10 on the 10th: About our Holiday-- Times 2!

 Today I am actually linking up with two different Q&A posts-- Leslie's 10 on the 10th and Joanne's Festive BonBon.   I think they work well as a combined post since they both are all questions about our Christmas celebrations and winter fun.  

We'll start with Leslie's 10 on the 10th questions:

1. In what ways do you decorate for the winter holiday season?  Do you use traditional colors or have your own color scheme?  Is there a theme to your decorating?

We put up a Christmas tree and assorted small decorations around the house.  My color scheme is quite traditional now but I do change it up every few years. 




2. Share a family holiday tradition or recipe.  Is there something new you plan to try this year?

I'm finding that the older my boys get the more our traditions fall away.  There aren't many that they are willing to participate with anymore but one I will never get tired of is buying an ornament for everyone each year.  My mom and step-father started this tradition with us kids when they were on their honeymoon and it's one I've kept going with my kids.  I try to make sure each person's ornament signifies something special about the year for them-- a car ornament when Ian got his license, a plane ornament for Evan when he was 4 and took his first plane ride-- that kind of thing.  Each year decorating our tree is like a trip down memory lane and when the boys move out they'll each have a large box or ornaments to start decorating their own trees. 

3. Do you have a favorite Christmas book, movie, song or TV show?  Why is it special to you?  Is there a popular holiday book, program or movie you have never seen?

I'm not sure I could list just one favorite in each category!  I love Christmas books, movies, shows, and songs!  I'm not sure there are any that I haven't seen!  I will have a full post about my Favorite Christmas movies on Monday with our Not Just a Mom link up.  In the meantime here is a link to an old list of FAMILY favorite movies we've watched with our boys. 




4. How do you handle the stress of the holidays?  Do you have some go-to for restoring calm to your life when things get crazy?

I don't find the holidays all that stressful as long as I plan ahead of time.  I get my shopping and wrapping done early so I don't have much of anything to do at all in the weeks leading up to Christmas.  

5. What will you wear over the holidays?  Do you dress up for New Year’s Eve?

I tend to wear whatever I feel like in the moment for the holidays.  Our families are very casual so usually jeans or  leggings with a sweater.  

December 2017 at my mom's house Christmas eve

We don't dress up or do much of anything at all for New Year's Eve. I typically make a big meal and we watch a family movie then go to bed.  We have never made it up to midnight in the 18 years since we've had kids (they never have wanted to either!)

6. How do you feel about snow?  What are the chances you will see a white Christmas?  Do you enjoy any snow day activities?  What will the weather be like where you live in this last month of the year?

I love how pretty the snow looks but I hate how cold and wet and slippery it is.  We have had White Christmases in the past but the last few years it seems like it's more of a trend for the snow to come after the New Year.  We like to snowshoe but now that the kids are older we don't do any other snow day activities like building snowmen or snow forts.  So far December is pretty wet and cold with temps averaging in the 40's so I don't think we'll have a white Christmas but only time will tell.

7. Do you have a gift-giving budget?  For how many people do buy gifts?  Do you buy for the postman, your hair dresser, nail tech, children’s teachers?  When do you open gift?  Who is the hardest person you buy for?

I've actually never written out a budget for Christmas. I know who we have to buy for and I have a set budget for each person but I have never wanted to know an exact total of what the holiday season costs us.  I would be very tempted to skip Christmas like the Kranks in Christmas with the Kranks. We don't buy gifts for any non-family members (in all fairness I've always been my kids' teacher until high school and then there are just waaay to many teachers to buy for) and I have never met our postwoman.  I just give our hairdresser a larger than normal tip at Christmas.  We buy for our 11 nieces and nephews, our parents, our boys, and occasionally each other.  A few years I've made craft gifts for mine and my husband's siblings and their spouses. 

We open gifts Christmas eve with my mom and siblings, we open our gifts Christmas morning then open gifts just a few hours later with my mother in law and husband's sibling.  Typically we open gifts with my husband's dad the Saturday before Christmas but this year since Christmas falls on Friday we'll get together the day after Christmas. 



