A Few Favorite Christmas Posts

We love celebrating the holidays by being with friends and family, decorating and of course baking! Just though we’d bring back some of our favorites as Christmas is drawing ever nearer.

Christmas Cookies

Above are Megan’s Peppermint Poinsettias and last year I made some tasty Mocha Chip Cookies for friends and family.

Christmas Crafts

For those of you wanting a quick DIY project, give this Semi-DIY Glam Wreath a try. Spoiler alert: All I did was add the plumes and a bow to a wreath I found at Target. If you know someone who wasn’t so good this year, Megan shows how you can gift them with handmade bags of candy coal.

Christmas Cheer

I had to keep the alliteration going. If you’re wanting to bless some friends and family this year, download my free Christmas Cheer printable from one of my favorite Christmas movies, Elf. And if you’re thinking of hosting a get together, here are some party hosting tips.

Have a fun and safe holiday!

Advent Activities {Christmas Traditions}

Happy December, Newly Wife readers! I hope you are truly enjoying this enchanting season and embracing its meaning. We’ve been embracing lots of family traditions and enjoying all the local festivities. This is the first year we’ve attempted to “plan ahead” or “loosely schedule” our activities. It all started from the pocket Advent calendar that I made the week between Thanksgiving and the start of December.

It’s been a great way to make sure we’re making time for the things we want to do and not stressing last minute. It also helps to say “no” to other things that may not be as important to us because we already have activities planned.

I say this all even though you may not have kids yet because it wasn’t until we started having kids that we really begin most of our traditions. It’s funny how that happens. Or how you justify putting it off. Our first married year, we ::gasp:: didn’t even have a tree. Looking back, I wished we had enjoyed a few more traditions and activities before the kids came. It is entirely too much fun with them, but I wish we had made a point to embrace more of the season sooner.

In addition to hosting a table at a ladies’ tea, participating in a ladies’ dinner, and seeing the downtown Christmas Tree Lighting parade, we’ve made wrapping paper, picked and decorated our tree, seen the local “lights on steroids” at Deacon Dave’s house, and had a picnic under our tree.

I looked over this list and picked several that fit our family and the traditions we like to do. I also tried to include a few “service”/acts of kindness type of activities too. I was really inspired by this blogger’s kindness project from a few years back. All of these would make great date night ideas!

Maybe you want to host a cookie exchange or have a date night decorating gingerbread houses?? I find its essential to be intentional to make things happen. Even with only two family members to consider instead of our four. ;)

Pinterest has a ton of variations when it comes to Advent calendars.

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So, maybe you thought Advent calendars and activities were only child’s play or for families. But really, they can be for anyone. You can use them to challenge yourself in ways of local kindness and giving. Or to make sure you really embrace this time of year with all its fun festivities. Don’t wait until you have kids!! Start those family traditions THIS year!

Merry Christmas!!

From, the Swensons

NewlyWife Likes #61

This week it’s all about GOLD!

1: Get crafty and festive by making some glittery gold votives. These would be perfect for a holiday meal, sprinkle these along with some tinsel and you’re golden! (Sorry, I couldn’t help it…)

2: This nature-inspired birch bracelet from Anthropologie is so simple yet stunning.

3: Cat eyes are so much fun, glam it up even more with liquid gold liner. I found a silver brush kind at Ulta a couple years ago. Check there or Sephora for something similar, and ask a sales associate to help you master it at the store before you get it home. It can be tricky!

4: I love the look of black nails, but am always afraid they will seem too dark during the festive parties. Solution found with gold stripes!

Holiday Dinner Planning 101

So, we hosted our first Thanksgiving this year.  It was quite a feat: turkey, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts, green beans with bacon, homemade rolls, dessert.  It was the first time I ever prepared such a massive meal on my (our) own, and I learned a few things along the way.  So if you’re hosting Christmas or Hanukkuh or any other major holiday at your home, here are a few things I’ve learned (some the hard way):

Making holiday memories (and food)

  1. Prepare, prepare, prepare: Make a list of everything you’re preparing, and then break that list down into a few other lists: ingredients by dish (for shopping), baking temperature and time (to plan out the day of), and temperature the dish is served at. This last list is important to help plan out your day; if you have a dish that needs to be served hot out of the oven, you don’t want to bake it 5 hours before everyone arrives, and vice versa.  Something that is served at room temperature can be made earlier in the day or even the day before to help manage time.
  1. Get your prep taken care of EARLY: I spent the night before making the dishes that I knew could be refrigerated and keep well.  I also spent the morning cutting all the vegetables and herbs, so the assembly of each dish could just fly by.
  1. Accept the help: Get your husband or partner involved.  In our case, Shawn helped with a few dishes as they came up, but he was also totally responsible for the turkey.  He brined it, dried it and roasted it.  It turned out delicious, and it helped me to be able to focus on all the smaller dishes.
  1. Breathe: Remember, this is a holiday and it’s supposed to be fun. There’s nothing worse than a stressed out, irritable and exhausted host or hostess.  Prepare and plan, and then enjoy.  At the end of the day, it’s not about perfect food or an elaborate presentation; it’s about friends and family and spending time together.

Cheers!

NewlyWife Likes #60

1: I would seriously consider marrying a dark chocolate peppermint cake. Until that’s possible, baking it is my next move, then devouring every last morsel.

2: A gorgeous and great reminder of what happened that blessed night. If you like it, you’re in luck. It’s a free printable!

3: Recycle and retwinkle the old bulb lights with glitter! Are you surprised to hear I want to infuse a little more glitter into Christmas decor?

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