I'm a little late on the 1st and 2nd day, but better late than never, right? For the 12 days (December 1-12) I'm going to link up to Caitlin over at theblessedlife. Enjoy!
On the 1st Day of Christmas...
What Does Christmas Mean to You?
First and foremost it is a wonderful celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. With out His birth, we would not have the wonderful gift of salvation. Without His birth God would not have sent Him to die on the cross so we may be forgiven of our sins. The salvation of our precious souls depends on His birth! And what better thing to do than celebrate it with joyful and thankful hearts!
Christmas also means to me:
*Spending time with my family
*Buying gifts for loved ones (I love to shop, especially for other people! Really!)
*This year, making gifts!
*Yummy food and sweets
*Family Traditions, old and new
*Christmas music & movies
*Putting up the tree and decorations with my husband
*Driving around looking at the pretty lights people put up (I don't like the net lights or houses with just inflatables, where's your creativity?!)
*Just the all around "feeling" of Christmas. It's such a wonderful time, unfortunately it saddens me that for some people it's a stressful and sad time.
On the 2nd Day of Christmas...
My Grandma's stockings - Years ago (probably before I was born) my Grandma made stockings for our family. It wouldn't be Christmas without them! Since we have added 4 people to my immediate family (my husband, my brother in law and 2 nephews) recently, we have the task of making 4 more from her old patterns and supplies. Fun!
Here's the tree at my parents several years ago. You can *kind of* see the stocking hanging from a cabinet door.
And yes those are purple lights (mom's choice! lol) Yes it's a big tree (12 feet, anything less with vaulted ceilings would look silly). Yes it takes a long time to set up and decorate, including 2 ladders. Not its not prelit, the 1200+ lights are put on by hand. Wears me out thinking about it! It looks like a lot of presents, but with this tree the bottom branches lay on the ground so nothing goes under it.
Decorating - Pretty broad, but I LOVE putting a Christmas tree up! This year I'm making some new ornaments. When I finish, expect a post!
Growing up I loved putting ornaments on the tree my parents had when they were kids. I'm such a softy for sentimental items. So I decided to add a new ornament to our collection each year. I can't wait until several years down the road when our kids are putting ornaments on the tree and see the years of our marriage in ornaments.
For this year's ornament I found one on Ebay. I wanted something personalized and commemorating it was the year we got hitched. I couldn't post a picture, but you can find the auction here. Check out their eBay shop, they have some adorable ornaments!!!
Here's our tree 2 years ago (when we had been dating a couple months). Doesn't it look so cozy with the stockings and fire in the fireplace?! Love it!
And Brett and I the same year in front of my parents tree (this time blue lights).
And I don't think I took any pictures last Christmas. I still don't believe it, but I can't find anything. I will be sure that doesn't happen this year!
Advent Calendar - This was the calendar that my sister and I fought over on deciding who got to move the mouse.
A couple years ago my mom found some on the internet so we each have one now! I didn't know it, but it came from Avon. Pretty old school, but I love it! Good ole sentimental items!
I hope to start many new traditions for Brett and I, especially as we eventually add to our family.
On the 3rd Day of Christmas...
Now this post might be pretty short. I am having trouble coming up with gift ideas for my own family, so it might be pretty hard to come up with different ones since I don't want to spill the beans on what I'm getting people.
But my #1 recommendation is that when buying gifts that you try to support individuals/small businesses. So places like etsy and eBay are great starts. Or even "home show" business such as Thirty One, Pampered Chef, Premier Jewelry, etc. Also, check out small businesses and boutiques in your area. I know Louisville had "Small Business Saturday" along with a lot of other cities last Saturday so that not just the big retailers benefit from after Thanksgiving shopping.
If you're trying to have a budget Christmas, I also suggest making gifts. I am going to try to do some of that this year, but can't share my projects because that would be no fun! But there are some fabulous blogs out there with a lot of tutorials for Christmas gifts. Check out some of my favorites on my sidebar.
Here are some of my favorite etsy items I've come across:
Petal Drop Necklace from the Pleated Poppy
Or for the writer in your family a covered notebook also from the Pleated Poppy
Bird Apron from PigandCompany
Owls & Elephants from See Kate Sew
Aren't these adorable?! Her blog is full of tutorials and ideas too!
If you're fresh out of ideas like me, most sites have gift lists by person and price range so that's a great start to get some ideas. I suggest Amazon and Target. While looking around on Etsy, I discovered they also have a fun gift finder. You can like to Facebook and find gifts for certain people, or search by category. Although I don't know how useful that is...I tried it out and it said "Because X likes University of Louisville, here's University of Kentucky". So they clearly don't understand sports rivalries! And it's not available for every person.
When shopping, here are a couple of things I suggest you look for:
*Personalized - if you take the time to personalize something (or get it personalized) it's a little more special and thoughtful
*Practical - gifts that someone can use every day to make their life a little easier is always a good idea. Especially if you know they use the item(s)
*Splurge - if there's something that you know someone wants but they can't afford it or justify it (and you can) go ahead and be the one to give them what they've been wanting for a while
*Activities/Games - I like to gift things that will give me time with the person I'm giving it to. So a game (board, multi player video, etc) is great, or tickets to a concert, play, museum, etc are a fun gift too.
Most importantly, put a little thought into it! It will show.