My favorite. . . holiday stuff!

I can’t say I’m really in the Christmas spirit this year. See, I looooove the holidays. I’ve been waiting for December to get here since I took off my Halloween costume on October 31. But last week I got hit with a nasty cold and it has taken away some of the peppermint-scented joy. I tried to get ahead of it; I’ve been sleeping every free moment, 7pm bedtimes and all, but the cold is winning and I’m just not in the moody for laughter, joy, family, etc.

For example, it is nine days until Christmas and I only have three gifts underneath the tree. I’m done shopping – have been for a while – just haven’t wrapped much. And to be honest, two of those gifts under the tree are in decorative boxes so I didn’t really have to do anything for them. Christmas confession: I’ve only wrapped one gift.

I know that probably doesn’t sound like a big deal to a lot of you out there, but I live for Christmas. If I blow it this time around, I have to wait another eleven months to get a second chance.

In an effort to jump-start getting into the spirit, I’m going to share some of my favorite holiday things with you today. If thinking about these things doesn’t like a yule log under my . . well, you know. . . I don’t know what will!

Favorite Holiday Movies
1) National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
2) A Christmas Story
3) A Muppet Family Christmas
4) A Christmas Carol (the 1938 version)
5) Rudolph

Favorite Holiday Treats
1) Oreo Truffle Balls
2) Starbuck’s Peppermint Mochas
3) Sausage Rolls
4) Cornbread Dressing
5) Hot Chocolate

Favorite Holiday Activities
1) Decorating the tree
2) Driving around to look at lights
3) Sending Christmas cards
4) Picking out new ornaments each year
5) Singing carols in my car

Favorite Holiday Songs
1) Bing Crosby – Mele Kalikimaka (Hawaiian Christmas Song)
2) Otis Redding – White Christmas
3) Percy Faith – We Need a Little Christmas
4) Leona Lewis – One More Sleep
5) Straight No Chaser – Santa Claus Is Back In Town

The Elf on a Shelf Can Kiss My ***

Elf on the Shelf. It’s just not my thing.

Not that I won’t go above and beyond for some holiday magic. Oh no, you are talking about a lady who once put her Christmas tree up on a random summer night so her kid could experience Christmas in July. Really. But Elf on the Shelf is just too far. There is no place for that creepy guy in my household.
elf on the shelf
1) This Elf on the Shelf nonsense almost always includes making a mess for mom to clean up in the morning (I’m just saying mom here b/c it only tends to be moms who really get into this newfangled tradition). I have no desire to make some sort of cute mess to make my kids laugh before sending them off to school and cleaning it up when they aren’t looking. I have enough to clean up before I leave for work, thanks. I also have enough kids already; I don’t need to make up a fake one.

2) Your kid doesn’t care. No, really. He might enjoy it this holiday season, but when he grows up he is going to think back fondly on those mornings waking up to see what that silly elf messed up. Nope. Not going to happen. Sure, he might think back fondly on your commitment to a family tradition, but in reality you can’t expect anymore more than a “That was fun, but I can’t image having to do that every night. My mom must have really liked that elf.” Yep, he’ll be happy that it made you so happy. And then he won’t do it for his kids.

3) We already have Santa. Is Santa not enough? Are you not entertained? How many magical traditions do me need? At least Santa has a little history behind him and isn’t just a merchandise scheme that has spawned even more merchandise. The little guy has a dvd, dapper little clothes, ornaments, a reindeer friend, and a board game. I could name more, but I’m not Amazon. You can even buy a football jersey for your $30 elf toy.

4) This isn’t a tradition. The stupid little elf has only been around for ten years. Maybe if he is still around in another thirty I’ll have to rethink my position and buy one of those damn things for my grandkids, but I will deal with that then. And I won’t be happy about it. We will listen to our classic Justin Bieber holiday songs and put our elf in weird positions while grandma scoffs.

Did you know there is a Jewish version called Mensch on a Bench? Yeah, I hate him too.

Just say no. Bah humbug.

Am I going to get a lot of hate for my elf on a shelf hate? That is probably fair.

Ornament Exchange Link Party Time

Check out the rest of the ornament-exchangers for some pre-holiday inspiration. I know I’m ready to decorate now!

Ornament Exchange Link PartyWelcome to the first 2015 Holiday Ornament Exchange!

Want to see all the amazing ornaments we have shared?

