or two...maybe even "The Polar Express" as the kids have been begging for since about October 12th haha.

A few years ago we started a new Christmas tradition with the family; we try to watch a Christmas or holiday movie every night leading up to Christmas, it doesn't always work that way but it's become such an integral part of our holiday celebrations that we all look forward to it once December rolls around. We cheated a little and watched a few specials this past week, but we'll be kicking the whole thing off on Tuesday night (daddy has to bowl tomorrow night) with a full length holiday movie. I love this tradition and hope that it's one the kids won't grow out of as they get older.

This year the Christmas budget is tight; earlier this year we decided that we want to treat the kids to experiences rather than gifts, so we took a nice trip to gorgeous upstate New York where we all got to know the greats better. Quite frankly that's the only Christmas gift Geo and I needed. It was amazing to get to see Grandma in her kitchen and see Gramps reading on the porch and putting a place with the stories we'd all heard so much about. The kids will never forget their week with the greats in the mountains; I suspect they'll tell their own children about it. We took a trip to Michigan to see family, we had a lot of fun with friends and family all summer long. We really discovered what HAPPY is. It's not about the amount of gifts under the tree, it's not about the money we spend on ourselves, it's being surrounded with love and laughing and hugs and kisses and joking with people and scaring people at restaurants because you're laughing so hard. It's about bowling on Fridays with people you adore, it's about coloring with your friends and running to the park so fast you can't catch your breath, and dancing with the dog. It's being content with what you have and knowing that you have enough just because you have those things: love and family and friends and experiences.

Will the kids get anything under the Christmas tree? Fear not six regular readers (maybe that's generous on my part haha) They will have gifts under the tree. We opted to budget for one large special gift and one or two smaller gifts this year rather than spreading the budget thin. They're getting older and have gotten to the point where one or two meaningful gifts is what they love rather than ten or fifteen "generic" types of gifts. Barbies and cars are fun but they really do love the gifts that a lot of thought are put into. I cannot wait to see their faces when they unwrap the special gift this year. *I* may be more excited at this point than they are.

I'm going to try to be better about keeping this updated more often through the holiday season...even if it's just a picture or two. Have a wonderful holiday season everyone.

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