My Kind of Christmas (List)

Happy holidays, everyone! Thanksgiving is over so I feel no shame in decking the halls and spreading Christmas cheer all over the place. ūüôā

The beautiful LancoraPerla (check out her awesome blog here) was kind enough to include me in her Christmas Tag! Check out some fun facts about my holiday traditions and share some of your own in the comments. ūüôā

  • Favorite Christmas Film? A Christmas Story! (The struggle was real for poor Ralphie.) I also enjoy Dr. Seuss’s¬†How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the original cartoon version) and This Christmas.
  • Ever had a white Christmas? Yes! In Kentucky (where I grew up) I saw a number of of snowy or icy Christmases. I’ve lived in Wisconsin for the past five years so I’ve also had a white Halloween, Thanksgiving, New Years Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents Day, and April Fools Day. ūüôā
  • Where do you usually spend your holiday? Christmas just doesn’t feel like Christmas if I’m not celebrating in Kentucky with my family. I did spend one Christmas in San Francisco, California, but every other Christmas has been in the Bluegrass State.
  • Favorite Christmas song? How can I pick just one??? Let It Snow by Boyz II Men is definitely up there; those harmonies are amazing. Christmas Time by Backstreet Boys is another favorite. Christmas Wrapping by Waitresses, practically any version of The Christmas Song, every single track on My Kind of Christmas by Christina Aguilera–the list goes on and on!

 

A sample of my Christmas playlist.

 

  • Is your tree real or fake? Fake. I’ve never had a real Christmas tree; they seem like too much work. ūüôā The tree that I currently have in my house originally belonged to my mom, so I’ve had the same tree for almost my whole life!

My mom passed this tree down to me. I decorate it in pink and green every year–my sorority colors!

 

  • All-time favorite holiday food?¬†My great-aunt Aloma always made the most delicious jam cake at Christmas time. She used homemade jam and topped it with the most delicious caramel icing. Since she passed away, I’ve really missed it.
  • Best Christmas gift you‚Äôve ever received?¬†This is a tough one as I’ve gotten many wonderful gifts from my family and friends over the years. A gift I’m still enjoying today is a cherry bedroom set–my mother got it for me in high school and it’s still in my bedroom. My brother also got me a gorgeous cardigan that I get compliments on every time I wear it.

 

My “big little” brother picked out this sweater all on his own–I love it!

 

  • What made you realize the truth about Santa?¬†I think my cousin told me when I was in elementary school. If I have children, I probably won’t raise them to believe in Santa. I want them to believe that we give gifts to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and to show each other that we care.
  • What makes the holidays special for you?¬†The family togetherness is what makes Christmas truly special for me. It is usually the one time of year when every one is home!
  • What‚Äôs better, giving or receiving presents? Giving. I love trying to find that special gift for that special person. ūüôā

Feel free to tag someone else and continue sharing fun facts about how you celebrate!

 

Family togetherness: the best part of the holiday season!

 

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The Thought That Counts

After a brief holiday hiatus, I’m back with another post! Sorry for the delay, but in the rush of Christmas, New Years, and heading back to work it’s been difficult to find time to post.

This Christmas I decided to make my mom something special to show her how much she means to me. ¬†As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to appreciate the thoughfulness of a handmade gift. ¬†It is so nice knowing that someone took time (as well as money and other resources) to create something just for you. ¬†Anyone can go buy a gift–it’s truly special to make something for someone.

With that in mind–and an ever growing Pinterest addiction–I found the perfect project: ¬†a word punch collage! ¬†(You can find the original pin here.) ¬†A quick trip to Goodwill and a few hours of my time later, I had a gift my mom loved. ¬†Here’s how I did it:

Materials:

  • Picture frame
  • Photo mat
  • Old book or dictionary
  • Paper punches (one for the words, another for the accent square at the end)
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Two-sided tape
  • Glue stick
  • Small paint brush (optional)
  • Paint for frame (optional)

I picked up the picture frame (which included a photo mat) and an old dictionary from the Goodwill down the street. ¬†I purchased the paper punch (a small square with scalloped edges) from Michael’s; you can use any shape punch you want–just make sure it is large enough to get your entire word. ¬†Scrapbook paper, glue stick, paint brush, and paint I already had at home, though you can grab those at your local craft store.

