We kicked off the season this year with an advent activity for Leo. I borrowed the idea from my good friend Christine. Since Leo didn't really understand what Christmas is all about, I thought the idea of reading a story each day about winter and the holiday season might help learn about what was coming. So, I wrapped up a Christmas or winter themed book for each day of December until the 24th. Thanks to my reading teacher Mom, I only had to purchase about half a dozen books to have enough.
I made simple paper labels and attached with silver washi tape. The crafty designer in me wanted to make them more designy and complicated, but similar to the approach I am taking with the blog, I opted for just getting the job done. I set all the books up on a shelf in Leo's room, with a mini tinsel tree. Each night, as part of our bedtime routine, we would find the right book and Leo would open it while we put on his pjs. In addition to being a way to learn about the season, it also helped him learn about the concept of opening presents.
Of course, the last book we opened on Christmas Eve was a board book version of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.
We all gathered on the sofa to read the story together, sporting our new Christmas PJs. All in all, I think the storybook advent was a big hit and we will probably make it an annual tradition.
This Christmas was the first time that Greg and I actually hosted the holiday dinner. My mom came to stay with us, and it was just the four of us for Christmas Eve. Here's what the table looked like for our dinner on the 24th.
If you are familiar with our dining room, you might remember that we typically have a bar height table with stools. We only have 6 stools, and we were expecting 8 people total for our Christmas dinner, my mom, and Greg's parents, grandfather and brother in addition to the three of us. We ended up buying an 8ft folding table to use for the event. It will come in handy in the future for all sorts of indoor and outdoor parties. I couldn't bear the thought of all of us sitting on boring gray folding chairs, which we already had, so I decided to paint them. There are some better shots further down. You can see that my Christmas colors are not the typical red and green. I use teal, lime green, purple (big surprise), pink and a little red. I love this whimsical mix of colors and how they look festive, but at home with the decor I always have in my house. So, for the chairs, I did each of lime, teal, purple and pink. The plates on the table came from Target a few years ago. I made the placemats back then as well, from wrapping paper covered in contact paper. You can get a better view of those here.
Of course, it wouldn't be Christmas without cookies. I usually make dozens upon dozens of frosted sugar cookies. I still made a few of those, but I also wanted to make some that might appeal a little more to Leo. I got the idea for these peanut butter cookie reindeer from Pinterest of course.
After we finished reading our story, we got some of those cookies ready to leave out for Santa! I'm pretty sure he liked them.
Before I tell you about our morning, here's a look at some of the other holiday decor around the house.
I loved the way this turned out. I strung a bunch of shatter proof bulbs with baker's twine from the chandelier in our dining room. It made the room feel a little like Christmas in Wonderland.
We have always like colored lights on our tree. I love the way the colors of the ornaments I used complement the lights so nicely. Above, you see the ornament I bought Leo for his first Christmas last year. It was perfect, as one of my favorite names for him is "Peanut."
I set the table for Christmas dinner with our real dishes, instead of my melamine snowflake set. I didn't have enough snowflakes, and I wanted to be a little more formal. These are the dishes we use every day, but they are nice enough for special occasions.
For place cards, I used my favorite sugar cookies. I have a set of little letter cutters I used to create the names.
The placemats were made with some silver vinyl fabric that was left over from this year's fashion show. I thought it looked a like snow. I just used basic plastic tablecloths from a party store, layering a clear with white snowflakes over a blue. All in all, I was pretty pleased with my first Christmas dinner. It whimsical and fun, which suits my personality perfectly.
So, now that you've seen what the house looked like, here' a few shots of Leo discovering what Santa left behind.
Before I go, here's a look at the basement. We've been having so much fun family time down there in our new family/play room. I wanted to make sure we were feeling the spirit of the season when we were down there as well.