Nov 22, 2013

Ten Reasons I Love the Holiday Season (2013)

1. Thanksgiving and my Grandma's Stuffing

Thanksgiving, for us, is a time when we get our family together to celebrate the Holiday Season.  This year is even more exciting since we get to host Thankgiving at our new home.  We are able to decorate more, relax more and invite more family since we have more room and I can't wait!  I'm also excited for my Grandma's fresh homemade stuffing.  Even though my Grandma is no longer with us, her stuffing recipe lives on!

2. Black Friday Shopping
I started my tradition of Black Friday shopping when my daughter was just a year old. As I was trying to figure out how to save money as a single mom, I realized that shopping on Black Friday was worth the waiting, lines and frustration.  The first Black Friday that I took part in, I remember saving about $300 at Toys R Us alone!  Now I have my own tradition of going to Toys R Us, Walmart, Target and some other various stores on Black Friday to get most of my Christmas shopping done in one day.  I always leave at 10PM and get home at 6AM from my adventures.  I've also found it to be a lot of fun for me.  

3. Letters to Santa
Every year I pick those dollar templates up from Michaels or the grocery store for my girls to write letters to Santa.  One night, before Thanksgiving, we sit down with the Christmas toy books and write our letters to Santa.  We have a tradition of making hot cocoa and some sugar cookies to munch on while we write the letters.  We then wait for our town Christmas tree and decorations to be up and then go and mail them in Santa's mailbox!  

4. Christmas Decorations
 I love Christmas decorations.  It really makes it feel warm, comforting, homey and gets you in the mood for the Holiday.  I love decorating my home for Christmas and especially can't wait to decorate my new home this year.  It's going to be so exciting to put up garland, the lights and all of the Christmas decorations.  I was actually thinking of putting them up early this year!  Maybe soon!  I'm planning on going all out this year, since our new home is amazing and has so much decorating potential!
5. Putting Up the Tree
After my Black Friday shopping, the day after Christmas is reserved for us to put up the Christmas tree.  To us, that's when the Holiday season officially starts.  My mom and I always put up the tree and the girls help us decorate while listening to Christmas music.  We still don't exactly know where the tree is going to go in our new house, but we'll figure it out soon enough! Thanksgiving is coming up quickly and our Christmas Tree decorating day will be here before we know it!
6. Our Elf on the Shelf Antics
This is a new tradition for us, but we are starting the tradition of the Elf on the Shelf.  Elfie and Sofia, our two elves, are going to be coming on the day after Thanksgiving to start their adventure in our new home.  My girls have already met their elves and know that Elfie and Sofia are already reporting to Santa on their behavior.  We have everything ready for them to start to make their appearances and start their antics in our home! Alayna and Olivia can't wait until the two trouble making elves appear to start their game of Hide and Seek and to see what the two elves are doing on any given day!
7. Baking Christmas Treats
I L-O-V-E- the smell of freshly baked Holiday treats!  My girls and I make cookies every single year and this year we are planning on doing more baking than usual!  Our new kitchen is roomy, homey and just perfect for baking all kinds of Holiday treats!  The fact that we are having more people than usual over for the Holidays (and for Olivia's Birthday) means that we have even more baking to do!
8. Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha
I used to be obsessed with the Gingerbread Latte from Starbucks but last year I was introduced to the Salted Caramel Mocha by a coworker and I couldn't be more thrilled with it.  This is my favorite Holiday drink, it tastes a bit like hot chocolate with a caramel and salt kick to it.  It's an acquired taste, a lot of people I know don't like it, but it's one of my favorites.  I indulge once or twice a week.  Yummmm.
9. Christmas Scents
Everyone who knows me knows that I am a candle hoarder candle-a-holic.  I stock up on them when Bath and Body Works has their semi-annual sale, 2 for $24 sale or when Yankee Candle has their awesome high-value coupons.  I especially love when November hits and I can burn my favorite Holiday candles.  My favorites is, Fresh Balsam (or any Christmas Tree scent), Apple Cinnamon, Cinnamon, Home for the Holidays, Peppermint, Yankee Candle's Butter cream and a bunch of others.  Of course, my favorite one for this season is the Fresh Balsam from Bath and Body Works.
10. Christmas Eve & Morning

I've always loved Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning but since having kids, it means even more to me than normal.  We have our Christmas Eve tradition of having Wigilia (pronounced Vi-gill-ia) which is a traditional Polish Christmas Eve dinner that we have when the first star appears in the sky.  We then go to Church for the Christmas Eve service in our Christmas best and come home to bake cookies for Santa.  I always buy the girls the same Christmas nightgowns from the Disney Store (every year) and we get ready to hang our stockings and put cookies out for Santa! (Although, he prefers some coffee half of a splenda and a splash of cream!)  

Christmas Morning we race downstairs to see what Santa has left for us and rip open all of our presents.  Then the girls play with a few of their toys while my mom and I cook for our company.  It's always a magical day on Christmas and I love to see my kids happy about their presents. :)  

What are your favorite things about the Holiday Season?