Soaking Up the Magic of the Holidays

This holiday season has felt extra special around here. In fact, I’m ranking it up there as the best yet. Rex is at that sweetly naive age (just turned three) where he is starting to understand the story of Christmas but not enough to be asking for a bunch of presents… or even really know who Santa Claus is. (We haven’t gotten our act together to take Rex to see Santa yet this season and it’s actually been in our favor–I think?). Everything is all new to him and truly magical through his eyes–from the neighborhood lights and decor to the holiday traditions, songs and movies. It’s all been just so fun this year that I’ve wanted to slow down and really soak this season up as his pure holiday spirit is completely contagious.

 

Favorite holiday traditions from childhood to now:

  • Holiday Movie Binge–we recently watched The Grinch with Rex complete with hot chocolate and popcorn, obviously!
  • Bake a batch of sugar cookies and frost them together
  • Nightly Light Looking–put the kids in their pjs, forget about a prompt bedtime, throw them in the car and drive through the neighborhood to look at the lights (we’ve been doing this almost nightly)
  • Family Crab dinner on Christmas Eve and my Nana’s homemade Raviolis on Christmas
  • This year my Dad asked each of us to bring a bottle of wine for a taste-off (~ $30 bottle), and I know it’s going to be entertaining
  • Gingerbread house competition (we have a huge text chain with my cousins as well voting on everyone’s houses even though we’re not all in person together–it’s very serious and a lot of thought goes into these often themed houses!)
  • Brunch on Christmas morning (this year we’re doing waffles)
  • Stockings (aren’t stockings the best part of the presents? Tanner and I don’t usually exchange gifts for Christmas anymore but I do love a stocking, and I especially loved putting extra thought into Rex’s this year)
  • Advent Calendars–I’ve been using the one I had as a girl for Rex this season, and he’s been popping out of bed extra early for it. He’s also been helping me with this one every morning from Jo Malone London.
  • Christmas Cards–I love the tradition of sending and receiving snail mail around the holidays. Also, Rex loves to get the mail so the fact that he has a lot more exciting mail to open and receive these past few weeks during the month of December has been especially great for him.

We chopped down our own tree (a first for us) which was a comical one! The tree barely fit in the house–a National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation moment that had me crying I was laughing so hard. I could barely look at our tree that first week without peeing my pants.

Rex decorated the tree himself and only broke a few ornaments in the process. In the past I’ve had fun going all out with the holiday decor (dried citrus and floral chains), but this year simplicity has been my motto in all the things. And I have loved it!

Rex laughing as I pulled him on the tree (cart?)… I know it’s late in the year to go to a tree farm but it was such a special spot so make a note for next year! I loved the experience of chopping a tree down (I think I’ve always idealized making this a childhood memory for Rex and now, Willow) but a tree farm takes the hassle out of everything. Plus they serve hot apple cider and popcorn and have sleigh rides and other sweet activities for the kids. This will be a yearly must for us for sure.

Silveyville Pumpkin Patch & Tree Farm

The highlight of this holiday season for me has been that every night Rex goes to bed asking “is tomorrow Christmas?” We have been doing advent calendars this year which is helping with the countdown but I find it so sweet that he continues to still ask.

I also love that he really doesn’t understand that presents are a part of Christmas. I think he’s most excited that we’re going to the grandparents and so he’s counting down the days we will all be together which is what the holidays are all about. Melts my heart!

Speaking of, this year I couldn’t think of a single thing I have wanted… hence why I didn’t get around to making gift guides. I feel like I get excited about gift guides for a minute but then I’m over it. Sorry if you were hoping for them from me?! Everything that excites me about the holidays are the activities, family time, and seeing Rex’s reactions to it all.

St Frank Ornaments We Love /

The Look /

Another highlight of this season for me was when Rex came up with the ideal to make (he painted) Christmas gifts for everyone in our family. He chose the wrapping paper and ribbons and even dictated what all of his cards said. His pure heart has been such a sweet reminder for me this season. The best gifts are the simple ways to show your love, thoughtful gestures and time spent with each other.

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