Christmas Cheer

I love Christmas, like LOVE it!  I loved it as a child and have great memories of sleepless nights, filled stockings and Pillsbury cinnamon rolls.  As I got older I still loved the tradition of it all, but I just didn’t get that excited about it anymore.  I didn’t really care about presents and especially once I moved out of the house and I didn’t always get home for the holiday it just didn’t hold the same magic, there was just something missing.  I’ve learned to love it again and have rediscovered the magic of Christmas.   Just in time too I think, because I can’t wait to share that joy with our child.  I think the turning point was when Thomas and I started building our own traditions and I look forward to them every year.  These are a few of my favorite things:

  • Decorating our tree.  We are definitely not “theme” people.  Our tree reflects our eclectic style; we buy ornaments that are quirky or cute.  My favorite addition this year is the one we call “disapproving monkey”.  We also started a tradition of buying an ornament at each new place we visit, so trimming the tree is a reminder of all the wonderful places we’ve visited together, it’s great.
  • Just the two of us.  I love our families, but I also love the Christmas’s that are just ours.  We go to mass on Christmas Eve and open one present each.  We wake up Christmas morning and open our stockings, Oz has one too!  Then after coffee and cinnamon rolls we open our under the tree presents, Oz does too!  After presents and calls/Skypes to family we put together Christmas dinner, slow cooker pot roast that is done by the time we get home from the movies.  It’s truly perfect.
  • Cheesy Christmas Movies.  I loooooove the entire lineup of made for TV Christmas movies on Lifetime and ABC Family, as much as I love the classics like Scrooged and Muppet Christmas Carol.  Even better than 25 days of tacky wonderfulness on TV is that while Thomas groans about it and my never-ending playlist of Christmas tunes, I know he secretly loves it.  And even if he doesn’t he tolerates it knowing that I love it and isn’t that the definition of true love?
  • Baking.  I don’t do a whole lot of this really ever except at Christmastime.  I bake a pumpkin bread from my Grandma’s recipe and it makes me happy that there are people who really look forward to getting their loaves each year.  Speaking of Grandma, I also like getting baked goods, she sends us a tin of cookies every year that Thomas swears taste like Jesus himself baked them!
  • Giving.  This is my most favorite part of Christmas.  I won’t say I don’t love getting presents, I do.  But I love giving presents even more.  I love picking out and purchasing things for other people.  I love seeing the look on my husband’s face when I really surprise him, and the pure joy on Oz’s face when he realizes he has new toys to destroy.  My love of giving goes beyond family though.  I’ve sadly noticed an unfortunate trend where people are so concerned about themselves and their family at the holidays that they are stingy mcgrinches with everyone else, leaving bad tips in restaurants, grabbing and pushing in stores.  When did people stop being nice?  I know times are hard for everyone, but by spending a little extra outside your own family  the feeling you get after doing something for others with no expectations is worth it.  So donate to a food bank or Toys for Tots, and if you truly can’t afford to then just hold the door open for someone or give up your seat on the train.  You’ll make someone’s day and keep that wonderful feeling of holiday cheer spreading!

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168 thoughts on “Christmas Cheer

  1. Beautiful pictures — this is such a magical time of year, and you’ve absolutely captured that spirit!

    …and there’s NOTHING better than cheesy Christmas movies. The season isn’t complete without A Christmas Story and It’s a Wonderful Life.

    Merry Christmas!

    🙂

  2. I’m with you on everything but the cheesy Christmas movies…can’t handle that stuff. Haha! I’m strictly a Christmas Classic Movie kinda girl. 😉

    Merry Christmas!! 😀

    P.S. Your tree looks beautiful!

  3. I agree with you, one of the best parts of Christmas is giving. We’re trying an experiment this year – I asked my husband to donate some animals to someone needy through one of the better known charities, and that will be my gift from him. I really like the idea of it, and it’ll help cut down some accumulation of THINGS in our already overcrowded house.

    Love your tree, by the way. And is that a pic of the “disapproving monkey”? Cute little thing. Congrats on being Fresh Pressed. Enjoy those cheesy movies!

  4. I like non-themed trees. All the random ornaments get there through your life experiences and thus tell your own personal story. I have a group of ornaments that I got at the thrift store and think they’re especially romantic because they’re part of someone else’s story.

    Maybe if I stay up late enough and listen very closely, they’ll tell me what it is!

    Very nice post & Merry Christmas!

