Today was a typical Christmas Eve for us, which means chili in the crock pot, Christmas movies all day, open our gifts to each other, and then drive downtown to see the James Center all lit up!
All the banks downtown line their buildings with Christmas lights, and the courtyard is full of deer! There's a huge Christmas tree, and the main corridor of the Omni has various Christmas/winter scenes.
I don't like to get people gift cards unless there's something specific I know they want or need and that something would be better chosen by the recipient.
This year I got my sister-in-law a UFab gift card to purchase fabric for reupholstering her dining room chairs - how would I choose an appropriate fabric for her home and her taste? One year for Nate's birthday (or maybe it was a random gift of congratulations? who knows) I got him a gift card to a clothing store because he lost a bunch of weight and none of his clothes fit him - but I don't want to pick out someone else's clothes. Unless it's Dave because he lets me dress him still.
Anyway, other than specific circumstances like that, I like to find gifts that just call out to me as perfect for certain people. Sometimes I think about it beforehand and have a vague idea of what to look for, and people sometimes make hints that make that easier. Other times I just see something that yells TAKE ME HOME.
Here is an example of the yelling kind:
One of Dave's friends from work is a very talented balloon artist - she travels all around to parties and local events and makes balloon animals for the kiddos. When I saw this balloon animal ornament in Target I just had to get it for her!
I was going to title this Classy Light Tour because we both like classier displays over tacky ones, but none of our classy house photos came out right.
An exception to my classy-over-tacky rule is this one house on River Road that goes BIG for Christmas. They have a half circle driveway so you can drive through and see all the lights in their yard. There are A LOT of lights. This year (I think this was new) they had a sign with a radio station where the music matched the light patterns.
I also like this new trend of haphazardly throwing lights onto small trees in the yard. I'm OBSESSED with these trees - the messier the better!
We were on our way home when we turned down one last street (Ralston, if you want to check this out), and noticed a car on the side of the road that was all lit up. At first I thought someone got pranked, but when we got closer I noticed a familiar green figure sitting in the driver's seat:
Now that my parents have moved back from Florida, we have twice the family celebrations! Since we will be spending Christmas Eve at home and Christmas Day at Dave's parents', we did Christmas with my family today!
Here's the loot all loaded up and ready to go - I may have gone overboard this year:
Reed got so many gifts I think he was overwhelmed by it all.
He's adorable. And he'll be as tall as me by the time he's 5!
I wanted to bring some Christmas treats to my family on Saturday, so yumyums seemed like the obvious choice. They're easy, cheap, customizable for any holiday or occasion, and a crowd pleaser every time!
Before I type anything here, I want to be clear that this is not meant as a brag or look-at-me-I'm-so-charitable. I'm just sharing 25 ways to celebrate the Christmas season, one of which is helping others.
Every year Capital One has a toy drop-off location forToys for Tots, an organization that works with "local social welfare agencies, church groups, and other local community agencies, to distribute toys to the less fortunate children of the community" (link). All you have to do is bring a new, unwrapped toy to a drop-off location, and the Marine Corps takes care of the rest. It doesn't get much easier than that, right? Here's a link to find a drop-off location near you. I went to Dollar Tree and picked up several gifts to donate and dropped them off this morning!
But, she and any other fan will be pleased to hear it shot right up to the list of favorite Christmas movies! It was so great! It was light-hearted while telling a sad story, the songs were amazing, and Michael Caine is adorable always.