What are your favorite holiday flavors? For most “seasonal” flavors throughout the rest of the year, I could really enjoy those flavors at any time. However, there is just something about the flavors of the holidays….I really don’t want them except for during the holidays. Those flavors are peppermint and egg nog. Sure, I might have peppermint flavored foods at different times of the year but it’s during the holidays when I really crave that flavor. And since you can’t find egg nog except during the holidays, I try to drink as much as possible. Within reason, of course. 🙂
The list thus far:
One of our favorite investments that we made when we bought our house in the suburbs was purchasing a family pass to Brookfield Zoo. We realized that if we went to the zoo for the Halloween activities, for the Christmas lights, and for the New Year’s Eve countdown, it just made financial sense to buy a pass. We don’t have to pay for parking and after just a few trips to the zoo during the year we’ve actually broken even on our investment. Plus, I like that we don’t have to make a whole day trip to the zoo if we don’t want to. There are many times during the summer when the girls and I might just pop over to the zoo for an hour or two and then head back home. If we don’t see everything, it’s ok. We can come back and check it out.
The New Year’s Eve countdown is great for kiddos. It’s at 8:00pm which is late enough for my girls to feel like they are actually staying up late. But when we get home, it’s not super late.
It was really really really cold so we didn’t walk around and look at the lights too much but that was quite ok since we went to Holiday Magic earlier in the season. We were able to take a couple quick pictures before heading to the car….which we did very quickly because baby girl does NOT like being cold….she has inherited her mommy’s tolerance (or rather, intolerance) for cold…..
The list thus far:
Our last couple weeks have been non-stop go go go. This weekend, we actually don’t have anywhere that we need to be. Sure, we need to get some Christmas shopping done. And, yes, we’ll probably make at least one trip to Target. But, we don’t have set times for anything.
It’s quite pleasant to think about.
Sometimes, with all of the running around, and must-dos, and places to go, and food to cook, and all of that….it’s easy to forget the more simple joys of the holidays. One of my favorites? Reading some of our favorite Christmas books!
The girls love reading about the Grinch year round. The Night Before Christmas is always a good idea. And, my personal favorite, The Polar Express. I still get a bit emotional when he says that eventually all of this friends stopped being able to hear the bell…..NOT FOR ME! I STILL HEAR IT!……
When I was growing up, my mom would read The Polar Express every Christmas Eve. Now, she reads it to her grandkids when we go down for family Christmas #1. (The movie weirded me out – anyone else weirded out by it?)
So, this weekend, although we do have things that we need to get done…..I am going to strive to remember to take it easy (or easy-ish), and enjoy just being together by the Christmas tree. Because that’s when some of the most special moments can happen – when we stop and take a breather and just let the magic of the holidays happen.
What are your favorite simple joys of the holidays?
I took down the Halloween decorations this morning. (Although, we still have to figure out what we are going to do with our pumpkins…..any ideas?)
We had giant eyeballs in the pine tree nearest to the house. Our scarecrow that we made at Scarecrow Fest and our jack-o-lanterns were positioned right by the front porch.
It was all very festive and fun and spoooooooky.
Now, my mind is turning toward Christmas. I know that we will do lights on the tree nearest the house like we do each year. We’ll do lights on the porch railings. But, I think that I want to do something more this year. Lights along the gutters? Something in the yard?
What are your decorating plans for Christmas?
This year, since baby girl is still in the “grab everything and throw it on the floor or put it in my mouth” stage, we blocked off the Christmas tree with the ottoman. The downside of that has been that Buddy has had an entire Christmas season without being able to easily sit under her (or rather, everyone’s) tree. She was very happy, then, on Christmas morning. The ottoman was moved out of the way to make way for the presents. Once the presents were opened and out of the way, Buddy was able to reclaim her favorite spot for the holidays.
Most of the year, Buddy is a tree cat. She loves to be perched up on a table or chair or lap. She rarely sits on the floor (unless it’s summer and there is a flip-flop to sleep on). However, during the holiday season, she quickly becomes a floor cat. I can’t really blame her, though. Who wouldn’t love to spend the day sitting underneath a Christmas tree?
We took the tree down last weekend so Buddy has been busy trying to find a new spot. Right now? Her spot is on my leg…..
One of my favorite things about shopping after the holidays are over is that you can frequently get a great deal on mixes for baked goods simply because they are holiday flavors. Now, I don’t know about you, but I love pumpkin bread any time of the year. And, I am always willing to try a new fun flavor of waffle mix.
I do enjoy trying new mixes but I do have an important rule that I make myself follow when shopping after holiday (any holiday) sales for baking mixes. The price of the mix needs to be less than what the price would be if I bought the ingredients separately. That pumpkin bread mix makes two full loaves and is really heavy because of the can of pumpkin in the box. This was a good deal. The scone and waffles mixes were purchased for just a couple bucks each. Also, great deals.
Mmmmmm…..holiday food after the holiday…..
Do you buy holiday mixes? What are your favorites?
I love Christmas lights. I love, love, love Christmas lights. And I will venture far and wide to see a beautifully decorated tree. There truly is something magical about those lights piercing the winter darkness.
Lights on Christmas tree at Christkindlmarket
The holidays are always an emotional time. This year, I’m feeling even more emotional. Not only do we have a toddler, we have another one on the way AND it’s our first Christmas in our own house! As I started the decorating for Christmas, there was a sense of urgency to get it all up and make it look amazing. And then, I realized that I was really the only one that cared about it all that much. The tree looks nice. There are some lights on the house but not as many as I would like. A 2 year old couldn’t care less. Don’t get me wrong. I think that she likes the lights and the tree but it’s really not a huge concern for her. So, I’m determined to view our Christmas decor as a work-in-progress. Next year, we may actually have a real mantel above our fireplace. Next year, the bushes that I don’t like will be moved closer to the house and might have lights on them. Next year, we’ll have a 3-year-old and a not-yet-1-year-old. So…..if the tree gets decorated, we’ll probably be lucky. 🙂
Here’s what we have this year:
My Santa collection. I imagine that this will grow over the years. I think next year, I’ll buy or make a wreath to hang above the Santas.
The Christmas tree.
I love how the lights on tree reflect off of the doors on the fireplace (in the front) and the doors on our tall cabinet (in the back).
The front porch. I imagine that next year, we will have lights on the bushes as well.