On the first day of our twenty-five days, we put a new spin on our old tradition! December 1st is typically the day we drag our old artificial tree out of storage and set it up along with all the trimmings. It’s the same tree Brad & I have been using ever since getting our first apartment together back in 2008. It was a good tree but we decided to change it up, now that we’re in the land of pine trees, and cut down our own real scotch pine! We were fortunate to be able to find a tree farm that went a bit beyond just cutting down our own tree too. This was a special tree farm! Santa made the trek down from the North Pole with Prancer and Dixon, there were pony rides, trolley rides through the farm with Christmas carols, and a petting zoo! But, this is also Minnesota, it should have the same tagline as the show ‘Big Brother’: “Expect the unexpected”. We heard a pretty monster of a storm was set for the first, so we switched up the game plan a bit and rushed out to get our tree the day before.
|Marshall couldn’t stop smiling. (Violet watched the sleigh ride safely in her papa’s arms)|
|Papa helping Marshall get a leg up onto Star|
|A Kansas City cowboy through and through|
|“They’re eating me papa, they’re eating me!”|
|Even a nearby goat joined Violet in the entertainment that is Marshall squealing in a mix of delight and terror|
|Naturally, Marshall had fun singing ‘Jingle Bells’ at the top of his voice and wave like he was in a parade. He’s a celebrity in his mind.|
|“Ohhhh, it’s blowing back isn’t it?!”|
|Apparently Marshall didn’t trust papa’s tying abilities either. He kept a firm grip on the rope even as he watched movies on the way back.|
We still had to kick off December right though! Last year we did the ‘forever falling snow’; this year we decided to do a ‘Christmas case’ full of holiday books and toys from past 25 day celebrations as well as having another snowy surprise for Marshall when he woke up in the morning!
|Memories and momentos from Christmas seasons past.|
|Marshall’s bedroom door|
|Violet’s bedroom door|
|The snowboy & snowgirl surprises|
The snowboy & snowgirl were pretty quick and easy for me to whip up. I used: paper and wrapping paper scraps from my scrapbook drawer, edging scissors, painters tape, and regular scissors. All things I already had on hand. I love using scrapbook paper and old wrapping paper scraps as the prints and textures always seem to add a special touch of whimsy compared to solid color paper. For the scarves I just did long strips of painters tape and quickly alternated patterns onto the tape- super efficient!
|Of course he picked the snowball shooters first. His papa may have been egging him on as well (there’s a reason we had to have two after all)|
|Talking to Clementine Bell the elf at the north pole. They talked about who some of their favorite people to talk to were (spoiler alert: he said his mama is!) and imitated reindeer.|
One thing that I love about Marshall is how fun he makes doing these things for him. As soon as he woke up he called for Brad and I to come look. He just kept saying “Mama make this for me!!” and “Thank you! Thank you so, so much!” he’s always so grateful for these fun surprises. The whole morning was full of smiles and exuberance. A perfect welcome to December!
Before long, though, it was time to get ready to head to school. Marshall loves school so it wasn’t too hard to get him out the door. The promise of more holiday fun could have helped too.
After picking up Marshall from school, we headed over to the store! We stopped to do our annual ornament shopping. Every year, we let Marshall pick out any ornament his little heart desires. We also pick out a picture frame ornament annually for our family picture- a tradition Brad & I started on our very first Christmas together in 2007. Of course, this year we also bought a very special picture ornament as well: Violet’s ‘baby’s first Christmas’ ornament! After this year she will be able to pick out her own ornaments too.
|So many options! Jack Skellington, Batman, a firetruck, and a robot were all considered before he found his 2015 choice|
|A burger and fries with a heart that says “bff” between them|
|It pretty perfectly captures his goofy nature|
Sure, one day we may have a perfect coordinating and manicured tree. For now it’s a fun and pretty treasured tradition and we love having a tree that tells our family story.
|Growing from baby to boy and showing what catches his eye along the way.
Officer Claus (’12), Helicopter (’13), Biker Santa (’14), Burger & Fries (’15)
|And a story that quite literally shows the progression of college sweethearts turning into a blossoming family
(2015 will be added in a week)
|The boys hung the lights while Violet looked on in awe|
|Our stockings! Brad & mine are from 2008; Marshall got an updated one to match his sister’s. One day, when we feel our family is complete, we will get all matching stockings. For now mismatched will do.|
|Violet was even decorated in the process|
|A tradition of ours, decorating the tree in pajamas and with cocoa. This year we made triple chocolate cocoa: hot chocolate with chocolate milk and chocolate syrup over whip cream|
|And of course, our dutch apple pie. It’s not Christmas tree decorating without classic Christmas music, pajamas, cocoa, and dutch apple pie|
Our kickoff to this year’s celebrations took some tweaking due to the weather- which in Minnesota is to be expected- but we still managed to have a pretty great December 1st. We were able to add new memories to our growing collection, and see how far we have come. This really is the most wonderful time of the year; I feel so fortunate to be able to find new ways to celebrate it with my little loves, as well as share old traditions with them. Be sure to bring your sweet tooth tomorrow as we stir up some more fun!