So -- how does one do Christmas when going to school, working full time and raising a family. Well let me tell you, it doesn't look like a perfect Pinterest scene and there may be a melt down or two )melt down coming from me, not anyone else).
Here's how I do it -- well how I half-ass it.
The thing is, the most important part about Christmas is remembering 1. the birth of our savior, and 2. being with family and friends, enjoying the warmth of their company and the realization of how lucky most of us are.
To start, I found this super easy, super inexpensive gift idea for the neighbors (um, yeah it was on Pinterest -- but I dumbed it down a little). So little work but a nice little something to let them know we were thinking about them. You can see original post here. I didn't bother using fancy paper, just printed out the cute little poem on regular paper and attaching that.
We spent the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas decorating, we have three trees, one in the family room with all the collected ornaments through the years, one in the living room that we cut down and decorate in red and gold and one in our bedroom (not pictured on this blog because our room is a mess) which has my husband's Star Trek and Star Wars ornaments on it -- he's been collecting these ornaments since Hallmark started selling them years ago.
Our Family Room
So Christmas Eve we have a party with family and friends. This year with my schedule I had to be super organized and to keep it simple (and for those of you who don't know me this really is simple -- and I can be organized - once in awhile)
A couple weeks before the party I started baking cookies, I had a variety of five different kinds (mint chocolate chip, lemon cookies, oreo rice kirspie bars, praline bars, & ginger cookies).
The five days before Christmas Eve I was scheduled to work every (EVERY) night (I work 7pm-7am). So I'd prepare the chilis, salsa and some other things each morning I came home then I'd go to sleep. I'd also give Jason (the best husband ever) a list of things to do and hired my sister to clean the house. (Oh and I know people hate me but I finished my shopping by the beginning of December and had the presents wrapped)
Appetizers -- made easy!
Bought some pre-made artichoke dip and threw in into a mini crock pot, bought shrimp and veggie tray. I did make the salsa and 'cowboy cavier'.
Ahhh, Hannah, letting us play with her -- she looks thrilled doesn't she
Drink area -- wine, drinks, keurig hot drinks and bottled water -- again, keeping it simple
And.....the most important part of the evening -- friends and family
Niece Bridget and her boyfriend, Ryan
Cousin Emily and adorable son, Hudson
My own adorable son and fabulous husband
Isaac with our close friends Abi and Caitlin
Abi and her dad, Kevin
And what are cousins for, if not to rabbit ear your head during a picture (here's my other so, Jake, with his cousin, Bridget, and her boyfriend)
Jason's aunt, Laura-Jane and her grandson, Hudson
Collen, Caitlin, Katrina and Ag
Us -- and my husband who thinks he's terribly amusing (okay, he is and I really shouldn't be putting this on the internet, but hey, we're keeping in real here at Zimmerhouse)
Glenn (brother in law) and Mike (cousin in law)
(Mike and Emily)
(mother in law, Sher and Mike)
Aunt Laura Jane and Bob (doesn't everyone have an Uncle Bob? I think so)
Brother in law's brother, Russel and his bride Carrie
Jason and his mama, Sher
Every Christmas we do a White Elephant Gift exchange that's loads of fun
I suck at selfies -- I look like I'm having a stroke here -- or I look really tired -- worked the night before and only got three hours of sleep earlier that day
More fortification before putting out the presents from Santa and stuffing stockings
So -- Christmas day -- everyone super happy with their gifts -- we went to my sister and brother in law's for breakfast and cam home and hung out.
Isaac putting together his new Minecraft lego set
I got a cute pair of Danskos and some baseball flip flops for next summer
Jason likes his new Darth Vader Potato Head
Jake wanted clothes and Elite socks -- and he was quite pleased
I don't get the whole elite socks thing -- but okay/
And my favorite tradition of all -- hubby and I play super scrabble in our pj's all day while the kids play with their new toys. He always wins -- ugh, I even got to use all my letters one play and he still won.
And what was I most thankful for today? I got called off of work for a low census (yes I was scheduled) so spent the day with the family.
I hope that all of you had a wonderful holiday season, that you didn't work too hard, and that you enjoyed the warmth of your family and friends.