Tuesday, November 23, 2010

12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge - Day 2: Black Friday/General Shopping Tips

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I've never actually done the Black Friday shopping thing. I am not a morning person at all and I'm not much for standing in long lines either, so its never really appealed to me, no matter how good of a bargain I can get. We don't actually have all that many people to buy for, so that makes things a lot easier. We draw names on my side of the family between my parents, sister, BIL and Jake and I. So thats only 2 gifts there and we set a limit of $25 to $30 each. Then we buy a gift or 2 for my nephew Landon. On Jake's side we always buy gifts for his mom and then since we have so many nieces and nephews on that side, we just buy one gift for each family as a whole. Normally I make a little basket with a family movie or blockbuster card, popcorn and snacks. He has 2 brothers, so I just make 2 baskets and thats, that. Other than that, we usually get my grandparents a gift card or something small and I exchange gifts with my BFF Carley. We normally set a limit of like $15. So thats pretty much everyone we buy for. I normally make a list ahead of time and then put the amount of money I'm going to spend next to that person. I'll also write down what I plan to get for that person and then I check them off the list as I buy the present. Keeps me organized and helps me plan ahead.

12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge - Day 1: Christmas Traditions

I'm starting this a day late, but I'll do 2 days worth today. :-) I saw this on my friend Holly's blog, who's also participating. Thought it would be fun. :-)

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12 Days of Christmas: Day 1 ~ Christmas Traditions

Jake and I have several Christmas traditions that we've started since being married. One being that we get our Christmas Tree from Sullivan's Tree Farm every year. The first Christmas after we got married, I knew I wanted to get a real tree. Both Jake and I always had an artificial tree growing up, but thought it would be fun to try a real tree. We've really enjoyed having a real tree, even though its a lot more work. Its worth it in our opinion. The first year we wanted to go all out and go cut the tree down and everything. So we went out to a farm that we found online about an hour away. When we got there, they only had little dinky small trees that weren't even ready to be cut down in my opinion. So needless to say we didn't get a tree there, but we decided to go right down the road from us to a family owned lot and pick out a tree. We loved the tree we got there and the super nice family that runs it, so we've gone back every year since then. Its so convenient too. We get a Noble Fir every year that smells wonderful and looks beautiful. Its probably my favorite tradition that we have.

These have been all three of our Noble Firs so far. I always take a picture with just the tree skirt that Jake's Great Grandma made for us, before decorating the tree. From left to right its 2007, 2008 and 2009. The best looking tree we got so far was the 2008 tree. It was shaped almost perfectly.

A second Christmas Tradition is that we've taken a family picture in front of our tree every year. I use the picture for our Christmas card. I also always use the picture to make an ornament to hang on the tree. I thought it would be cool to have an ornament on our tree from every year to see how our family has grown. Below are our three years worth of pictures so far. I'm hoping next year (2011) there is a baby in the picture, ;-)

A third family tradition, and this goes back all the way to my childhood, is that we always participate in the Christmas Musical at our church in one way or another. As kids Jake and I were always in the play and now that we're older, I help direct it and Jake always helps in one way or another whether its building the set, playing a small role or whatever needs to be done. Its always fun and gets us in the mood for Christmas.

A fourth family tradition, and this also goes back to our childhood, is to go to the Christmas Eve Service at our church. Its always late at night, normally at 10 p.m. Its normally candle-lit and we sing Christmas Songs. Its one of my favorite things about Christmas. Usually the kids come in their pajamas and it just really gets us ready for the coming of Jesus and helps you remember that Jesus is the reason for the season.