Christmas Traditions #7 ~ Santa’s Autobiography

I pull this book out with the rest of my Christmas books every year always hoping that I will have a chance to read it. As I was looking through my stack of books to see how many more I would need to purchase for our 25 Christmas books tradition, I yet again found it. I looked inside to find a note from my Grandma Mary and Grandpa dated 2004. My Grandfather passed away several years ago and it made me a little sad that I never read it. This year, and every year forward, I plan to read a chapter a night starting in December. I don’t believe it is a coincidence that there are 24 chapters.

It’s going pretty well so far and am excited that I am finally reading it. Similar to the 25 Christmas books, since it will only come out once a year, I don’t anticipate getting bored with is for several years.

        Full Hands, Full Hearts
Organizing Made Fun

Christmas Traditions #6 ~ Decorating

I have to admit that when Rob and I were house hunting, I kept Christmas decorating in the back of my mind. There were certain things I was looking for in a home for the specific enjoyment of decorating for the holidays. I won’t dare list them all but a few were lots of windows in the front of the house for candles, banisters to hang garland around, and a fireplace for garland, candles and stockings.

While I will never be able to compete with the number of Christmas trees (of all sizes) at my parents house, the the same yardage of garland, I think we did really well for our first Christmas in the new house!

   
I love having bells on the door that jungle when Rob gets home from work! 
Visit My Crafting Attic blog to see more on how I made the banner! 
I have several countdowns around the house but this was my first one and still a favorite because I get an M&M!  
This was a bonus when we bought the house purely for decorating! I already had a cute Charlie Brown Christmas tree and we found the gift box lights at Walmart and thought they were perfect on the ledge! 
Like I said, banisters for stringing garland was pretty much a requirement! I have had the stockings since high school when I worked at TRU. After the holiday, they use to put their merchandise at 90% off and I have been lugging them around the country ever since waiting for the perfect place to use them. 
The tree looks so magical at night but I wanted to show off Rob’s train under the tree. To him, a train means Christmas. I can’t wait to he can set up his entire train garden! 
Parker was very interested in all the ornaments we were unwrapping.   
 

  
My Mom gives me these adorable Hallmark music boxes every year. It was slightly humorous to watch Rob and I trying to turn them all on and get the picture in enough time. I am sure they will be getting their use in another year or two when small hands can get to them! 

I definitely wanted to have a Christmas tree in our room. There is just something about the lights that make me smile! I decided with a green bow and Christmas balls because we plan to paint our room green someday!  
This is Parker’s room. I put the little Christmas tree I had in my room growing up in his 🙂 I can’t wait until he is older and wakes up on Christmas morning with a small gift underneath! Since we named him Peanut, I thought it would be cute to get him something Peanut’s related from Hallmark each year.  

I hope you enjoyed! I can’t wait to share our next two traditions about adopting a family for Christmas and volunteering as a family. In the meantime, don’t forget to check out some of these amazing link-ups I am participating in for more holiday ideas! 

      Full Hands, Full Hearts
Organizing Made Fun

Christmas Traditions #5 ~ The Elf On The Shelf

Yet again, I have to switch up my 12 days of Christmas for you. Life always seems to get in the way! We are not 100% done decorating and I want to be able to show you the final product so that will be tomorrow.

In the meantime, I am really excited to talk about a tradition that my Mom requested I start long before P was even a part of our lives (even in my tummy). She is a huge fan of Hallmark and several years ago, she saw this adorable game (as she called it) titled, The Elf On The Shelf. She decided to get one and afterwards, wishing she had gotten more, searched high and low. Now-a-days, they can be found everywhere and have become very popular. While I don’t want to teach P that he will always get something if he is good, that should just be normal behavior, Christmas is a truly magical time and this is such a cute way to incorporate Santa and Christmas! In P’s first letter from Santa, you may have noticed that I have already named his Elf, Sammy. I just love that name and wanted all of the letter to P from Santa to refer to him. Like most of the traditions we have already started or plan to start this year, P can’t really participate or will remember, right now it’s more of and enjoyment for Rob and I. P will grow into them knowing nothing different which is so exciting and magical!

Click here to visit their website! 

If you are unfamiliar with the story, you can learn more about it here.