I find all the men-- my husband, father- in law, step-father the hardest to buy for. None of them are into sports, drinking, hunting, fishing, etc. that all the men's gifts seem to be geared towards. 

8. If you could give a kind of impossible gift to someone, what would it be?  Perhaps something beyond your price range?  Or something you can’t buy.  Something intangible.

I have often dreamed of gifting a HUGE family vacation to my mom/step-father, siblings and their families.  I think we'd have a great time spending a week together somewhere fun and my siblings and their kids never seem to take vacations of any kind so I'd love to spoil them if we could. 

9. As we bid farewell to 2021, what was your biggest success this year?  Will you be making goals or resolutions or plans for 2022?  If so, what will some of them be?

I try not to make any goals or resolutions for the year since I never stick to them; I try to set small goals throughout the year.  I think my biggest success this year was getting our basement finished and furnished (though we're still waiting for the furniture to come in).




10. Describe 2021 in 3 words.  Name 3 things you wish for in 2022.
 
2021 was fast, fun, and full.  I wish that 2022 will bring a fun family vacation or two, lots of great memories, even more successes and growth for all of the boys, and a healthful and happy year for us all.


Now onto Joanne's Questions... some of which are repeats or overlap but that's okay! 

1. Christmas Tree – do you have one, when does it go up, who decorates it, is there a theme or is it miss-matched?

We put our tree up the day after Thanksgiving each year.  We all pitch in to decorate it around dinnertime while watching a movie.  Our tree is filled with family memory ornaments so while it looks miss-matched there is a theme there. 

An ornament my parents (mom & step-father) bought me in high school.



2. Christmas carols – yes or no, faves? Traditional or modern. 

I love Christmas carols and used to sing in our school choir when I was in high school so I feel like I know ALL the carols.  However, we don't sing carols in our family and if my family had their way we wouldn't even listen to Christmas music! 

3. Christmas books – any faves you want to tell us about? 

I can tell you the favorite Christmas books I've read so far this year... The Christmas Wedding Guest, In a Holidaze, & Dear Santa. I'm also looking forward to reading The Christmas Bookshop just as soon as I finish two other books I'm in the middle of reading. 





 

4. Christmas movies – any you watch year after year?

Every year without fail we watch Elf and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  I also make sure to watch The Holiday, Love Actually, and While You Were Sleeping.

5. Christmas cake – yes or no? 

Nope.  My grandmother used to get a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting each year but that tradition ended with her passing.  We tend to make whatever dessert catches our eye each year.




6. Chocolate nuts or fruit?

Since I'm not 100% sure exactly what this question means I'm going to have to go with no.  I mean we often have mixed nuts as part of our snacking table and we have fruit salad at our Christmas brunch most years but I think this must refer to something a bit more than that... 

7. Christmas traditions?

For the last few years my mom has hosted Christmas Eve and since they attend mass just before our party and there are so many of us (and so many young, picky eaters!) we started getting take out pizzas; the kids loved this new tradition! 


We take turns hosting Christmas Brunch with my husband's brothers side of the family.  My mother in law comes and we each bring some food to share regardless of who hosts.  Since we all live close together we often get together in our pajamas and the kids have just finished opening gifts so the cousins are eager to share and talk to one another about all that they've found. 

We hosted last year and Alec made homemade croissants for everyone.  Then we mixed up some scrambled eggs, had some bacon and fruit and muffins.


8. What’s on the table?

Our Christmas dinner changes from year to year.   Last year we went to my brother in law's house.  This year we've been talking about having some roast beef or a pot roast with mashed potatoes, green beans, salad, and rolls.  We'll have apple pie and probably Christmas crack (as I've already been told we HAVE to make a batch soon). 




9. Christmas memories?

Oh boy, I have so many... I still distinctly remember one Christmas when I was really young my sister and I came downstairs to find these toy cruise ships with a hot tub (or maybe a small pool?) on the top most floor that held real water and tiny dolls that you could move about the ship.  Then when we were older but before either of us had kids we used to spend Christmas night together at the movies with our now husbands.  The boys squealing with excitement over what Santa brought them-- simple things like stuffed animals or a Lego set made them so happy. Small things like that.  