  5. Nice thoughts especially in your fifth point about doing something for others. Even if it’s just a kind gesture. They may not get it, but then again they may. The season is about so much more than presents, even if you’re not celebrating Christmas, there are at least 3 other holidays in other religions this time of year that are about helping to ‘lighten’ other people’s loads, so to speak. Check out my thoughts on the Season of Light here: http://dayreturn.wordpress.com/2011/12/22/bringing-the-mystery-home/

    Best Regards,
    James LaForest

  6. Hi, your photos are beautiful. I especially LOVE the “disapproving monkey”, soooo fabulous 🙂 Every year my sister and I also try to think of new ways to enrich our holidays, make our own traditions. So we decorate, pack, buy, give and make something different every year….love the holidays, makes us so creative 😀

  7. Ohhh… I also love, love Christmas… my favorite holiday (closely followed by Halloween!) 😮 Love decorating the house (wherever we find ouselves in the world!), reading stories to the kids, watching Xmas movies with the hubby, doing arts & crafts with the kiddos… you name it! Thank you so much for sharing your gorgeous images… Christmas is definitely all-around!
    Greetings from our warm tropical heart (Northeastern coast of Brazil)! Cheers! http://3rdculturechildren.com

  8. I love Christmas and I agree – I don’t go for all that theme kind of decorating – my theme is Christmas. But, I do have a tradition: every year we let the two kids pick out an ornament to buy and we put up on the tree. We currently have 14 years of different ornaments that reflect more their changing taste than anything else.

  9. Nice photos and thoughts about Christmas in your blog. I agree that Christmas should be about giving, but giving of yourself, your love and your time, rather than lots of money or expensive presents? Hope you like this Christmas Message from our blog http://www.earth messagepress.com …………

    Christmas is about to be celebrated this year,
    With family and friends that you hold dear,
    But is the purpose of this celebration clear,
    Or is it seen only as a way to gain more gear?

    Foster the meaning true this Christmas time of year,
    The remembrance of the baby Jesus dear,
    The gift of love given for all to know and share,
    So that humanity would no longer need to fear.

    You see Christmas is a ‘Giving’ time of year,
    And a time for all to be full of joy and cheer,
    For the love and hope given that first Christmas time year,
    So celebrate this gift so unique and rare.

    Spare no cost this Christmas time of year,
    Give the most precious, priceless gifts you have to share,
    The gifts of Love and Hope to those you hold dear,
    For these are real treasures to be enjoyed in every year.

  10. Everything looks fantastic. It looks like Martha Stewart done smartly on a budget too. Nothing too fancy or expensive, and nothing cheap either. Looks, classic meets children in a big city. A very interesting concept that works really well from what I see. I love it.

  11. i just started reading your blog and i love it! the christmas traditions are so great and i completely love cinnamon rolls too, merry christmas! 🙂

  12. What a fantastic post! I love Christmas traditions (we do the Mass and one present Christmas eve too). You have a gorgeous tree… loving the monkey 🙂

    Merry Christmas

  13. Congratulations on being Freshly pressed! Your Paris ornament is quite lovely.
    Great post – It is nice to know others actually like cheesy Christmas movies and music too.
    Isn’t it great to establish our own traditions!

  14. Beautiful tree, and wonderful traditions you have. We have similar traditions where I am from, Eastern Canada (the South Coast of Labrador). It’s nice to know that there are others in the world keeping the faith and realizing the true meaning of Christmas (in my opinion) family & love.

    All the best for the Holidays & the new year.

  15. I too love traditions and miss being able to participate in all of them as I’ve become this thing everyone calls an, “adult.” We’re working on creating our own traditions too such as driving through town looking at great light displays and hosting a huge party for our friends each year! It’s now what it used to be, but I’m growing more excited each year for these new traditions!

  16. great traditions and photos! i agree that christmas should be more about giving then receiving. i just started the christmas baking this year, making cookies for anyone and everyone. and i love the movie “white christmas” this time of year! merry christmas to you and your family!

  17. Happy Holidays! We are making pumpkin bread also! YUM! Our family has started a new tradition, this being our second year of the prime rib for Christmas dinner. Congratulations on being freshly pressed! Thank you for sharing your photos. I love the cozy feeling your pictures bring. Have a very Merry Christmas!

