Sunday, December 22, 2013

'Tis the Season

Christmas time is one of my favorite times of year. There's something so magical and special about the feeling that accompanies the holidays. I absolutely love playing Christmas music while putting up decorations and twinkle lights. There's almost nothing more beautiful than white twinkle lights at Christmas.

Decorating the mantel
Penguins that I painted and decorated. Just about everything's better with a little glitter.
Every year I love to decorate with garland, decorations, and lights above my cupboards. It just makes the whole kitchen feel like Christmas.
I also thought I'd try my hand at paper quilling this year. Turns out, it's fun and pretty easy to do.

My friend Mary Kay and I hosted a Pinterest craft party to make these ornaments. We made ours in advance so that we could help others at the party. I'm glad we did, because we got to use ours early for Christmas decorations.

This year was the very first year we had a real Christmas tree. In the past we've either had a mini artificial tree or have gone treeless. So you can imagine how excited I was. Not only was our tree life-size, it was real! I've never had a real Christmas tree, not even growing up. Costco actually had a great selection of inexpensive trees, so we ended up purchasing one there. It's not quite as adventurous as hiking up a hill and cutting one down ourselves...but never having had a real tree, we decided to start with baby steps. Otherwise, we probably would have ended up having a Griswald family experience.

This Christmas was a year of firsts, because aside from getting our first tree, I also watched this movie (Christmas Vacation) for the first time. It's one that Jacob, and I'm sure many others, grew up watching.

When we picked out our first tree from Costco, the workers looked a little confused when we asked them to take our picture. Perhaps people don't often ask for family photos in front of a Costco trailer.

We somehow managed to cram the entire tree inside my car. Totally awesome. 

Decorating our first real Christmas tree together
....And it was at about this time in my life that I discovered an app on my phone that allowed me to make photo collages. Needless to say, I got a little collage happy.

As far as decorating our tree, I decided it would be fun to commemorate each year by finding an ornament that described our experiences over the last year. Since we've been married for 7 years now, I had to back track for some of the years. For instance, the snowflake represents when we lived in Rexburg for college, the fortune cookie represents when I worked at a Chinese restaurant, and the pineapple represents a trip we took to Costa Rica. Each year brings new adventures and memories, and I hope to remember and celebrate them each Christmas as we decorate our tree.

Our tree in all its glory!
Downtown Minneapolis has an enormous 8-story Macys building and at Christmas time, they set up "Santa's Workshop" for the kids to come and see. There's something very whimsical and magical about the seeing the singing trees, reindeer, and elves hard at work.

Singing trees

Jacob decided to shave off his beard and leave his mustache for a day, just to humor me.
The elves' sleeping quarters
Elves hard at work baking gingerbread and other sweet treats. I love how the display was ethnically
diverse. The asian elves pictured here were mainly busy in the kitchen cooking and baking. There was even an elf student in a wheelchair, which I thought was really sweet.

Elf candy shop
It just wouldn't be Christmas every year without me making Christmas goodies for our friends and neighbors as well as a gigantic bomb-like mess in our kitchen. This year I made english toffee, caramels, chocolate bark with pistachios and dried cherries, and snowflake sugar cookies.

Closer to Christmas, Mary Kay and I hosted our Pinterest craft party so our girlfriends could decorate some ornaments. I thought a black and red theme was fun and different. 

Mary Kay and I

Party food

Some of the ladies at the party: Abby, Kara, Gail (Kara's mom), and Summer
For the party favors, I got the idea off of Pinterest to give each of the ladies a nail polish wrapped in cellophane with a gift tag that said, "for your mistle toes." Mary Kay also made some of her famous glazed popcorn that we put in bags for everyone to take home.
Busy ladies crafting
I thought it would be so cute to fill shot glasses with milk and top them with mini chocolate chip cookies Santa style.
I can't take credit for this idea either....Pinterest :)
I was scheduled to work the night of Christmas Eve and Christmas this year. Before I had to go into work however, the Brauns invited us over for Christmas Eve dinner. It was so nice to be with our family away from home. We also got to hang out with the Ammotts, which if you haven't met them, make every party livelier.
Lisa, Jacob, Brannon, Bruce, Mary Kay, Kelly, Dara

After dinner we had a white elephant Christmas gift exchange. Jacob and I gave away a headlamp and yoga cat calendar.
Mary Kay and Bruce also had a spiritual program planned out that was really neat and brought the true spirit of Christmas to our Christmas Eve.
The morning of Christmas I came home exhausted but determined to make Jacob's morning fun. I baked cinnamon rolls and an egg sausage casserole that he's accustomed to having on Christmas morning. We opened presents and then I went upstairs to crash.

As fate would have it, we were overstaffed at the hospital. I worked the night of Christmas Eve but got Christmas night off. Seeing that I only got holiday pay for the night before, I wasn't missing out on too much. For our Christmas dinner we went to eat at the buffet at Mystic Lake Casino. When we got there however, the line was about 3 hrs long and we determined that we wouldn't even make it to the buffet before it closed. So we decided to eat at another restaurant in the casino. I was a bit disappointed, but my disappointment quickly disappeared when I saw crab legs on the menus.

We also met a really nice man who was dining alone sitting next to us. I didn't want to bother him, but if there's one thing I can't stand, it's seeing people eat alone, especially on Christmas! I struck up a conversation with him and we found out his wife was working in the casino and he didn't want to eat at home alone for Christmas. Did we make his night? Did he mind eating alone? Who knows. But it never hurts to meet new people and make new friends. Jacob's especially notorious for doing this on  trips we take.

Waiting for our dinner
16 oz of perfection. Bon Appetit!

1 comment:

  1. Funny when I read your Griswald comment I thought to myself, I didn't know Robin has seen Christmas Vacation. No idea why I thought that and then decided why wouldn't you have. Everyone has seen it. Haha. Only to read you did indeed just recently see it. Good reference to the movie. Your first real tree was sure a beauty! I love your ornament idea. They are all gorgeous, too. Macy's looks like a lot of fun. Wish I could attend your pinterest party. Your home looked gorgeous. Love your Christmas decorating style.