10.All I want for Christmas is…

To have the family all together with everyone healthy and present in the moment. 


Linking up with: #AMonthofFaves, 










Comments

  1. That Christmas crap looks so good I might have to make some today! I happen to make a red velvet cake every Christmas with the cream cheese frosting so this year I will think of your grandma! I hope you have a sweet and festive weekend!

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    1. The funny thing was that she insisted it was my father's favorite and he would be so upset if we didn't have it every year and... he never ate it! LOL. The rest of us did out of guilt but after a huge meal that is a heavy dessert.

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  2. Thank you for linking up with us. I greatly enjoyed reading through both sets of your answers. I love your tradition of thoughtfully selecting an ornament for each of your children every Christmas. Like you, many of our Christmas traditions have softened as our children get older -- but our grandchildren are now thankfully reviving this!

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  3. A huge family trip would be so much fun!

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    1. I've always thought so; but with no pressure to spend all day every day walking around together as I have seen large crowds just wandering around looking lost.

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  4. Guys are SO hard to buy for!! Seriously. My husband, my dad, and my FIL are definitely the hardest every year. And I'm reading In a Holidaze right now and I'm LOVING it. So good!

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    1. Yep, same here-- none of the men in our family are drinkers or into sports or any of that other traditional "guy" stuff so it makes it even harder!

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  5. I love these lists and such great answers I feel like I am similar in so many of these. Enjoy your weekend!

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  6. My husband is always to hardest for me to shop for. I agree, if you can plan ahead it makes a big difference with how the holidays feel. Red velvet with cream cheese frosting is my fav! Maybe someone can pick up the tradition for you all. Hope you have a good weekend!

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    1. My son easily could but none of us actually enjoyed the cake so we don't really miss it! LOL

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  7. This post is making me so happy. All this food is making me hungry.
    www.rsrue.blogspot.com

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  8. This is a fun post! I like seeing what people do/how people celebrate Christmas! I agree, guys are so hard to buy for! I have my brother and dad to buy for and neither really have any hobbies. I'm getting my dad a Hydroflask travel coffee thermos this year. The Hydroflask water bottles are great if you need any ideas!

    We don't really have many Christmas traditions either. My mom will get us a Hallmark ornament each year and on Christmas eve we do snacks/appetizers and watch a Christmas movie. Last year we ended up just having a lazy Christmas day and binge watching The Mandalorian on Disney+. It was fun and not something we normally do. This year we are planning on watching a couple of Marvel movies.

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    1. We did Yeti thermoses last year and they were a hit! Everyone loves a good thermos. This year I did joint gifts for the moms& dads and my husband and I elected not to exchange gifts as we have bought a lot of big purchases for ourselves this year.

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  9. So fun reading this! So many good movies to choose from- thanks for sharing those books- adding a couple to my list!

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  10. I just made some Christmas crack! I love it so much, we'll see if I can share any :)

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    1. I'm trying to hold off one more week so we can bring part of it to a holiday party or else I will eat it ALL!

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  11. I love your Paris Christmas ornament. I usually set a budget for each person and try to stick to it, but it doesn't always work. I don't really set a whole budget either. I need to make that Christmas crack. It is sooo good and everyone loves it. I need to watch the Dog that Saves Christmas. Sounds cute. Have a great weekend.

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    1. Thanks! I love our "memory" ornaments! I just try to make sure that I spend the same approximately the same amount on each of my nieces and nephews and that my boys all have a pretty equal sending as one another too but that amount varies each year depending on how our finances are looking.

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  12. Your tree looks so pretty and festive.
    Ahh! I know how you feel, my girls are at an age now where they don't want to do all the traditional things that we used to. Hmmf. So I'm going to make my own gingerbread house without them. hehehe
    I am going to make a point of watching the film The Holiday. I've never seen it before. I love Love Actually though.
    We always get a takeaway pizza on Christmas eve too. After I've spent most the day in the kitchen preparing xmas dinner cooking is the last thing I want to do. x

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    1. I bet you will love The Holiday! We love our take out pizza; my mom wasn't 100% on board when we first suggested it but it has become a tradition we all look forward to.

