Christmas Traditions: Part II

Happy Wednesday!

The rain is coming down swiftly outside, and I’m inside with my heater going.

Is it just me or is this week going unbearably slow? I think I say this every week, but this one in particular is like molassess. I feel like a child again, I just can’t wait until it’s finally Christmas.

Now that it’s only a short FOUR days away (FOUR! Yay!), I figured I’d finish off the rest of our Christmas Traditions list.


Christmas Eve- Growing up, my father’s family always celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve. Starting with his own parents, who often worked late into the Christmas Eve night, the family would wait until my grandparents came home and unwrap their presents before going to bed. Years later and many states away, my father would bring my sister and me to celebrate Christmas Eve with my uncle and his family. My Mexican aunt would make the most amazing chicken tacos for dinner, my uncle the most amazing chocolate fudge, and everyone would open at least one present.

We still get together every Christmas Eve, though times they are a changing. I’m not sure what the future of Christmas Eve will look like in terms of company, but I am quite sure that we will always celebrate it with Opa. Now that Jackson is here, we will also be giving him a present (or two) to unwrap before going to bed. This will most likely be his pajamas for the following Christmas morning (more on that later), but may also include a little toy that he can play with (because, let’s be honest, what kid gets excited about clothes?)

Breakfast Cinnamon Rolls- Every Christmas morning, without fail, my father would get up from bed and immediately start a pot of coffee and put together a coffee cake for breakfast. My sister and I would always spend this time staring at our stockings, like racers on the start line, waiting until the moment he was finished so we could begin The Unwrapping. The coffee cake was always done about halfway through opening presents, and everyone would get a piece to nibble on while we spent the morning together.

I loved always knowing that we’d have something warm and sweet on Christmas morning, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the cake. After we got married and had Christmas morning to ourselves in our new house, Glenn and I agreed that cinnamon rolls were vastly superior. While I’ve debated doing a semi healthier approach (like waffles with strawberries), cinnamon rolls require much less effort- which can, in turn, be used for opening presents.

Stockings- A few years back I actually debated nixing stockings completely, as it was just Glenn and I and it seemed a bit too much on top of our presents to one another. However, we’ve slowly come to using the stockings as our gifts for one another. And of course, the introduction of kids means that the tradition is going to stay. This year, I am only including a side toy I picked up for Jackson in his stocking, but as the years go on I will have to put more effort in. However, Glenn and I have really come into our own on the stocking front, and our current roommate (my cousin) will also be benefiting this year. Among the various items you’ll find on any stocking-stuffer list, my favorites for adults always include a chocolate orange, liquor, and some lottery tickets. You know, all the vices.

Matching Pajamas- I mentioned Christmas Eve pajamas earlier, but this really translates to my love of the babies wearing matching pjs for Christmas morning. My sister in law, bless her amazing self, has gotten on the matching pj train with me. Last years it was candy cane onsies, which melted my heart into a puddle. This years are slightly different, sets instead of onsies, but are still ridiculously adorable. I look forward to doing this to the little ones until they are old enough to realize they can refuse.

This, of course, leads to the final tradition-

The Babies Opening Gifts Together On Christmas Morning- I hadn’t realized how important this would be for me until last Christmas, when Jackson and his cousin B were still infants. Perhaps it’s because I grew up opening Christmas presents with my own cousins every year on Christmas Eve, or perhaps it’s because neither has any siblings right now (it’s definitely because we are all very close), but I can’t imagine a Christmas morning that doesn’t have these two together. This is also the time that Jack’s aunt visits from Seattle, so it’s extra special to get that time with the two of them together. Of course, I imagine this may change as the families grow and get older, but nothing can beat watching my favorite two kids together on Christmas morning. I can’t wait to see how much they love it this year, since they are in their prime unwrapping phase and old enough to enjoy all the Christmas goodies. I, myself, will be enjoying extra squishes and kisses that I can steal from them.

And that’s that. There are more, smaller, traditions that I’m sure I’m overlooking, but these are the big ones that I hope Jackson remembers as he grows up. Traditions have always made the holiday seasons that much more special in my mind, as I’m sure it does to everyone to some degree. It’s something you know you can rely on, an act that provides a sense of continuity and comfort over the years. Some may fade with time, but the precious few we hold on to can transport us back in an instant.

Happily Ever After- Tootsie’s Paris Tea Bridal Shower

We recently celebrated my dear friend Tootsie’s impending wedding with a Paris themed bridal shower. Tootsie, knowing me all too well, asked for a very specific direction (Paris, Purple) and let me run with it. Over the course of several weeks I planned and re-planned, debating which details would work to make the day magical for her and fun for everyone included. I love her and I love planning parties, so this was pretty much my favorite past time for a while.


In the end, the party went in a (very) loosely themed Paris tea direction. The bride to be had originally wanted to take tea, but when plans fell through I knew I had to implement as much as this theme into her direction as possible.
However, August in Southern California is really not conducive to tea drinking, and I couldn’t imagine trying to serve those poor ladies tea in 90 degree heat. Instead, I tried to implement other aspects that would give it that high tea feel with a French twist.
In lieu of tea I went with a champagne bar, which not only adds the fun of bubbly but customized bubbly. Like tea if tea were alcoholic, cold, and fizzy. This was especially popular with the ladies, despite its lack of tea-ness.
Rather than the traditional scones and cucumber sandwiches, I served croissant sandwiches, bite-sized sweets, and strawberry and Nutella crepes on tiered tea trays. (The madeleines, despite  being made a la Costco since I am a planner and not a baker, were nonetheless my favorite treat of the bunch.)
To decorate, I went with a black and white damask-eque design and put bright pops of purple to lighten it all up. The tiered tea trays (holding my delicious madeleines) were made from Dollar Store parts, spray painted, and glued together. I was especially pleased with how these came out, since I wasn’t quite sure I had used the right adhesive. Other items included rhinestones, sparkly Eiffel towers, and some hand written signs to give it a more personalized charm.
In the end, I was very pleased how everything came together. You never quite know how it will look until the day of, and thankfully it worked out well.

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The bride to be was greeted at the door with a black lacy sash and a dozen of her best friends. We ate and drank and talked for hours. One of the bridesmaids hosted two games which completely made the party. I wish I had gotten pictures, but I was laughing far too hard to care. From hanging panties to blushing toilet paper clad brides, everyone had a fantastically fun time.
Tootsie seemed to really enjoy herself, as did everyone else. After all the planning and decorating, it really just comes down to the people you surround yourself with. Everything else is just extra hidden pockets of beauty in this extraordinary life.

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