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A Perfectly Imperfect Christmas

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This year hasn’t been the picture-perfect Christmas by any stretch.  There’s many things left undone, traditions skipped, and not everything has went as planned.  Laying in bed most of the week last week with a respiratory illness was difficult when there were presents to wrap, Christmas cards to be sent, neighbor gifts I wanted to make, last-minute shopping to finish, and homemade treats I wanted to bake.

Missing my side of the family’s Christmas, a Christmas work dinner, and a concert didn’t make it any easier.  But there’s a bright side to everything.

Less fuss. Less expectations. Less busy. Less hustle and bustle. 

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While there have been more Trader Joe’s cookies consumed than homemade, and my house is not holiday home-tour worthy, no one seems to be disappointed. Perhaps I saved Christmas with the egg-in-the-hole stars we feasted on for lunch or maybe the 3 ingredient reindeer food that I whipped up last night? 

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No one seems to be lacking in Christmas spirit.

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We’ve made good memories together, even if they haven’t been monumental or what I would have planned. There’s been more snuggling on the couch watching movies, more low-key, more simplicity.

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I don’t think they’ll look back on the Christmas of 2013 and say, “Remember that year that you didn’t do Christmas crafts with us?  We didn’t decorate sugar cookies? We didn’t even have Christmas pajamas!!!!!!”

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Nah, I think there are plenty of other things that we’ve done wrong throughout the year that will scar them for life.

This Christmas?  It’s perfectly imperfect.  And we’re fully embracing it. 

{After all, it can’t be worse than when we ate McDonald’s for Christmas at the airport, but then again, that was pretty awesome too.}

This post is part of a series that I’m partnering with Hallmark during this month of December. I’m honored and grateful to be part of their “Life is a Special Occasion” campaign this December.  Don’t you love the Pics’n'Props Photo Kit

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Merry and Bright: Christmas Card 2013

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I had the Christmas crud last week. Hacking my lungs out to the tune of FA-LA-LA-LA-AUGHRHRHGHHHHHH!

It had me down for the count for the week, therefore, I still have a hefty stack of Christmas cards yet to be mailed, along with another zillion things that just won’t get done this Christmas.

Remember when I was wishing for a simple Christmas?  Well, I got it. 

So allow me to redeem myself by getting my Christmas card to you on time this year to you, my online pals.  You are a wonderful community, and I’m thankful for this place where you let me share my heart and our lives.

Wishing you a MERRY and BRIGHT Christmas! 

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Ornamental Memories…

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Don’t you love how so many ornaments hold a story?  The tradition of hanging them on the tree isn’t just for looks or for show. They hold memories. Memories from our childhood, that turn into memories shared with our own children.

four cowboy christmas ornament

This fall, I had a couple of minutes between writing at a nearby coffee shop and having lunch with my business partner (and handsome husband),  to slip in a boutique I had not ever visited.  It was filled with antiques, unique gifts, and the back had a collection of Christmas ornaments. That’s when I spotted it, a perfect ornament for our tree this year.  4 Cowboy Hats with 4 Cowboy Boots!  First of all, let me tell you that ornaments never come in 4s. Always 3′s. Triplets have it made, I tell ya!  After the boy’s cowboy boots souvenirs from our Texas trip and our Halloween cowboys, I knew this ornament had to be an addition to our tree this year.

Hallmark has been owning this sentiment for 40 years now – collections of ornaments not just to adorn our evergreens, but to hold meaning behind our holidays. My cousin Sue has been collecting these since they began in  1973, and has all their original boxes and packaging.  It’s a tradition she enjoyed with her kids, and now her grand kids. They go to Hallmark (and online) every year to pick out their favorites as a family. What an amazing tradition! 

We received two of our own Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments for our tree this year that our boys are obsessed with…

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Our “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” Keepsake ornament is not only beautifully designed, it also plays the well-loved carol. I love that it reminds us of what this season is all about, and the boys love playing the song over and over all day long! I look forward to putting it on our tree for years to come, and remembering how much they loved to play it when they were this age.

hallmark keepsake snow angel ornament

Another instant favorite is the “All the Little Snow Angel” Keepsake Ornament. It came with an adorable book about making unique snow angels on snow days. And the best part is, the girl magically makes snow angels in a continuous motion.

A few more of my favorites that decorate our tree each year? So glad you asked.

four peas in a pod christmas ornament

A friend had this four peas in a pod ornament made for us the boys’ 1st Christmas.  It’s a yearly argument whose tree it gets to go on – the boys or our main tree.

snowflake christmas ornament

This simple snowflake is a leftover from our Christmas wedding in 2002.  We gave them as favors, and used them as decorations at our reception, so it’s a great reminder each year of our marriage and love for one another.  I also love spotting it on many of my friend’s and family’s trees too!

frosty the snowman vintage christmas ornament

This felt vintage Frosty hangs on the boys’ tree. This was one of my favorite ornaments to hang on our tree with my mom every year, and now he’s one of the boys’ favorites.

nutcracker christmas ornament toy solider

And this dancing wooden toy solider is Brad’s favorite from his childhood, and also one of the boys’ as well.  He’s classic, and always has a prominent spot on our tree.

How about YOU?  What ornaments are the first ones you put up each year?  What memories do they hold?  How are you passing down your ornament traditions with your kids? What Hallmark Keepsake ornaments are your favorites? 

This post is part of a series that I’m partnering with Hallmark during this month of December. I’m honored and grateful to be part of their “Life is a Special Occasion” campaign this December. 

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