1. The Christmas Calendar

This was my FAVORITE holiday tradition as a child, and my Mom was so sweet to pass it down this year, or rather, pass it down to Ali.

It’s a quilted Christmas tree calendar with a pocket for each day in December up to the 23rd. It gets filled up at the beginning of the month to increase the joy of anticipation (and impatience) with alternating small toys and candy… IMG_6069
and each morning, Ali gets a treat out of the very same calendar that I adored…IMG_6074
although a bit confused as to why she only gets it after NIGHT time sleep, and not NAP time sleep.

I did make a rookie mistake: seasonally appropriate green chap stick:IMG_6128

Especially when left to one’s own devices in the back seat of a car:IMG_6133
The car, unfortunately, looked worse than her.

2. Christmas Dressiness.


3. Christmas Light Rides


No, as much as Chris would want it to be, this is NOT our house.

If you’re in Birmingham, check out this link to a map (and pictures!) to the best lights in town. We use it every year to go stalk all of the local Griswolds.

4. Gingerbread Construction.

Ali and Gramamma made an excellent house while we were in Atlanta:DSCF2703 DSCF2723
I might or might not have eaten all of the icing off of it before Ali remembered to ask for it.

5. Zoolight Safari.

We went on a dark and stormy night…

IMG_6090…actually, it was just misting. Which was perfect as few others were brave enough to come out.

Ali and AJ were mesmerized by the lights that were synchronized to the Christmas music:IMG_6101

(and also both having very good hair nights due to the misting.

Chris found the Alabama exhibit to get his picture made with Ali: IMG_6106

What does football have to do with the zoo?

The zoo is in Alabama, that’s what.

6. Christmas Card Making.

Ali and I hosted 14 kids four years old and under, 7 Mommies, and several thousand stickers at our house. Using two tables, we managed to make enough Christmas cards that, when lined up end to end, would stretch from my house to….at least my neighbor’s house.



Of course, this created quite the wonderful mess.

But since they were already in the messy mood, all of the kids helped me “re-organize” Ali’s toy box.
They found toys I hadn’t seen in decades.

We had a fabulous time, and Ali made cards for all of her favorite people, like her apparently Arabic Daddy named “Dyadd”,

her possibly Jewish Papa named “Appa”,

and her Rapper Aunt Kitty, “K-Tiyt.”
I’m not sure that letting her choose the order of the letters will help her spelling abilities, but it does seem to blossom creativity.

7. Christmas craft making.

Ali had a little Date with her friend Ethan, where they made Snowmen scarves, Candy Cane Mice, IMG_6177
And ate sprinkles instead of putting them onto cookies.IMG_6179

Nikki encouraged me to explore my inner creativity and decorate a cookie myself since the kids were too busy eating their sprinkles to properly decorate, so I did.

I mindlessly decorated my cookie, and then upon musing on my creation, I realized that I had just made the emblem for my Grandmother’s Eastern Star fraternal organization:

Eastern Star
Wow. Maybe I feel subconsciously compelled to join?

8. Wrapapalooza.

Christmas shopping completed: Thursday.

Personalized Christmas Labels completed: Friday.

Now it was time to wrap it all. I counted: a total of 52 presents this year. Yeesh.

My friend Amanda came over, as tradition states, to wrap her presents and keep us company.

As per my husband’s suggestion, I set up a wrapping station to keep my shoulders from protesting:IMG_6200
And the three of us set to work.

Ali woke up from her (nearly pull-up-less) nap half-way through her nap, so to occupy her, we let her decorate one of her own presents:IMG_6202
That actually worked for quite some time. I highly recommend it.

We feverishly wrapped and decorated our presents from 5:30 to 11:30 pm,

and we finally finished.IMG_6210

I won’t say who it was so I don’t embarrass him, but it was actually a very important husband man in my life that taught me how to wrap presents with perfection, pizzazz, and prettiness.

We borrowed the rest of Ali’s card-making shapes to add flair, especially when we could make the wrapping paper look 3-dimensional:


Every present has a printed-out tag with a unique picture of Ali on it:IMG_6211

(because we’re not obsessed with our child or anything),

And I attempted to match the pictures up with the person. If I had a picture of Ali with that person, that was their picture. If the picture was of her at their house, that was their picture.

Or, if I just knew that they would like a keepsake memento of Ali shooting a bird, that was their picture:IMG_6213

9. Silly Seasonal Sights.

Apparently, our neighbors are just as intent on keeping Santa from being able to come visit them as Ali is:IMG_6174

Hey – is that a real Steamroller in the back of that truck?!? IMG_6227 copy
And finally, Apparently, someone had a Christmas Craft Emergency in the parking lot of Michael’s Arts and Crafts:IMG_6067

16 thoughts on “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas…

  1. I feel like such an incredible slacker now that I've read this. At first I when I was reading this I was wishing I lived closer so I could join the fun, now I'm glad I don't live closer b/c you'd make me look bad!! Oh, and does your husband hire out for wrapping instruction? I am horrible at it.

  2. Since you have now helped me with my bow-creating skills, we need to plan a play-date for our husbands, so yours can teach mine to wrap gifts. Preston only has to wrap mine, but that means mine are always the…plainest wrapped gifts under our tree – with store-bought bows. I know I am showing everyone how shallow I am, but it bothers me. Oh, and the roll of gift wrap he uses is never the same either. He needs an intervention.

    *Disclaimer: I do not mean this as grouchy as it may sound. I love my husband and his efforts to make my Christmas as special as he can. : )

  3. *picking jaw up off the ground*

    You buy and wrap THAT MANY PRESENTS! My word girl! I will NOT be showing you the presents under my tree. There will be like 6 and I haven't wrapped a single one. lol

    However, I adore the Ali tags, what a great idea!

  4. So much fun! I love the gift tags. We did something similar one year, but I had forgotten about it. I may need to make some of those for next year. The boys will be making paper mache candy bowls for the grandparents today, so the crafting continues!! ALSO, I deny the presence of any candy "corn" on those mice. ;)

  5. Wow, I am so impressed with your wrapping. And that cracks me up that Chris taught you how to do that:)

    And I love Ali's Christmas dress, sweater and shoes!

  6. I have been looking for a fun advent calendar…how special that Ali gets to use the one you did! I love the pigtail braids, she looks so grown up!

    I am SO impressed with your Chrismtas gifts! My husband is the talented wrapper in our family too, but that goes far beyond anything we ever do…I wouldn't want to open them if they looked that good!

    Love the Christmas craft emergency picture, that made me laugh out loud. :)

  7. Your presents look fantastic! Stickers, 3D, personalized gift tags, wowza!
    I love Ali's advent calendar too. It's so sweet that she uses the very same one that you did.
    Oh, and thanks for the lights link!

  8. I love the personalized labels! So clever. And I don't like to admit this, but Jonathan is better at ribbons and bows than I am. I'm an excellent wrapper, but he came along and added that 'sparkle' to all our gifts.

  9. How fun! I love that Pop Rocks were one of the gifts on the Christmas calendar. I nearly forgot that they existed. The Christmas parties and wrapping looked like SOOO MUCH FUN! What a good mom!

    p.s. I loved the home made Christmas tags with the photos, clever.

  10. I love the picture of your tree with all the presents under it, it looked awesome! Your personalized tags and are very cool, we might try that next year!

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