Faith, Family

How We Christmas

It feels weird writing this after Christmas has passed, but now that all the festivities are over, I need to take a moment to collect my thoughts.

Christmas used to look the same for me every single year. My family are creatures of habit that don’t like or invite change. We had a few traditions we stuck to, but overall it was pretty basic and uneventful… not necessarily in a bad way, I just have never loved or enjoyed Christmas the way other people do. I always thought that when I grew up and had a family of my own that it would be different – that somehow Christmas would be so special. I married a guy who really likes Christmas, which you’d think would make the holiday season easier… but honestly I felt extremely uninspired this year, was hella stressed out, had a breakdown on Christmas day, and already took down all the decorations.

I’m truly relieved that Christmas is finally over and that makes me really sad which leads me to what this whole post is about – how I want to change the way my family does Christmas moving forward.

Jesus is the Reason for the Season

As a Christian, I participate in Christmas because it is the celebration of Jesus’ birth – when God gave us the greatest gift of all. With that being said, moving forward I want that to be at the core of why we do all of the things we do during this season.

Santa Free Zone

We don’t do Santa. Yep, I said it. I’ve never “played” Santa. I’ve never talked to Hazel about Santa. We have no Santa decor or books in our home. We also do not do Elf on the Shelf (side note: my mom has homemade elves that her grandmother sewed that have been in her family since she was a little girl. She inherited them and sets them up in funny places around the living room – wayyyy before elf on the shelf was a thing – and I hope to inherit them one day and do the same, but purely as a happy childhood memory). We don’t do Santa for many reasons, but this pretty much sums them all up: Christmas is about Jesus. Jesus was the greatest gift – He was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, and died as a sacrifice for all of us sinners. God sent us Jesus, so that we could have a relationship with Him. God provides us grace and forgiveness, so essentially we can receive the gift of Jesus whether we are naughty or nice.

Three Gift Rule

This is one that I have never done before, but am extremely excited to implement. I heard about a lady that only gives her kids three gifts on Christmas – her reasoning: Jesus’ received three gifts, so why would you get any more than him? I love love love this and think it’s brilliant and can’t believe I’d never heard of it before. Starting this next Christmas, we are going to do three gifts + stockings. Since Christmas is all about Jesus, this is a great way to weave his birth story into your festivities and keep the real meaning of Christmas on your mind and in your heart.

It’s Not Just a Tree

Last year, Hazel’s first Christmas and our first Christmas in our house, we started the tradition of going as a family to a tree farm and picking out a real tree. I’d never had a real tree growing up, so this tradition is really special to me. As our kids get older, I cannot wait to head up to the farm and let them work together on picking the right tree for us and then watch as Jeremiah cuts it down for us.

Decorating the Christmas tree has always felt like a chore to me. Growing up, I never put my ornaments in the right spot on the tree, so as I got older, I just stopped enjoying the act altogether and avoided it whenever possible. Well now I have a family who wants a decorated tree and I just dread it – this year our tree only had lights – but the more I have been thinking about Christmas and how it is about Jesus – I realized that the Christmas tree symbolizes Jesus’ death – the ultimate sacrifice. So moving forward, I won’t just be decorating a silly tree because everyone else is, I’ll be decorating a symbol of God’s love for me, so that I can look at it with awe and thanks and be reminded of what this little baby ultimately was born to do for me.

The Brighter The Better

Christmas lights are probably the best thing about Christmas for me. I love seeing the lights when I drive around at night. I feel like there are less and less lights every year which is disappointing, but only fuels me to try to make our house really bright. I wasn’t in the spirit this year, so we only did the lights around the edge of our house and some twinkly lights around our door. Next year, I hope to add some twinkly lights around our porch posts and outlining the windows. Eventually, I’m thinking we will needs lights down our front walkway as well as across our fence. Similar to our tree situation, the more I thought about what Christmas lights and how they could be connected to Jesus, I realized that in the Christmas story, the wise men follow a bright star to find the baby, that Jesus was the light of the world, and that Jesus calls us to be light in the darkness. Lights aren’t just lights after all.

