Well, the official start for many is the day after Christmas. It is the day that used to be acceptable to start selling Christmas decorations and start preparing your home for the holiday cheer. Our season was jump started by about 3 inches of dusty white coating the ground on Thanksgiving. It was a beautiful day. It warmed up and melted that evening and all was back to new the next day. In our house, we didn't bust out the decorations until this last week. Abe and I got a Christmas tree at Youngstocks Farmstand here in Bellingham. While I will admit that it isn't as fun as trudging around in the snow searching for the perfect tree or even going to a tree farm and using their dull hacksaw to cut one down ourselves after wandering the aisles, we do enjoy the nostalgia of getting a tree (as opposed to the fake tree). It was a chilly Sunday evening but we got our complimentary free coffee and wandered around looking for an economy tree. One that would be cute and not too sparse but one that fit our budget too. It was pretty cute because I told Abe I had brought the camera and that I knew it was sort of cheesy but I wanted to have a photo taken with our tree. I honestly thought he would sort of make fun of me but instead he said, "yeah, we are capturing family memories." It was sweet.
The tree sat bare for a few days until my Mom and her husband, Bill, arrived. While we were all supposed to decorate the tree together, Abe said he'd "supervise" which apparently meant fall asleep on the couch while we decorate. Oh well, the lights were strung up, the ornaments hung including many handmade ornaments from my childhood. In fact, there are two simple construction paper candy canes with glitter that I made when I was who knows how small that have survived all these years. Nothing fancy. I do remember hanging them every year growing up though. I get really excited about decorating and someday would love to decorate the whole house! Last year my friend Kari and I came across an antique store with vintage Christmas Post Cards. They were so cute and I loved reading the messages on the back. Some were sentimental, sweet and sappy and some were cordial and plain. I selected two that were postmarked 1908. This was the year that my house was built so in my mind it was as if these were postcards that could have been received by the original owners of the house.
We had an early Christmas with my Mom and her husband and were generously showered with gifts, mostly for Aven. She was thoroughly entertained with the packaging and had to put every single piece of paper in her mouth. It was actually pretty entertaining. She got some Green Toys "My first Stacker," lots of cute books, some snack cups for traveling, baby food storage containers and an adorable plush fish bowl with assorted items that can be put in and taken out and that make fun noises when squeezed or touched. We had many ambitious plans to bake and cook but things take longer than they should and you end up changing the plans. It was so nice to see them and wonderful for Aven to interact and play with the grandparents.
Yesterday brought our annual Christmas Party. We usually do it open-house style to accommodate the large number of invitees. This year we had a great group. Lots of yummy snacks and wonderful people. I made an Olive Oil Citrus Cake from this book and it was super moist and yummy, highly recommended book & recipe. Always good to have friends over and have the house filled with laughter and voices, it makes me happy to have a bigger house to accommodate these sorts of things.
Today was the quiet after the storm. The house was already cleaned and decorated and there were enough leftovers to nibble on throughout the day. Aven was fussy this morning from her extremely interrupted sleep schedule last night but when she wasn't she was an absolute doll. She is starting to wheel herself in a circle and when she can get enough friction, she'll push her bum in the air and try to push forward (these are the precursors of crawling). I don't think she'll be quite there for Christmas but soon after I bet she will.
Well, the sights, the sounds and the smells of the season are about us. Hope yours is shaping up nicely and that you are spending enough time relaxing and having fun and not stressing about that Christmas list.
Happy holidays to all of you.