{our christmas}

When my siblings and I were young, we spent every Friday night together. First, we ate dinner and then, for a most special dessert, we got to have frozen Hi-C's while watching TGIF and having a sleepover in the family room. 

Every time, without fail, we'd microwave the Hi-C and the aluminum on top would spark and possibly ignite a tad bit. 

It was bliss. One of my favorite memories with my siblings. 

I don't know if my family loves traditions more than most, since this is the only one I've ever been in, but I know we love them as much as is humanly possible. 

But as we've gotten older, we've had to become more flexible. We haven't opened Christmas gifts on Christmas Day in years, because we want to wait for my sisters. We moved and tried a new church and have some food allergies we are accommodating so meals have changed a bit. Things are a little different around here. 

And even though I'll always be a girl for tradition, there is something beautiful in making new ones. As it turns out, Christmas gifts on Jan. 26 make the 25th less about gifts and slow us all down. It makes it more about the holiday with our extended family and less about opening. And more about food :) 

This year, we took it further. On the morning of Dec. 26, we had hot chocolate on the stairs and watched the little kids open their gifts. 

And then that night we put them in bed early, went back upstairs, and waited for our parents to bring us a tray not of hot chocolate, but instead of beer and wine. Then we ran back down those stairs and opened our gifts. Grown up Christmas! 

It was lovely. 

I think sometimes we associate change with things falling apart. We cling to the past because we fear what will happen if we let it go. But, just as we can't get to spring if we don't first get through winter, we can't move forward if we don't let a few things go in our lives. 

This year taught me that, in a family as big as mine, we can't always know what's next. We can't hold onto the past for fear of the future. This year, we swapped hot chocolate for beer and wine, but who knows what next year will hold. Heck, maybe even Hi-C's? 

I can't wait to find out! 

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!

christmas at our house!

Despite yesterday being in the 60s, it was Christmas at our house last night. 

Ever since we put up our tree, it's been feeling full and festive in our little house. But last night, any doubt was banished: it's Christmastime in the Highlands! 

We took a present to our neighbors, exchanged gifts and spent a good hour and a half trying to put together the trampoline Melly gave me. 

We laughed a lot. Mostly about our lack of hand strength and therefore lack of ability to put together the trampoline. We talked about how long we'll stay in Atlanta - and how long we'll stay in this house. 

It was happy.

I've been trying really hard not to let too much busy get to me this holiday season. Not rushing too much. Not worrying if my gifts don't look pretty (worst wrapper ever!). Not doing things I feel like I should do and instead embracing the right now; the holiday. 

Last night was the perfect way to capture it - we didn't do much besides open and laugh and trampoline assemble, but it was life-giving and fulfilling in the best way possible. I fell asleep easily and with a full heart; so grateful for my roommate, our house and this season. 

One week! 

what our christmas tree taught me

Last night Melissa and I went Christmas tree shopping and upon arriving, we immediately found the most Charlie Brown tree on the lot. So pitiful, in fact, that they gave us a discount on account of its missing backside. A bare-backed tree, for us, indeed!

(You can't tell in this picture because my camera was being jankity all night: the entire bottom front half is missing...)

I'll admit this sounds dramatic, but something about this tree tugged at my heart. Melissa was understandably tempted by the trees at Whole Foods next door - beautiful, full and already in the stand for only $20 more. But no, I wanted this little naked tree that wobbles in the stand its so skinny. 

We joked we were just doing some charity work - adopting the very last $20 tree on the lot. The lonely guy on the back wall that nobody wanted. 

But as we threw it on top of the car, I couldn't help but think of the way were all like that tree. We've got some holes. Some wobbly parts. Some branches that stick out the wrong direction. 

I think the holiday season so easily tempts us to get wrapped up in the image. The perfect tree. Perfect gifts for people you love. Perfect dinner parties. Perfect scheduling - some how managing to make it to every party. 

This week, as the Christmas season has really kicked off, I've felt a little stressed. By the parties I have to say no to and the gifts I've not yet purchased. But last night our tree reminded me that life isn't about checking everything off perfectly during the holiday season - or any season, for that matter. It's about slowing down and showing up. It's about being present instead of performing. 

And you know what happened to our tree? We wrapped it right up in lights and ornaments and love. And before we knew it, it looked perfectly full. And perfectly happy. 

done. done. done, done, done!

You know how some people listen to songs on repeat? This has been my relationship with Target's Done commercial this year. I can't stop watching it. It makes me so happy!

I made my friends watch it a few times last night. They thought I was pretty much crazy until the second glass of wine, at which point I promise I caught a few of them bouncing their knees along with me.

The check lists! The girl dancing in front of the tree! Oh man it gets me in the spirit!