  18. It’s beautiful.

    I wish I had a tree, but in my country, it’s not feasible to have a real christmas tree to trim. I wish I could decorate the starfruit tree outside in my garden, but I don’t think my parents would approve. They are not really ‘those lights’ festive people.

    I like your disapproving monkey 🙂

    • Tonight is the night before the night before Christmas!!! Santa is coming tomorrow!! “SANTA! OH MY GOD! SANTA’S COMING! I KNOW HIM! I KNOW HIM!” -Buddy 🙂 🙂 my all time favorite movie

    • Whyy does it say i posted this comment on the 24th (at least on my computer)?? I posted on the 23rd haha I know when it is Christmas!!

  19. Love the post! I love the cheesy movies too. Yup, I make my husband watch every since one with me. A bottle of wine and “The year without a Santa Claus” what a great combination. Have a Merry Christmas;-)

  20. Very beautiful pictures as well as the article itself. I am from Eastern Europe, so our Christmas was always on January 7th. The biggest holiday we have is the NYE itself – that’s when we get our presents and have a huge family dinner followed by the newest programs on TV. But as I am now in US, it took me some time to adjust to the “new schedule”. Yet, I do shop for the Christmas presents in advance and send them off to Europe just before December 24th, so they get them right on time..
    Thank you for the post and have a blessed Merry Christmas!

  21. Me too, I love the routines of Christmas – and thank you for sharing your customs!
    I’m feeling like Christmas telly is getting worse and worse and worse. In the UK, you’re likely to find Strictly Come Dancing, Downton Abbey (I happily admit I’m not a fan) and I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.
    Prime viewing – there’s nothing better than watching someone force-feed themselves alligator testicles, while you sit happily munching on a mince pie, on Christmas Day….
    Happy Christmas Eve Eve, have a good one!

  22. Very nice post & photos! I’m a big fan of the special ornaments too. I recently gave my boyfriend a run-down of my collection and what each one meant. 🙂 Also, my family likes to do a “world’s ugliest ornament” contest each year as well. Just a little something more to look forward to when opening presents Christmas morning.

    Merry Christmas!

  23. You have definetly made me happy today by reading your POSTING. It is inspiring me. I don’t have to Celebrate anymore cause my son’s are too big now, men to be exact? But, I can share in other’s happiness & dream inside my mind, THANKS for the headstart, Your Great, especially for starting TRADITIONS that your child can remember for life.

  24. I so enjoyed reading your Christmas story. I especially liked the closing thoughts about how we have become a lot more stingy. Stingy Mcgrinch I believe you called it. For me the whole idea of Christmas is sharing with everyone else. Sharing the story of our Lord and Saviour and making sure others have a smile on their face. The thing I look forward to the most is seeing the surprise and the genuine happiness when my Wife and daughters open up their gifts and to experience a joy rather than a mere happiness. Thank you for sharing.

  25. The Humble Nativity Scene

    The humble nativity scene,
    to me, this is what Christmas
    means:

    The bright shining star,
    the men from afar
    bringing gifts to the Lord and King.

    The smile
    on the face of a child,
    the angels as they sing out loud,

    “Salvation is born,
    He’s Christ Jesus, Lord.
    Bethlehem sees the New Born King.

    Constance V. Walden
    Have a great Christmas
    http://7thandvine.wordpress.com/

  26. Beautiful photos, and I can’t agree with you more about spreading the good cheer to strangers as well as your nearest and dearest. My plan for doing this is to buy the Big Issue on Christmas day from the lady who always tries to sell it to me. It’s not much, in fact it’s a tiny gesture, but I don’t have much money.

    Also I love the sounds of coffee and cinnamon rolls. Mmm I might have to steal this tradition!…

  27. i love ur christmas tree, the tree that i did for the house this year is semi themed, if that is possible. what i mean is that its colored themed.. but there are random decorations on there from ever year that my 2 girls were babies and also decorations from when i was a kid that my mom gave to me. i guess color themed is the christmas balls are all in a purple gold and bronze them… but next year its going back to random.. evey year i go and add something different to the tree this year it was butterflies… next year its all going to mesh together and be mulitcolored. no themes..

  28. Absolutely love the monkey ornament shot! Coincidentally, I just got home from a holiday party and my gift included a monkey ornament! It will be a great addition to my tree which also has an eclectic mix of ornaments. I started buying at least one a year when I was younger. Now I have quite the collection. It’s always fun to pull them out and be surprised each year since I never remember all of them. Merry Christmas!

