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As simple as it may be, putting my kids in Christmas pajamas (pretty much every night) has become my absolute favorite thing to do! They get so excited to put them on & I'll often have them change as soon as they get home from school. I love that they instantly get us in the Christmas spirit. If we're doing a Christmas activity at home, they've got their jammies on! Christmas treats, movies, crafts, books, dance parties, etc.! We even put them on to drive around and look at lights!
2. What would you recommend buying for someone who is infamously tricky to buy for?
Oh man, the anticipation of this one always gets me but it always ends up being a success! Happy giftees every time!
My biggest gift every year is always something handmade. One year I made a wreath using fabric scraps tied to a piece of styrofoam. I've painted quotes on canvas boards and made banners. This year, for Mother's Day, I had a friend sketch each of my children at 6 months old and then had them photocopied and framed as gifts for my mom and mother in law! Of course, bring the kids into it by having them paint something and sticking it in a pretty matted frame!
If you're not in the handmade mood, I say go practical. My husband and I have found that people are less likely to replace outdated practical items for themselves if they still work - even if they could use an update. It's just more fun to buy yourself something you don't already have! This requires a little extra observing to see what could stand to be replaced. This iron was a hit one Christmas and much appreciated! Go kitchen themed and gift wooden spoons and spatulas, measuring cups, cute dish towels, a mug (Target, Home Goods and Anthropologie would be great sources for these), and a bag of coffee. This door mat and this door mat would both be lovely and simple for a front door! I don't know about you but our mats always get so raggedy after a couple of years so this practical gift would be a fun change and much appreciated! I'm also a big fan of my hyrdoflask- it's become a go to gift! The wide mouth option is great for coffee! My kids are even getting the 12 oz with straw lids for Christmas! If all else fails, pajamas and your favorite lipstick or lip balm would be a great gift!
3. Is there a specific Holiday treat you have to make every year?
Without a doubt, my momma's sour cream sugar cookies! They're intensive but so worth it - and the recipe makes tons so they end up being a great gift to take to neighbors!
I have so many sweet memories of making and decorating these cookies growing up. My brother and I would pick our color frosting and sit around the table frosting, sprinkling & obviously comparing the more gifted cookie artist of the two ;) Some years we would have an assembly line with cousins, aunts, uncles and friends!
Now that I have children it has been so fun bringing them in on the Christmas cookie craze. It's fun to see their personalities come out in the cookie cutters they choose and the way they decorate. Henry always leans a little heavy on the sprinkles and Layla thinks too much frosting is never enough frosting ;)
Sour Cream Sugar Cookie recipe
2 c sugar, 1 c butter, 1 c crisco, 4 egg yolks, 1 c sour cream, 1 t vanilla, 1 t baking soda, 5 or 6 c flour (if using cookie cutters use more flour - you'll also need some during the rolling & cutting), mix ingredients together, chill dough overnight, bake @ 350 for 8-10 minutes, let cool
Decorate as desired. We use this buttered frosting: 1 box powdered sugar, 1 stick butter, 1 t vanilla, 4 T evaporated milk
No one said these are good for you ;) but they're incredibly delicious!
4. If you could only listen to 3 songs for all of the Holiday season, what 3 would you choose?
This is funny, I was just chatting with friends about updating my Christmas playlist because I've been listening to the same songs for years! I'll never not love 'All I Want for Christmas is You' by Mariah Carey. 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas' has always been a favorite for me - Francesca Battistelli has a really fun version! 'Silent Night' is the one that I love to put on once the kids go to sleep, tree on, candles burning, cider in hand. Ben Rector has a really sweet acoustic version! Also, A Johnnyswim Christmas is one of my favorite albums!
5. How do you bring the spirit of giving and service into your home during the Christmas season?
I mentioned earlier that we like to share cookies with our neighbors! My oldest, Layla, is always very particular about picking the prettiest cookies to add to their box! Our church provides an advent calendar with service ideas for each day along with the Christmas story. Layla and Henry have really enjoyed going through this list and finding ways to meet the needs of others in simple and age appropriate ways that will make an impact all month long. Last year, we started gifting our children one thing they want, need, wear and read. It was challenging at first but it really allowed our oldest the opportunity to think about wants and needs. We are already so fortunate to not want or need for much and this has opened her eyes to understand that there are others who truly need many of the things that we take for granted.
(One of our favorite prints from Abby's shop!)
Thanks for hanging out, Abby!