I finally have ALL my Christmas shopping done. It's actually kind of sad for me because picking out gifts is just too much fun. I ended up finding (and winning!) Garrett's on eBay... I had gone back and forth on what to get him and it finally came down to the wire and I went with it. I'm flying to Florida on Sunday for a whole week and I am counting down the days. I love going home in general, but it's especially perfect around the holidays. We're pretty low-key about everything which means there's not a lot of stress or running around. So great!
Even though I put a lot of pressure on myself to get great gifts and I think watching people open their gifts is a thrill, it's the little things that really add up to make Christmastime Christmastime.
image via Affari
1. Going through the stack of holiday cards // Honestly, this is one of the first things I do the minute I get home. My mom keeps all the holiday cards in a basket in the kitchen. I normally set up shop at the table or on a bar stool and flip through the stack in its entirety. It's so fun to "see" all of our family friends and read snippets of their lives.
2. Eating fudge covered Oreos // Garrett and I love the Oreos and eat them straight from the freezer because, duh, they taste better frozen. I'm using "fudge covered Oreos" as a blanket term for all the delicious candies and desserts that come out for a limited time. My mom is pretty great about stocking the pantry with all of our favorite "winter" snacks. Even though it's cliche, I do love a good candy cane.
3. Reading every night // With no real schedule to follow, everyone in the family can kind of just catch up on reading. We all love to read and tend to exchange favorites once everyone is home. I love to read in bed– I miss my bed!!!!– or out on the porch if it's a cooler night.
4. Eating on the porch // Speaking of the porch, winter is basically the only time when we can eat outdoors in Florida without worrying about (too many) bugs or sweltering heat. Growing up we always, always sat down to the kitchen table to eat dinner together every night. (I always assumed that's what everyone's family did, but apparently that's not the case.) We still keep up with that when everyone is in the house. Even though the table on the porch is directly behind our kitchen and only a few feet away from the regular table, it just feels extra special!
5. Driving around to look at Christmas lights // My mom loves to drive around and look at all the lights. It's fun to pile into the car and slowly wind up and down the streets around town. Last year we were at the beach and we went to this crazy park where every square inch was covered in lights.
6. Watching Eloise at Christmastime // We have to. Every. Single. Year.
7. Game nights // At some point during the holidays, we end up playing games. Yahtzee, Taboo, and Mad Gab are our go-tos. We take Yahtzee really seriously, it's actually pretty embarrassing. And Mad Gab is hilarious to play... especially when my dad is up. (He makes the most ridiculous sounds when he's trying to figure it out.)
8. Fire pit and s'mores // My dad had a fire pit built in our backyard (when we finally took down the swing set). You can't sit out there without smelling like smoke for twenty-four hours, but even still it's always nice and cozy. My mom has a fun tray we keep all the graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate on; we sit out there for hours nibbling on the s'mores and burning more marshmallows. (And someone, aka my dad, always ends up throwing in pixie sticks because it changes the color of the flames.)
9. Baking cookies // The house is definitely a house for baking. With two ovens and a mom who literally bakes all the time, there's always delicious things being pulled in and out of the oven. One of the best recipes is my mom's friend's grandmother's (I think) recipe for sugar cookies. So. Good. And we decorate them and/or bring in some kids from the neighborhood to help!
10. Doing nothing // Is there anything better than just not having anywhere to be or anything to do?! We got a taste of it over Thanksgiving; one morning my mom, sister, and I sat on the couch just watching movies and eating doughnuts. I love sitting on the couch upstairs in the Ladies Lounge with my sister watching whatever marathon is playing on the TV. Simply, the best.
All the little things end up adding to the best time spent with family! What are some of your favorite "little things" to do?