We are linking up all of our ornaments in the link below so everyone can see all the beautiful handmade and/or store bought goodies we came up with!

Let’s all get inspired this season!

The Hosts of the Exchange~Ornament Exchange Hosts

My Pinterventures | Made in a Day | The House Down The Lane | The Kolb Corner | Intelligent Domestications | Where The Smiles Have Been | Ash and Crafts | Inside the Fox Den | C’mon Get Crafty | Olives-n-Okra

We want to say a huge “Thank You” to all the blogs that shared the exchange announcement on their sites, we could not have done it without you! Hugs! Ornament Exchange Helpers

Lexi Michelle Blog | B is 4 | Xo, Lorey | Craving Some Creativity | Cherishing a Sweet Life | Our Crafty Mom | MidMichigan Mom

Make sure to visit all the other wonderful bloggers of the 2015 Ornament Exchange! All of their incredible creations are linked in the link party below.

DIY Adulation | The Farmhouse In The Field | Tastefully Frugal | My Sweet Things |Christmas Tree Lane | Simply Kelly Designs | Munofore | Decor To Adore | Tulips & Orchids | Rhinestones & Sweatpants |Happily Ever After, Etc. | From This to That | DIY Just Cuz | This Design Journal | I am Homemaker | Organized by Sunshine | Displaced Yinzer | My Life From Home | Nets Blog About Jnets Line | 10 Acres and 6 Chicks | Books and Life | Gardenchick | Two Purple Couches | DIY Just Cuz | Across the Blvd | Kentucky to Cali | Insolence + Wine | Our House Now a Home | Weekend Craft | Mary and Martha’s House | Random Bits of Happiness | Dragonfly and Lily Pads | Garden Matter | Recipe For a Sweet Life | Mama’s Journey | Amber Downs | Toolbox Divas | Craving Some Creativity | Vikalpah | Flourish & Knot | Raising Fairies and Knights | Blue Willow House | The Road to Domestication | Love My Messy Messy Mess | An Oregon Cottage | Home On The Corner | Fearlessly Creative Mamma | The Evolution of Mom | The Green Mountain Couple | Simply Home Love | Run with Jackabee | simple.pretty.life | The Chilly Dog | Try it – Like it | Gypsy Road | Playfully Tacky | Wife Mommy Me

We want to see your ornament tutorials too! Show us your creations by adding your post to the party below! Please add only ornament tutorials to the party. Thank you!

Continue Reading…

Holiday Ornament Exchange!

Ornament-Exchange2015If you have been a reader of this blog for very long, you may have noticed that I absolutely love the holidays. For me, January 1-October 30 is just one long buildup to the best time of the year – the only time of the year that really matters – the glorious period between October 31 and December 31. If I could live in a permanent Christmas town I totally would. I enjoy Halloween . . . I tolerate Thanksgiving . . . I adore Christmas.

It should be no surprise to you that I jumped at the chance to participate in a blogger ornament exchange graciously organized by Erlene at My Pinadventures. Somehow she managed to coordinate over eighty people, mostly strangers, into a lovely roundabout of holiday giving. The rules were simple – make or buy an ornament fitting your partner’s holiday décor for no more than $10 and follow it up with a post. This is actually the very last day of the fun. Blog posts from the various participants started going up on November 1. Start clicking on the links below to venture into the ornament rabbit hole.

I was thrilled to end up partnered with Lisa from simple.pretty.life. She just revamped her tree theme to a lovely-sounding mix of Tiffany blue, white, and champagne/light gold. She described the rest of her holiday décor scheme as modern and Tiffany or Kate Spade-inspired . . . can you say holiday soulmate!? The PlayfullyTacky household lets our Christmas run wild and theme-free, but Lisa’s description fit right in with my usual inspiration. I was excited to come up with something great for her.

I decided to buy an ornament. I didn’t even have to think about it very long. I mean, I’ve successfully diy-ed several cute things and couple of stylish things, but I’m more of a burn-myself kind of crafter. There was no way these hands were going to create anything that would be at home on Lisa’s tree. PlayfullyTacky’s #1 rule of DYI . . . Know your limits.

