A Last Look at Christmas

On the 12th Day of Christmas, one last look at some of the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Christmas decorations, covered in snow (finally!):

2016 Christmas Cookies

It’s been two weeks since I finished our Christmas cookie baking, but we just finished our share of the cookies a few days ago! This year, I baked somewhere between 50-60 dozen of seven different kinds of cookies…sugar, gingerbread raspberry-almond thumbprints, chocolate peppermint, cranberry white chocolate, chocolate chip peppermint m&m (which we used to make ice cream sandwiches on Christmas Day!), and Saltine Christmas crackers.

It took about three days to bake all these cookies…and they were very full days! We watched a lot of Christmas movies throughout the baking process, especially different productions of the Nutcracker. Mostly, though, it was a fun family tradition, that looked a lot like what we made last year, plus a little something different, just for fun!

Christmas 2016

It’s hard to believe that another Christmas Eve and Day have come and gone already!

As always, our celebration started yesterday, with my favorite meal of the whole year…the “pick out dinner.” We had summer sausage, cheese, and crackers, jalapeno popper and buffalo chicken dips, sausage squares, deviled eggs, toasted ravioli, mozzarella sticks, cheese squares, buffalo chex mix, and pizza bagels. Oh, and the chef’s favorite sour beer:

img_1865

Then it was time to get ready for church. I wore my traditional Christmas Eve dress and brooch. I’ve featured the brooch here a lot, but I’ve been wearing this same dress every Christmas Eve for at least five years, and I’m pretty sure it’s never appeared here before!

img_0376

img_0477

As they did last year, “The Bigs” sang for Hope Lutheran church in St. Louis’s Christmas Eve Divine Service.

img_0415

img_0423

After we got home, I took lots of pictures:

img_0472

And we had Jesus’ birthday cake, and lit all of the candles on the Advent wreath:

img_0514

img_0529

Everyone always opens one present on Christmas Eve. Ryan and I both got slippers, and the children each got a new pair of Christmas jammies:

img_0512

Ryan and I also always play Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries on Christmas Eve. The final score was 162 to 131…I’ll let you guess who won!

img_0542

After the children went to bed, I made sure everything was ready for the morning.

They always get to open their stockings before Christmas Day church:

I really love our very delicious tradition of cherry coffee cake for breakfast on Christmas morning!

img_0606

Another Christmas church service means another Christmas outfit (with a new brooch) for me!

img_0611

img_0619

This year, all four of “The Bigs” served as acolytes. This was Turkey’s first opportunity to be crucifer…he was very excited (and a little nervous)! Bunny was the book bearer, which seemed fitting, and Moose and Ladybug both served as torch bearers.

img_0638

I always have to get another picture (or eight) after church:

img_0642

img_0654

When we got home, we had a quick lunch, and then we listened to Ryan read the Christmas story. Chickadee still loves acting it out with our Little People nativity:

img_0668

And then there was a flurry of gift opening!

This Christmas has been a little different, but it was still a wonderful weekend to celebrate our Savior’s birth, and spend time together as a family! Merry Christmas!

Christmas Fashion Wrap-Up

This year, more than ever before, I’ve had a lot of fun planning Christmas-inspired outfits. I’ve shared a lot of them over the last month…here’s a wrap-up of all of my Christmas fashion.

I finally got to wear several red and green outfits I had been saving (because I knew they’d look too Christmas-y at any other time of the year):

I also put together two monochromatic outfits in Christmas green and red:

I wore my Christmas tree skirt as much as possible:

And I also got a lot of use out of my blue and white harlequin skirt (which I’m looking forward to continuing to wear all winter!):

I even have two brooches appropriate for the season:

Christmas and fashion are two of my favorite things, as is evidenced by how much I write about each on my blog. I’m glad I found a way to put the two together!

Chickadee Thursday–Fifty-Seven Months

Tonight, “The Bigs” had their final choir rehearsal before Christmas Eve church, and Chickadee, Dolly, and I tagged along to listen to them.

Chickadee loves the Christmas tree at Hope!

img_4384-1

She’s very excited that Christmas is almost here!

2016 Holiday Lights at the Brewery

It doesn’t matter how many times we visit the Holiday Lights at the brewery in St. Louis (and it really hasn’t even been that many years, yet), there’s always something new to see (this year we saw wood carvers and a sand sculptor!), and the lights are always at least a little bit different. It’s one of my favorite Christmas activities, and it’s still FREE!

img_0015

img_0011

img_4301

img_9899

img_4294

img_9985

img_9977

img_9998

I love Christmas in St. Louis!

Gourdaments at the Kemper Center

The Kemper Center for Home Gardening at the Missouri Botanical Garden once again has a big tree decorated with Gourdaments. What is a “gourdament?” you may ask:

img_0116

Bunny had no trouble choosing a favorite!

img_0125

Ladybug found her favorite quickly, as well:

img_0072

There were others that I thought were particularly special:

img_0096

The creativity needed to decorate each of them blows me away!

In addition to the gourdaments, there are other decorations on the tree, including a lot of natural adornments, candy cane mice, and the elusive Henry Shaw:

It’s a beautiful tree!

img_0121

If you stop by the Kemper Center, you can vote for your favorite of the gourdaments…the real challenge is how to choose just one!