Christmas in a new home is always both exciting and overwhelming. We've moved enough times now that I've learned how to use what I have to work with the home we're in that year and let the rest stay in boxes for another Christmas. I've also gathered so much over the years from flea markets and thrift stores that I have a few different color schemes I can choose from. What I don't have, I fill in with handmade or store bought. I always get out my favorites and I hope they are the things that the kids remember being special parts of these childhood memories.
This Christmas was the pause before Brett's new job started up. It meant filling in the gaps between paychecks by selling things we didn't have use or room for, resisting the urge to buy anything extra, making smart grocery lists, cutting ALL the fat, staying up late to finish contributor posts, mending the holes in thrifted jackets, counting our blessings when we found a second unexpected amount sitting in an old bank account (check your old accounts!), taking advantage of free holiday activities, splurging on hot chocolate and marshmallows, learning to not just be thankful for what we have but seeing how much we still have.
We ditched the Advent Activity Calendar this year for a few different reasons but still managed to include a few inexpensive or free holiday activities. We made gingerbread houses from graham crackers and homemade frosting. I let the kids pick out two bags of candy each and I don't think I can ever go back to the kits. It was so fun doing something a little different and the frosting held up so well.
Our new rental, sweet rental is only a few blocks from downtown Springfield so we were able to walk to the Christmas parade this year. I remember taking Sebastian as a little boy and freezing as I held him all wrapped up in Brett's jacket. This year I bundled Smith up and wore him in my Ergo and forced a jacket on Ruby before heading down the street.
The kids got more candy than they did at Halloween and finally got to see Santa after countless promises to drive to Bass Pro and give him their wish lists. It was much more fun than standing in line for two hours.
We had a Christmas countdown but Ruby decided it needed a holiday scene so she added Santa and his reindeer. And Olaf. Then we just stopped trying to keep up with the countdown so it stayed at 16 for about a week.
I made mostly new stockings for the banister. I reused one from a DIY last year and then made coordinating ones from fabric and an old sweater. Lest you think this is some sort of sneaky announcement, we only have six stockings because Ruby was convinced Sunday needed one, too. The pom poms are handmade and the adornments are various ornaments and letters I've collected.
Smith has found the stairs, folks. We have purchased a baby gate but laundry baskets have been standing in as well.
We spent some time with Brett's family prior to Christmas and then came home for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to repack, do laundry, drop off gifts, and enjoy a break from all of the driving. It was a little odd as it's only the second time we've been at our own house on Christmas Day but it was also really special waking up to our own tree and opening the presents Santa brought!
We then headed to Oklahoma to see my side of the family and had three more rounds of Christmas gatherings before coming home on New Year's Eve. Brett has been preparing to start his new job in life insurance this week so we got back in time for him to study up for the next round of training. I cleaned and organized our closet and bedroom and set up Smith's crib so that he can start napping and sleeping there at night (at least for the first few hours).
I'm ready to take everything down and hit the refresh button on some newly unpacked spaces. It's time to go buy a few plants, decide on a rug, switch my studio with Sebastian's room, replace some stand in curtains that aren't quite long enough to cover our tall windows, and keep working towards making this place our home, however long that may be.
Have I mentioned our home is gorgeous? Have I mentioned I love the huge kitchen? What about the light that it gets or the beautiful trees in the yard? That's a whole different post to share in the coming weeks.
Whether your Christmas looked a little like ours or completely different, I hope it was special.
Christmas in Springfield 2011
Christmas in Springfield 2010
Christmas in Springfield 2009