Bonus! Buying an ornament for the exchange meant I had an excuse to check out all of the holiday displays freshly installed for the season. I took a few photos of things I liked best as I shopped and planned to share them with you. BUT! That was before I found a holiday decoration that really called to me. One that really embodies the spirit of PlayfullyTacky. Without further ado, let me present this busty, booted reindeer in all of her glory.
Seriously. Somebody is going to decorate their house with that saggy breasted, questionably dressed reindeer.

Confession! I actually purchased an ornament for Lisa online. I just couldn’t find what I was looking for during my shopping trip. Thankfully, PotteryBarn.com provided. [Note: This post is not sponsored by Pottery Barn. I paid for the ornament. Another Note: Email me, Pottery Barn!] And since they were offering free shipping on their ornaments regardless of price, I didn’t even have to worry about going over that $10 spending limit. Woot!
Ornament 1
Here is what I really love about this ornament . . . it doesn’t have to be an ornament. It is the simple kind of beautiful with a touch of glam that will work on a tree or as an accent around a house. As soon as I saw it on the website, I knew it was the one for me. Or well, for Lisa.

Need more ornament-love? Check out the other exchangers who posted today.
Gypsy Road
Wife Mommy Me
Ash and Crafts
Flourish & Knot

My Favorite Holiday Music

Well, the ones I haven’t shared yet anyway.

Otis Redding – White Christmas

Bing Crosby – Mele Kalikimaka (Hawaiian Christmas Song)

Mannheim Steamroller – Carol of the Bells

Yesterday’s Holiday

Judy Garland – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (1944)

Nat King Cole – The Christmas Song (1961)

Lewis James – When the Christmas Chimes Are Ringing (1922)

Today’s Holiday

Pentatonix (feat. Tori Kelly) – Winter Wonderland / Don’t Worry Be Happy (2014)

Leona Lewis – One More Sleep (2013)

Straight No Chaser – Santa Claus Is Back In Town (2009)

Christmas Past

For a short time, the daughter had a due date of Christmas Day. She was actually born on December 20th by scheduled c-section. Christmas 2002 was fun, scary, busy, and painful all rolled into one. My legs were still swelling from retaining water – pretty bad, actually, but the doctor didn’t take me seriously – so holiday celebrations were difficult. The daughter got a huge Clifford doll from my parents and we took photographs of her riding it. She was asleep, of course. We decorated a tabletop tree, put up a string of lights, and did tiny stockings. It was a simple holiday.

This year we had the bright idea to set the Christmas tree up in our master bedroom. This meant our all-over-the-place-walking-child would stay out of the tree. It also had the added bonus of allowing me to snuggle in front of the tree every night. When Christmas morning rolled around, we all sat on the bedroom floor opening presents. Right next to the television stand with the sharp corners. That was in the room so our daughter wouldn’t trip and fall into it. . . You can see where this is going. She caught her forehead right on the corner and we spent half a day in the emergency room waiting for an x-ray. It was just a flesh wound, but she spent the next couple of week with a nasty bump/bruise and bandaid on her head.

Our first Christmas in our own home. Well, one we owned anyways. We moved in just before Halloween, so things were still a little bare around the holidays (apartment to house is a big change). We decided to stay home on Christmas day and stop the grandparent shuffle. Eventually my parents decided they would come to us – just couldn’t bear to be away from us! – and we made spaghetti with Cajun meatballs. It was delicious. Now, everyone comes to us and the husband cooks a massive meal. It is fun, but I’ll always look back on that low-key holiday fondly.

Our first Christmas with the little man. Nothing special happened this year, but it is the first holiday enjoyed by our family in its current form and the first time I had to buy for presents for two kids.

I had my median sternotomy with thymectomy in early December and was just starting to feel alive by Christmas time. Outside, the neighborhood was covered in more inches of snow than we’ve seen in recent years, but – sadly – I could only enjoy it from my couch. We had the family up for dinner and opened presents. Thanks to pain killers, I think I enjoyed most of it. Can’t really remember many details though. There were coordinating sock monkey pajamas for the kids, a bow for the daughter, and a small ball pit for the little man.

Christmas Parody

Wrecking Ball Parody (Deck the Halls by Dave and Brian)

[Yes, I shared this one last year too. I just really like it.]

Betty White Christmas (White Christmas parody by The Kinsey Sicks)

[FYI: The Kinsey Sicks are super fun and I advise you to check them out on YouTube. A lot of their songs aren’t what you would call family friendly though, don’t say I didn’t warn you.]