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  13. Oh, you have such lovely Christmas traditions even if you don't call them that! And, what is Christmas if you don't watch (and sing along with ) Elf? I like Elin Hilderbrand's books about Christmas on Nantucket. I'd love to go there just once! I have made Christmas crap (we call it Christmas crack) once...we all loved it. I need to make it again!

    https://marshainthemiddle.com/

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    1. Oh yes, I have enjoyed Elin's books about Nantucket a lot. My husband and I finally made it out there last summer and I really enjoyed it a lot; now I just have to try and make sure we make it back there!

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  14. I agree that it gets tougher to have the same traditions as kids get older. This year will be much different for us, with Grace home from college for just a few weeks. I know she will just want to relax, so that is what we will plan to do! Have a good weekend!

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    1. I find I enjoy a more laid back and relaxed holiday season myself so as long as my boys don't feel like they're missing out on anything I'm Okay with our new somewhat non-traditions.

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  15. Love love love this - and so glad you linked up. It's reminded me I need to make a batch of Christmas crack - & get the special Christmas coloured M&Ms in for the purpose. Thanks for sharing your Christmas traditions & spreading some of the joy of the season.

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    1. Ooh! We should try putting M&M's in there this year; we haven't made crack with M&M's before!

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  16. A lot of our traditions have changed over the years because life changes. I think it's like all changes...it's somehow hard but usually good!!
    XOXO
    Jodie
    www.jtouchofstyle.com

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    1. Yeah, I find that our traditions for most holidays change a bit each year; I actually don't mind as that has freed us up to be flexible without feeling sad or nostalgic about our old traditions.

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  17. I enjoyed reading your post and how you celebrate the holidays. Thank you for linking up with #weekendcoffeeshare.

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  18. Great idea to combine two link ups and thanks for joining us for our Festive Bon Bons Link Party. As I live in Australia, we don't have a White Christmas or the chance to wear Christmas jumpers. I do love tradition though and even though it is hot in Queensland we still have a roast turkey but also seafood and salads. Enjoy your Festive Season #weekendcoffeeshare

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    1. I think I could really get into a Christmas dinner of seafood and salad! YUM. (My boys would hate that though).

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  19. How funny that you and your family had never stayed up until 12o clock at new years eve. We couldn't care less about it either, but we do stay up. It's lovely to learn more about a blogger, thanks.

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    1. Yeah, I was really surprised that they have never seen the big deal in staying up. We almost all always end up in bed at our usual times so it becomes just like any other night for us.

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  20. I really like your tradition of buying a decoration for everyone each year. Those decorations must each represent a special event and bring some good memories.

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  21. That ornament tradition is so cute! I've never heard of one quite like that. We are in the process of decorating the tree now and are unearthing the time capsule of ornaments from my childhood/high school! haha

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    1. Thank you! It does make Christmas decorating a lot of fun.

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  22. I've been buying ornaments every year for my kids too! They will have a nice collection when they end up getting their own trees. We watch Elf as a family every year too! And I enjoyed In a Holidaze.

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    1. That's what we figured too; it was nice to have a decent amount of ornaments for our tree that first year leaving home.

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  23. This was a great read! Thanks so much for joining up with us for our special Festive Bonbons linkup. Your answers to both sets of questions were so interesting. I love your traditions too!

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  24. Hi Joanne - I loved reading all your Christmas memories and seeing your decorations and family traditions. I agree completely that Christmas is all about family - it's not the glitz and glamour, it's being together and celebrating the reason for the season.

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  25. I hope for a proper family vacation for next year!

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  26. I agree that the men are always the hardest to buy for. And I too grew up with the tradition of getting an ornament each year and we've continued the tradition with our kids. It can be a challenge to find a good one but it's also so fun when the perfect one just appears!

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    1. Yes! There are some years where I have a pretty specific idea in mind and I just love when I can actually find it!

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  27. I loved all your answers. The second set were fun too. I buy a new ornament for my girls and grandkids each year

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