  29. Pingback: Christmas Cheer « aniketsoni

  30. I love Christmas too! And like the line in that Christmas song, I believe it’s the most wonderful time of the year 🙂 Apart from decorating, the “giving” part is also my favorite!:) Anyway, you have very nice Christmas decors!:) Keep posting! And Merry Christams!:)

  31. I love Christmas too! And like the line in that Christmas song, I believe it’s the most wonderful time of the year Apart from decorating, the “giving” part is also my favorite!:) Anyway, you have very nice Christmas decors!:) Keep posting! And Merry Christmas!:)

  32. Pingback: Merry Christmas « Silly Reflections

  33. Never knew monkey ornaments could look so cute, but I still wouldn’t have put any in my tree. I have to see all the crappy x-mas movies from my childhood, that’s what this holiday is all about to me ❤

  34. I started buying at least one a year when I was younger. My plan for doing this is to buy the Big Issue on Christmas day from the lady who always tries to sell it to me.I so enjoyed reading your Christmas story.

  35. I love your christmas tradition 🙂 Like that idea of buying new ornaments from different places. Love your pics too~!!! 🙂
    And I couldn’t agree more on this:

    “Giving. This is my most favorite part of Christmas. I won’t say I don’t love getting presents, I do. But I love giving presents even more. I love picking out and purchasing things for other people. I love seeing the look on my husband’s face when I really surprise him, and the pure joy on Oz’s face when he realizes he has new toys to destroy. My love of giving goes beyond family though. I’ve sadly noticed an unfortunate trend where people are so concerned about themselves and their family at the holidays that they are stingy mcgrinches with everyone else, leaving bad tips in restaurants, grabbing and pushing in stores. When did people stop being nice? I know times are hard for everyone, but by spending a little extra outside your own family the feeling you get after doing something for others with no expectations is worth it. So donate to a food bank or Toys for Tots, and if you truly can’t afford to then just hold the door open for someone or give up your seat on the train. You’ll make someone’s day and keep that wonderful feeling of holiday cheer spreading!”

    Yes! when did people stop being nice? That is such a sad thing!

  36. I love what you write about spreading cheer.Beautiful pictures! Thanks for reminding everyone what Christmas is about. Very beautiful pictures as well as the article itself.

  37. Lovely post!

    I love the atmosphere that you described and presented in pictures.
    Congrats for being Freshly Pressed!

    Have a nice and warm New Year and all the best for you and your family.

    Mbconsulting

  38. What a beautiful blog post, and beautiful attitude you have! I enjoyed this line about your husband watching all the Christmas movies you love, “And even if he doesn’t he tolerates it knowing that I love it and isn’t that the definition of true love?”

    Yes! 🙂 Well said.

  39. I enjoyed this post SO much. I’m kind of obsessed with Christmas all year long, and when Christmas actually comes around all of these wonderful things you talked about just make the holiday season so much better! Thanks for this post.. it is GREAT. I’ll have to look around your blog some more!

  40. Och, I love those images! And the fact that “[…] she sends us a tin of cookies every year that Thomas swears taste like Jesus himself baked them!” made me laugh!

    It seems like we agree on the giving. Unfortunately my family changed the gift giving policy this year so noone would be giving except the kids at the family gatherings and for the closest of the closest and that being in private. I even managed to shop before getting the notification – how much a bummer is that?! At least it has now been moderated so we will be giving one personal present next year (still a bummer, but progress).

  41. Nice photos Brighid! I also like your favourite things for the Christmas season, especially the last one about GIVING. I recently wrote a post about “In This Season of Giving and Receiving” and how we can give of ourselves, like the apple tree in the childrens’ book, The Giving Tree. You can check it out at http://thestillspot.wordpress.com/2011/12/22/in-this-season-of-giving-and-receiving/.

    Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year 2011!

  42. I have family all across this country we call the United States, and they’re almost all on opposite sides of it. Some in New York, some in Ohio, us here in California. And we love it, because by some miracle, we always manage to end up at my mom’s house here in Los Angeles. I happen to live in my own apartment too, but I think the best ways to spend Christmas are when you’re with your family and friends.

    Merry Christmas to you! 🙂

    Ashley

  43. I love Christmas traditions! My family started making custom pins that we could wear Christmas day and then turn them into an ornament for the next year. My kids love it and it is great quality time.

  44. Pingback: It’s A Wonderful Life | Oz Images Photography

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