First, I painted the picture frame black. ¬†This step is completely optional–the frame I bought was a lighter wood that DEFINITELY wouldn’t have matched my mom’s bedroom. ¬†I anchored the scrapbook paper (a burgundy color to match my mom’s bedroom) to the photo mat with two-sided tape..

Then came the most helpful part–I punched out some “test” squares to see how many I needed to fill my frame. ¬†This was extremely helpful as it gave me the number of words I needed to punch out as well as helped me get my lines straight before I started gluing. ¬†If y’all are anything like me, don’t skip this part–I didn’t want to make my mommy cross-eyed because I can’t make a straight line.

Once I knew how many words I needed, I proceeded to the most fun part–going through the dictionary and finding things to describe my mom. ¬†I frequently describe her as a “badass”…but I couldn’t find that word in my dictionary. ¬†I did, however, find things like fearless…warrior…kind…foster (since she was a foster parent)…and the list goes on. ¬†I honestly could have done this forever; my mother is such a wonderful person and there are a thousand great adjectives for her.

After the punching was complete, I laid out my squares; I rearranged the words a number of times to make sure I didn’t have a bunch of words that started with the same letter near each other, I didn’t make any weird phrases, etc. ¬†I then proceeded to gluing the squares to the scrapbook paper; ¬†just rub the back of the square on the glue stick and place it where you want. ¬†This part actually went fairly quickly; I did one row at a time to make sure they stayed straight. ¬†I also made an “accent” square at the end of the last row (just one of my test squares and a flower from another paper punch) for a little pizzazz.

Once my frame was dry, I reassembled and voila! ¬†An easy, affordable, handmade gift for the most important lady in my life. ¬†This wasn’t the only gift I gave her–she’s had her eye on a new blender for quite some time–but she truly seemed to appreciate it. ¬†It is already hanging in her bedroom next to a collage I made her years ago for Mother’s Day. ¬†ūüôā ¬†Check out the finished project on my Pinterest page!

Christmas should be a time of togetherness, of good cheer, of peace on Earth. ¬†Please remember the real reason we celebrate–not for gifts, but for the birth of God’s son and the gift of everlasting life for those who believe in Him. ¬†Remember this each day, love one another, and be blessed!

No Greater Gift

Wednesday evening, two packages were delivered to my house. ¬†I was heading out the door to run some errands with JB so I didn’t stop to open them. ¬†One I expected–some hair care products I ordered online. ¬†The other was a mystery. ¬†All I knew was that it came from my mom in Kentucky.

Fast forward through another long day. ¬†After finishing errands, visiting a friend, and fixing supper for JB and me, I finally got the opportunity to open the package from my mom. ¬†It was a small box–probably the size of a paperback book–and wrapped in brown paper. ¬†As I ripped through the paper I thought, “What the heck is Mom sending me?” ¬†I hadn’t asked for anything and she hadn’t mentioned that I’d have a package coming–which is part of the reason I’m writing this.

Once I got through the paper, I saw a box for an assortment of greeting cards. ¬†At that point, I got really confused. ¬†I knew¬†I hadn’t asked for greeting cards. ¬†I had no clue why she’d just send me some out of the blue. ¬†I almost called her right then to ask why she sent me a random box of greeting cards because it just didn’t make sense to me.

And then I opened the box. ¬†A greeting card with the handwritten message “Enjoy this holiday season in your own home! ¬†Love Ya, Mommy” ¬†and a Christmas ornament with the inscription “There is no greater gift than the love of a daughter.”