Simple Christmas Day

Navigating family during Christmas can be tricky. We have a good family, but they can be overwhelming. One of the hardest parts of getting married for me is having to compromise – especially at holidays. I’m getting better and better at including my husband and meshing his traditions with mine, but I’m also an A+ people pleaser, so sometimes things get rocky when the extended family gets involved. Moving forward, I am going to be really straight yet firm about my family’s plans and festivities… we will do Christmas Eve with the whole family per tradition, but Christmas Day will look a bit different.

Ever since we got married, Jeremiah has been so kind to concede his Christmas Eve traditions for mine. But in doing that, I have tried to incorporate as much of his traditions into Christmas Day as I can, but that hasn’t always sat well with my family. Jeremiah’s always done a simple, lazy if you will, Christmas. They just kind of hang out together – watch movies, bake some cookies, play in the snow, whatever. So he really wants something reminiscent of that for us. At first it was hard to picture, because I come from a go, go, go family, but the more I thought about it – and after this latest Christmas – it sounds quite nice. So I’ve decided that starting this next Christmas, I will be creating a Christmas Day schedule. This will include breakfast (cinnamon streusel muffins – my tradition), opening presents at our own pace, late lunch (homemade pizza – Jeremiah’s tradition), nap + play games + do whatever, baking cookies, dinner (homemade pizza/sugar!!!) + watch It’s a Wonderful Life. These will be the activities – family is more than welcome to come for what they want to participate in, but I will not be bullied or guilt tripped into feeling bad for how our Christmas Day looks.

Misc.

Obviously, there will be other stuff, but I plan to keep it simple. We can go look at lights, see a nativity, attend Christmas Eve service, build gingerbread houses…. the lists goes on, but it’s going to more like, let’s do what we can and if we can’t get to it or don’t feel up to it, then we skip it. I want Christmas to be more Jesus and less pressure.

My hope is that the more we focus on Jesus and remember what we are actually celebrating, that magic of Christmas will become a lot more obvious. I’m actually looking forward to trying again next year.

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Merry Christmas to All

… and to all a good night!

I hope every single one of you has a very happy Christmas filled with family, fun, and love! And I want to remind you that on this day Jesus was born to die and save us all… he is the first and most amazing gift we could ever receive! ❤ ❤ ❤

Texas, Travel

New Traditions // Bowie, TX

To be frank, Texas isn’t the best place to be during Christmas if you want to experience a lot of holiday cheer, festivities, traditions, decorations… pretty much anything. It’s still pretty hot here, there is no snow, and there just isn’t much change when Christmas rolls around. Honestly, it breaks my heart. I’ve never been Christmas obsessed, but I appreciate it and get excited about it nonetheless.

Well, my husband loves Christmas. He’s one of those that wants to listen to Christmas music starting in July, watch Christmas movies year round, and prays for snow. His adorable giddiness when it comes to this holiday has made me begin to love this holiday. In the past, I have always been one of those anti-Christmas until after Thanksgiving people, but I confess that I got so excited this year, that I decorated a few days before Thanksgiving!

Anyway, since this is our first year in our house with our new baby, we decided to start some new traditions – one being to cut down a real Christmas tree!! Honestly, the tree has always been one of my least favorite parts of the holiday. My mom is one of those obsessive and anal tree decorators, so it’s too stressful to attempt, so I just leave it up to her. Growing up we always had a fake tree, so I thought what a great way to change my attitude toward the tree than to really mix it up and do the opposite of what I have always done. So I found a Christmas tree farm in Texas where we could pick out and cut down our own tree.

So we drove an hour North to an teeny tiny farm and found a cute little seven foot tree that would be all ours for the month. I wanted something quaint that wasn’t too daunting or overwhelming and we found the perfect one.

The fun really began on our way home. Jeremiah and I secured the tree to the top of our car and headed back. About twenty or so minutes down the highway, we hear a loud mmph. I look in the rearview mirror and there are tree is in the middle of the darn street! I kind of freak out and am about to cry when Jeremiah calms me down and tells me to pull over. I pull off, put my hazards on, and Jeremiah gets out and begins the trek back to where we lost our tree. I watch him the whole time flinching everytime it looks like a car is about to run our tree over; miraculously, no one did! In a break in the traffic, Jeremiah grabs the tree and hauls it back to our car. This time, we realize that the tree will fit in our back end, so we toss it in and head home.

