The Ho-Ho-Holidays

Hello friends!

(Happy New Years! I am admittedly writing this on the 29th, because I won’t be around the internet much this weekend, but I hope your New Years Weekend is everything you wished, and that 2022 is amazing!)

We did it! Another lovely Christmas in the books! It’s kinda funny though, this year, because I was so careful about spreading the joy out in small doses throughout the month, I think this is the first year where the relief is fairly small, since there simply was not a lot of stress to start. A wonderful Christmas miracle.

We had such fun at the family secret Santa on Christmas eve, got to see some family members who are usually working odd hours or generally don’t make it to as many events, obviously spent a lot of time holding the newest family members, and I think my person liked their gift.

I was randomly assigned my cousin’s fiancé as my secret Santa giftee this year, and since I know family is very important to him and he has a brand new little daughter, I opted to give him a family photoshoot opportunity with all the bells and whistles, prints, a big old frame, the works. A couple people have asked if that was a cheat since I take photos as a hobby and have done shoots for the family before, but to me, saying yes to a photoshoot, whether as a gift (which I’ve done before) or not, guarantees a minimum of about 25-40 hours dedicated work to a project (my cousins wedding was actually closer to 60), and it’s usually kinda expensive for me too, so it’s definitely not a “well I’ll just do this because I have nothing better” gift. At least, I certainly don’t see it that way.

My cousin hosted Christmas since she has such a lovely little home, she’s so proud of. She should be, its adorable and she and her husband have put such time and effort into making it a cozy place to be. They’ve really made it a lovely place to raise kiddos and take on the world together. It’s got lots of little old home quirks but is also updated to show off their personalities.

She made a wonderful dinner, and we all potlucked the side dishes, which worked out amazingly as usual. There was so much good food that I need to run about 40 miles to work off that meal, I ate so much. 

I made green bean casserole with bacon and sauteed mushrooms, as well as no bake peanut butter bars. I know the casserole was delicious, I got to try some, and it was gone before seconds could be had, and I’m hoping the peanut butter bars were good, they were gone before i could try them myself. I assume that’s a good sign. I think it’s also a sign to make some more for new years. I’m also going to make some for my neighbors as a thank you for always scraping my driveway with their snow blade, I’ve never asked but he’s so big hearted that my driveway is almost always cleared day of. I want to make sure he knows he’s appreciated.

I remember as a child someone told me, I wish I remembered who, that calories don’t count over the holidays. Obviously, that’s not true, but I think the sentiment behind it is “don’t make yourself miserable over the holidays, just be prepared to put in the work before and after” and I think that’s fair. For what it’s worth, I also joke that they don’t count because you do so much running around on the holidays you’ve pre burnt them off. Also, I just love watching my brother short out when I say that. I always call it girl math.

Christmas day was lovely and calm, we got up late, and I started the day by baking some cinnamon rolls (that were preassembled, so they were very easy to get in the oven). While they baked, we did our stockings and enjoyed watching the valley slowly wake up. 

I definitely always push the idea that the holiday is not about gifts, as a Christian I think it’s important to consider beyond the platitudes the “reason for the season” and give some thanks and consideration for the overarching importance of the Christmas holiday, but there is something to be said for realizing how much love and effort went into the gifts you received. From my shy little cousin picking out some lovely spice blends for my secret Santa gift, to my dad’s choice of a wonderful light bar for the front of my car (something I’ve been talking about for eons) it was clear to me that a lot of consideration went into my gift choices, and I felt so loved and seen. If similar sentiments are to be believed, Christmas morning had similar vibes for my immediate family members too. My dad got a lovely desk upgrade (which has been riding around in my car under a blanket for over a month because it outweighed me by a decent amount and was both taller and wider than I so I simply could not move it by myself) and I finally (finally!) after many tries in recent years, surprised my brother with a video game he wasn’t expecting but totally loved. My mom’s surprise gift was a hair straightener that is built to work a little better with her disabilities, so now she can do almost anything shed like with her hair independently, and independence is in vogue in our house lately.

I, uh, clearly don’t have a gift for arranging gifts in a decorative way. Also, I couldn’t get the stocking to hang on the stove after I fill them, so they sat in each person’s preferred sitting spot instead

All in all, three days of relaxing, feeling very loved (and very full of food) were much needed, we watched the snow fall, caught a MythBusters marathon, and generally slowed down. Going back to work was a little more of a chore than expected, sure wish I had taken the week off haha.

Until we chat again my friends.

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