She worked two jobs to make sure we had the things we needed and that I had the things I wanted. ¬†Notice I didn’t say, “we” had the things “we” wanted, because I’m certain you wanted one job to be enough. ¬†But it wasn’t, so you did what you had to. Who has a greater love?

I see girls every single day who didn’t go to college because they weren’t encouraged to read. ¬†Girls who don’t have their own homes because they weren’t taught how to budget and save. ¬†Girls who became mothers to children while they were children themselves because they weren’t taught to respect themselves, they weren’t told that any man worth having will wait for you. ¬†And I know that, in a different place and under different circumstances, I could have been just like them.

Fortunately, I was blessed with a mother who wasn’t afraid to be a parent instead of a friend. ¬†Who pushed me and encouraged me and punished me when I did things I shouldn’t have done. ¬†Who might not understand the choices I make in my life but who does understand that they are my choices to make.

So this holiday season as you’re celebrating, take time to remind those that you love why you love them. Appreciate every gift, great and small. And give love greatly.

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Ornament from my mom (right) and and ornament of my dad

A Very Kardashian Khristmas

You may still be eating leftovers from Thanksgiving–I’ve had spiral ham with mac n’ cheese for lunch every day this week–but it’s safe to say that we’re officially in the throes of the Christmas season. ¬†For some of you, this may mean coordinating outfits for your annual Christmas photo. ¬†While my family never had a “formal” Christmas photo, I’ve always thought the Christmas season is as good a time as any to get the gang gussied up for a professional pic or two. ¬†Apparently the Kardashians have similar sentiments as they recently released the photo for their 2013 Christmas card.

Featured Image

Photo by David LaChapelle – Image from The Citizens of Fashion

While every family absolutely has the prerogative to choose whatever style it wants for its Christmas photo, I’m not a fan of the¬†Kardashian¬†klan’s photo for this year. ¬†So many things are going on in the picture–television screens, piles of gossip magazines, Gaga-esque headpieces, and random mannequin parts–that you can barely pick out the family members from the backdrop. ¬†And speaking of family members…not everyone is in the photo. ¬†Like, where’s Kanye? ¬†And Lamar? ¬†And Scott Disick? ¬†Granted they are only related to the family by (impending) marriage, I’d think they’re still considered family and should be somewhere in the picture.

Now that I think about it, where the heck are Rob Kardashian and North West?  They are actually blood members of this family and are nowhere to be found.  If the point of a Christmas card photo is to highlight your family, it makes sense (to me at least) that all family members be included.  Maybe all the neon lights and broken mannequins scared the baby.

Anywho, I looked up some other Kardashian family photos and think this one from Christmas 2012 is really nice. ¬†It’s simple, yet festive. ¬†Everyone is present and looks happy, not fake fierce. ¬†It actually looks like a celebration, which is what Christmas is all about–honoring the birth of our savior Jesus Christ.

Kardashian Holiday Card

Photo by Nick Saglimbeni РImage from E! Online

What’s your take on the Kardashian Khristmas photo? ¬†Does your family take an annual photo for its Christmas cards? ¬†If not, what are some of the other holiday traditions in your family?

Tis’ the Season

Is anyone else already feeling the Christmas spirit?

Halloween has barely passed, Thanksgiving is over three weeks away, and here I sit making my Christmas list. Ever a planner, I’ve decided to get a jump on Christmas 2013 by outlining and budgeting a bit early this year. My goal is to get gifts for everyone (including my friends and colleagues at work) for $500 or less. That may sound like a lot, but with a list of over 20 people giving the gifts I want may prove challenging.

This year will involve a lot of homemade gifts; I’m really looking forward to flexing my creative muscle. I’ve already got a Pinterest board with ideas and may start making gifts as early as…now!

What are your plans for gift giving this holiday season? What creative gift ideas are you hoping to try out?

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List (pg. 1 of 3) and cards to prep for sending