      Full Hands, Full Hearts
Organizing Made Fun

Christmas Traditions # 4 ~ Letter to Santa & from Santa


One of my fondest memories of working at Toys R Us was Christmas time. I loved watching the kids come into the store to make their Christmas lists. I loved watching parents come in at 10 or 11 at night (we were opened until 12) to get the shopping done while they were asleep. I didn’t love when a shopping cart would pull up and the Mother would expect me to somehow scan and bag half the stuff without their child seeing (that’s a story for another day).

When I went to Alaska to visit Rob while on deployment, we visited the “North Pole” and they had this adorable program where you could send someone a letter from Santa or the deed to a little piece of The North Pole. I sent a letter to my two favorite Guilford kids and purchased the deed for my Dad!

There are tons of different ways to do this and I finally decided on this one, after quit a bit of research. I write a letter to P from Santa. I put it in a sealed envelope addressed to P with a postmark of Santa, North Pole. I then put that in a larger envelope and send it off to:

North Pole Postmark
Postmaster
4141 Postmark Dr
Anchorage, AK 99530-9998

I used Anke Print font for the letter and mailing labels. I tired changing my own hand writing but it all looks the same. This is what I think Santa’s handwriting would look like! 

We found this adorable mailbox at Michael’s that I decided to get because it was so cute. It wasn’t till I got home that I realized it would go perfect next to the table set up with Santa’s plate and cup. Even more, I was thinking that we would have P put his letter in that mailbox and that is where the one from Santa would magically appear.

While out shopping on Black Friday, I found some really cute red and white bordered paper that I plan to use to write the letters to P from Santa. I was in the store holding the package and wanted to make sure that there were enough pieces that I wouldn’t have to search for more later down the road (keeping in mind a few mistakes each year). When I saw that there were 50 pages, I chuckled to myself and said, “yeah, I guess he won’t still be getting these when he is 50 years old!”.

We now have this adorable little corner in the living room with our Advent box, mailbox and the plate, bowl and cup for Santa!

If you can’t tell already, I really do love the Christmas Season! I get so excited writing these posts and can’t wait to show you more! Check back tomorrow where I will be talking about decorating our house!
      Full Hands, Full Hearts
Organizing Made Fun

Christmas Traditions #3 ~ Christmas Cards

 

I know I said yesterday that today I would be sharing our tradition about letters to and from Santa. Rob decided to surprise me to a day of pampering and I spent the day getting a manicure, pedicure and a completely new hair color and style. It’s now 9:30 at night and I am too tired to go downstairs and take pictures of some really cute things I found to facilitate our letters. So, I decided to bump up the post about our Christmas cards!

Ever since my first Christmas, back in 1983, my Mom and Dad have put together a creative and personal Christmas card to send to friends and family. There was always a theme to the picture and a little story on what each of us had been up to that year. Most years we incorporated my Dad dressed as Santa. As Sarah and I got older, Mom and Dad had to get a little more creative.

I searched my files and all I could find was a picture taken from 2005 and 2006.

The Christmas card in 2005 involved a separate picture of Sarah and I on separate coasts (since I was living in LA at the time). My picture showcased the beautiful weather we had in November while my Sissy was all bundled up because it was snowing!

   
In 2006, my Mom hosted a weekend long cookie baking party. We ended up with tons of sweets and got a little carried away with the flour!

Last year, we used our Christmas card to announce to family that we were expecting. I created a front and back image and then used them to create postcards from Vistaprint. It was the perfect way to share our news and I had so much fun making it.

2011 Christmas Card

I was so excited for Parker to ear the same Santa’s Littlest Helper hat that I wore for my very first Christmas card picture. We decided to do something simple and ended up stringing some lights on the wall behind our bed and spreading some red ornament walls out on our white comforter. It ended up being the perfect backdrop and this is what we came up with! You can check out our final Christmas Card here.

Christmas Card copy

Here are some of my favorite shots from the photo shoot.

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I hope you enjoyed reading! Check back tomorrow when I WILL be talking about letters to and from Santa! In the meantime, check out some of the link-ups I am participating in for other awesome Christmas traditions, food and decorating! 

* Update: December 2, 2014 – It was brought to my attention that using Christmas lights around children is extremely dangerous. When we did this photo shoot Parker had the lights for maybe 5 minutes, never put them in his mouth, and we gave him a bath afterwards. At the time I didn’t even think to look into the dangers of using them. Now that I have, I wouldn’t recommend it.