Happy Thursday! It’s the second to last Thursday of the month so I am linking up with Holly and Patty to answer 10 fun seasonal questions. It’s a week early because next Thursday is Thanksgiving. I love thinking about my answers and seeing everyone else’s answers, too!
1. Favorite holiday traditions?
Oh where to begin… We have a bunch of holiday traditions and I love them all!! We drive around and look at Christmas lights most Friday nights. I try to find at least one new Christmas lights event to go to each year. In the past few years we’ve been to Enchant Christmas, Symphony of Lights, Cascade Lights, ICE, Sailing through the Winter Solstice, Hershey Park Christmas Candylane, Zoolights at the National Zoo, and 34th Street in Baltimore. I have a new one planned for this year and I am excited about it.
I love our ornament tradition. My parents got us an ornament on Christmas Eve every year that is representative of something that year. It makes it so fun to decorate the tree each year. We’ve started it for our kids and they love it.
We go to the Electric Lights parade in my hometown. I love a small town parade and this is one of my favorites! We usually get window table reservations at a restaurant that is a few steps up from street level. The food is great, the wine is great, and it’s so cozy and warm!
We bake cookies and decorate gingerbread houses with family. I hope my boys are making great memories like I have doing this with their grandparents!
We started celebrating Jolabokaflod a few years ago on Christmas Eve. I pick out books for everyone at the Christmas Eve table. I hope they’ll love them and make some time to read over the next few weeks.
Speaking of Christmas Eve, my mom always gives everyone pajamas on Christmas Eve. It just wouldn’t be the same without new jammies on Christmas Eve, right Mom? 😂
2. What holidays do you celebrate?
We celebrate Christmas.
3. How early do you shop?
I’d love for my answer to be so early that I am almost done, but that is absolutely not true! I have picked up a few things throughout the year, vacation souvenirs, prime day deals, but I still have a ways to go. I am in full thinking/shopping mode right now and will probably stay here until mid December.
4. When do you decorate?
I start decorating by 8 am on Black Friday. The main tree goes up first and I get the lights on it asap. Then I go bin by bin putting things out and rearranging. I have a blank square (absolutely nothing on the calendar) on Sunday so I am going to try to get all the outside lights up, but we won’t turn them on until we get home from Thanksgiving dinner.
5. Do you host any holiday festivities?
I do! Since we moved into our house, I always host Christmas Eve dinner. I make my mom’s traditional Christmas Eve dinner and I love it!
I usually host Christmas Day, too. My parents spend the night Christmas Eve and stay for breakfast and presents. Then they head home for a few hours and come back for the evening. Jeff’s parents come over in the evening, too. I stopped making Christmas dinner a few years ago and we have snacks or appetizers all day. It’s great because my kids are old enough to grab something when they are hungry and I can relax all day.
I’ve hosted a casual girlfriends happy hour/evening in the past and that was so fun! The only rule was dress casually! I may have threatened to turn anyone who arrived in pants with buttons away, but I let them stay anyway. I made some yummy appetizers and desserts and we all relaxed for one evening during this busy season.
6. Favorite holiday meals or recipes to share?
Our Christmas Eve dinner just might be my favorite meal of the year. we have a cradled rib roast, potatoes around the meat, and broccoli.
My mom makes sticky buns for Christmas morning and they are so yummy! I made them and tried to make a gluten free version, but her’s are the best. I think it’s because she makes them with love. 😉
For New Years Day, we always have pork. I love pork tenderloin! We are supposed to have sauerkraut with it for good luck, but I do not love sauerkraut so I try to skip it. We’ve been pretty lucky, so I think we are doing ok without it.
7. Best holiday organization tips?
Lists, lists, and more lists! On December 26th, I start a list in my phone notes with ideas for gifts for the next year. I keep a list of what I’ve purchased and what needs to be purchased. I make lists of food ideas for parties and family gatherings. I make lists of holiday activities and movies. On Sundays, I make lists of everything that is happening and what I expect to get done each day for the upcoming week. And I make my regular lists, also – to do lists, grocery lists, work thoughts, etc.
8. Gift wrapping – love it or hate it?
I actually love wrapping gifts. However I don’t usually love wrapping Christmas gifts because I end up doing it all in one or two sessions and it’s a little overwhelming and rushed.
9. Holiday coffee drink – yes please or hard pass?
Hard pass! I do not like coffee in any form or flavor. I do love hot chocolate with peppermint vodka though. 😉
10. Are you a holiday baker? Recipes to share?
I am a holiday baker, but I am thinking about cutting back this year a little. I will always make sandtarts (decorated cookies) but I’m not sure I’m going to make all the cookies and treats. I think I am going to make peanut blossoms, pretzel/Hershey kiss/m&ms, and buttercream candy. I can always count on Jeff’s mom to make her delicious thumbprint cookies. I’ve tried to make them and mine are not nearly as good as hers.
That was fun! I am getting so excited for Christmas! I am going to show major restraint and wait until Friday morning to decorate, but it’s going to be hard. I’ll be back tomorrow for a favorite Friday Favorites post. Have a great day full of sunshine and books!