Our tree is a trooper! We got it all set up in our living room and that night I decorated it without a care in the world to what it looks like and it brings me much joy!! 🙂

Nesting

House Item Haul #3 // Christmas Edition

Growing up decorating for Christmas was never much fun for me, because it was always my mom’s decorations and she was very particular. Then I moved out and lived in multiple small spaces, so I never had much room to decorate. So needless-to-stay decorating for Christmas has never been very high on my list.

My mom bought me my first Christmas tree my senior year of college – it was a mini white tree and bright colored ornaments – my kind of Christmas decor. I decorated and displayed it on my time and my terms and it so much fun. When Jeremiah and I got married we lived in a small apartment and I just didn’t have much space to decorate, so I got him a mini green tree and traditional colored ornaments and we displayed his and hers mini trees, stockings, and lights. So this year I have been chomping at the bit to turn our new home into a happy Christmas wonderland… and that I did!

Hobby Lobby
  • ‘O Holy Night’ Wooden Sign
  • ‘For Unto Us’ Wooden Sign
  • Package of Vase Filler
  • Days Before Christmas Sign
  • Pom Pom Garland
  • Shimmering Mini String Lights
  • Wooden Nativity Scene
  • Angel Tree Topper
  • Doormat
  • Stocking
Michaels
  • Red Lantern
  • Merry & Bright Decorative Plaque
HomeGoods
  • Wooden ‘Happy Holidays’ Snow Globe Decoration
  • Christmas Dish Towels
  • Placemats
  • Tree Skirt
Target
  • Ornaments
  • C9 String Lights
  • Tree Stand
  • Tree Mat
  • Throw Pillow
  • Ceramic House Decoration
  • Stockings
  • Doormat
Amazon
  • Pillowcases
Walmart
  • Fabric Tree Decoration
  • Pom Pom Garland
At Home
  • Bottle Brush Trees
  • ‘Oh What Fun’ Garland
  • Tree of Tinsel Decoration
  • Throw Pillow

I opted out of attaching links to these items, because that is quite time consuming, but also because I want this to be inspirational and encouraging in your own home decorating endeavours. Walking down aisle after aisle and creating your own vision is half the fun. I hope you have as much shopping as I did. Happy Hunting! 🙂

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Cozy Christmas Party // First Annual

It’s never been a secret that Christmastime is not my favorite time of the year, but since meeting Jeremiah (who absolutely loves the Christmas season) and starting our family that has slowly started to change. I think being so close to someone who gets so giddy and excited about all of the fun holiday festivities, it gets me more excited. Crazy enough, it was me this year who got our box of Christmas decorations and miscellaneous stuff out of the top of our closet and initiated decorating and holiday music on Black Friday.

Now that we have a little one on the way, Jeremiah and I are constantly throwing out new traditions that we can start and carry on throughout our children’s lives. This year, we decided to start with what we called a Cozy Christmas Party. We wanted to be able to get together with some of our close friends before the new year started in a relaxed, low key environment with no expectations other than some holiday fun. We were willing to supply everything and in return just asked that our friends brought their favorite comfort food.

Remember that we rarely never host events, so we were just winging it. Since we already had a decorated apartment, we just went from there. We set up a hot chocolate station with festive mugs, hot chocolate packets, cool whip, and marshmallows. Our kitchen was transformed into a little buffet set up with all the comfort food options + dessert. All the gifts we planned to give out that night were placed in front of our entertainment center. Lastly, we set up enough chairs in the living room, so everyone could congregate in one area. Honestly, we were pretty proud of ourselves!

When the clock struck seven-thirty, our first guest arrived and our party began! With it being our first time really hosting anything, I think that it went really well and we had a fantastic time. The food was delicious, the conversation was fantastic, and the company was best of all. We talked, we laughed, we drank hot chocolate, we exchanged gifts… I would say we successfully threw a holiday party!

Best of all, Jeremiah and I learned so much! We took notes on what aspects of this party we want to keep and do again next year and new ideas we want to incorporate. It was such a relief that our party wasn’t a bust, because now we are more excited than ever to continue to put ourselves out there and try new traditions no matter how out of comfort zone they might be.

Actually, best best of all, one of my best friends asked me to be a bridesmaid at her wedding! ❤