What is Christmas without family traditions? These days, I am finding that our traditions are growing and changing. Since Dave & I were married just a short 1.5 years ago - we haven't had tons of time to establish many. Our families (my parents, and his mom) are sort of boycotting Christmas this year - so we are finding that we have to come up with all new plans and new ways of doing things. It's a little sad, but also sort of nice.
One traditions that we have had for years now, at least Ashley & I, is making a gingerbread house. I used to do this with my cousins, Tatiana & Sabrina, every year when I was a teenager and they were just little wee things. Once Ashley came along (as in...when Dave & I started hanging out and then dating) she joined in the fun.
This year, we took it to the "next level" as my dear friend Crystal said, and made a gingerbread village! I bought this village at Target, where else, and we had a great time with it!
I bought a foam board to hold the whole thing on, it's sturdy and is a nice workspace. The green "river" is Jell-O, the store I bought it from did not have blue, but I think it looks extra "Christmas-y" in the green color. We bought extra candy to jazz it up, those kits never come with enough. We also used a whole can of cake icing, and a whole bag of coconut for the snow. The whole thing took about an hour and it was super fun, a lovely this to do with a pre-teen!
the "Toy Store". So fun.
Other traditions we do are driving around looking at Christmas lights. We did that yesterday evening too! We listen to Christmas music and drive around really nice neighborhoods looking at the beautiful houses that we dream of living in one day;) Don't get me wrong, I love our home!! It's just nice to dream. Oh and we also decorate OUR home, 2 weeks before Christmas, with lights and Santa's and Mickey Mouse lights.
Dave & I also like to watch White Christmas on Christmas Eve after we get home from all the family and friends fun, and church.
I usually make chocolate covered pretzels for friends and family, and cookies. I made Christmas cookies last weekend, Ashley, Heather (BFF) and Addison (BFF's daughter) helped me decorate those:
This year I am adding Cake Balls (not the Pops) to my baking repertoire. I have fancy little candy holders that are going to make the Cake Balls look so sweet! Pics to come;)
Another tradition we seem to have is shopping last minute. I did a little shopping early on around Black Friday, but the bulk of the shopping was done on Friday & Saturday. Dave and I made a date of it, we went out for sushi first (so we weren't starving as we shopped, that is a nightmare) and then drove all around spending way too much on presents, and then ended up at our favorite place, Du Claw, to celebrate our success in finishing up each other's presents. It was a lovely evening, not stressful at all, even though people were probably annoying and traffic was awful and the crowds and lines were bad...we didn't mind because our bellies were full and we were together. That's the way to shop!
Also, since we usually eat with family on major Holidays, I make a meal the Sunday before so that we can have our own family dinner to celebrate. I did this for Thanksgiving last year and this year, and I did it for Christmas this year too. It gives me a good reason to break out my beautiful Kate Spade China AND practice my major holiday cooking skills for when the responsibility falls on me one day to make a meal for a whole family.
New traditions this year (not necessarily going to be every-year deals) going to Boordy Vineyards on the 23rd for a Christmas tasting and a cheese picnic, going to Disney the day after (!!!!!), going to Jonathan & Krystal's on Christmas morning, and there may be more but I forget.
I love this season. I love how happy it makes me! I love counting my blessings, which is nice to do ALL the time, but I seem to do that more around this time of year. I love the music and the company and the laughter and fun and all the time I have with my family! So wonderful!! I need to live my life more so like it is Christmas everyday;)
The point is, these traditions and memory making experiences make Christmas so sweet and enjoyable. It's about spending time with family, having fun, and most importantly - celebrating the birth and life of Jesus, who gave his life for us!
Merry Christmas, from the Bland Family to yours!!