Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Holiday Home Tour 12.12.12

The twelve days of Christmas are right around the corner. But the twelves are here in triplicate today. In the spirit of twelve, we'll be making twelve stops on this holiday home tour. First stop: Memory Lane.

I started this project last Christmas and finished it last week, just in time. I gathered all the boys' Santa pictures from the past twelve Christmases and framed them in collage frames. This is now the focal point of our holiday mantel.

Sadly, I don't think we'll be visiting Santa this year as there are some skeptics in the house. But at least we now have the years of magical thinking captured and framed.

Speaking of capturing things, I found a new way to capture another batch of memories. I bought a merry and bright red scrapbook, embellished it with a holiday foil tree...

...and filled it with our family holiday cards from the past twelve years since the boys were born. I thought organizing made me happy but now I know holiday organizing makes me elfishly happy!

Just so you don't think we're all structure and no fun during the holidays, you must know that we honor the pickle tradition in our house. Now that's fun.

Even more fun is the funky holiday glasses that the boys received in the mail this week. They turn the view of your Christmas tree lights from ho-ho-hum... HOHOHO-LY SNOWFLAKES!
I put the glasses over my camera lens and this is what you see.

We like tradition as much as we like fun so I must point out some traditional holiday treasures that are included in my holiday decor. These caroling books grace the piano every Christmas season. They belonged to my parents' families and date 1942 and 1935 respectively.

I also display my mother's Christmas story and prayer books, dating 1941 and 1943.

And you thought it was titled, "Twas the Night Before Christmas..." Look again.

Another thing I have from my mother is something that has developed without my knowing.

 My mother has a vast collection of Santa Claus figures.

I never fully undestood her fascination with collecting them.

But it seems that I too have a fairly sizable collection.

How did this happen?

Maybe it happened while I was admiring my Nutcracker collection. Somebody stop me.

Thankfully my kids are always here to keep me in check during the holidays... after all, it is about them, right? And for them, we have a new advent calendar this year. Behind each door is a small surprise.

 Some days, there is a message or a fun holiday "to-do" item for the day.

I've lost count of the stops on this holiday home tour. Whether it was twelve or not, doesn't matter. What matters is sharing the joy of the season. May you have it and share it twelve-hundredfold.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Recipe for Holiday Giving in 25 Steps

I live in a house of boys. During the holiday season, they like to get into the holiday spirit, doing traditional holiday things like playing video games, having Nerf wars, lying on the couch and watching hours of TV...just like the rest of the year.

I, on the other hand, prefer to do the even more traditional holiday things like baking, decorating, writing lists and using ribbon. Strangely, none of my boys will join me in my holiday activities, unless of course I bribe them with extra computer or couch time. When they were younger, they would be my partners in holiday fun but this year (thank you middle school influence) even my youngest is requiring higher value bribes.

To combat the male dominance in the house, I threw them out. Literally, last Friday night I made them all, including my husband, leave. They went out to do male things while I had a night of holiday festivities of the feminine variety. A few friends gathered to combine efforts in making a large quantity of holiday gifts. Here's our recipe:

Step 1. Gather with your closest friends.

Actually this is Step 17. Steps 1 - 16 involve several internet searches, writing various lists, numerous visits to select stores to compare prices, and repeat visits to certain price competitive stores to purchase needed supplies. But once you get to Step 17, you're good to go.

Step 18. Stage all the ingredients in an assembly line fashion.

Step 19. Put the girls to work in a real assembly line.

Step 20. Take turns behind the camera and behind the stove.

Step 21. Take a break for some good conversation.

Step 22: Count your production.

Step 23. Have some fun with wine, I mean, twine.

Step 24: Recount your production.

Step 25: Wrap it up!

For the sauce recipe, click here.