Tis the Season

Now that Halloween is out of the way, it's time to talk Christmas! And Thanksgiving, I guess.

Thanksgiving. Most of Adam's family is coming to visit. We are hosting the big dinner at our apartment! We are making half of the meal, while Steve and Elizabeth {Adam's brother and sister-in-law that also live in Pittsburgh} are making the other half. They ordered the turkey from a local organic farm and we bought a folding banquet table on sale at Target. We're planning to push the couch against the wall and set the table up in the living room. The menu is finalized, so I just need to come up with a tablecloth {probably a cheap bed sheet} and hopefully sew a festive runner.

Now onto Christmas. Last year, I made it my goal to finish all of our Christmas preparations before Advent began. I got everything done besides the baking {which couldn't really be avoided} so I could fully participate in the Advent season and spend precious time with family. It was really awesome. I am trying to do that again this year. Here's where we're at.

Gifts. I'm *this close* to finishing our Christmas shopping. We've got presents for eleven out of thirteen of the family members on our list. Once they've all been shopped for, we'll turn on a movie and have a little wrapping party. I really like this wrapping style, found via Pinterest of course. Brown craft paper is super cheap, which means we can splurge a little on fancier ribbon. And the alphabet stamps instead of gift tags? So cute! We still have some Christmas paper to use up from last year, but then I'm totally copying that whole idea.

{image via}

Sunday School. Adam and I are actually in charge of planning all the big events this year. We kicked off the year with our All Saints' Day festivities. Last year, we organized the nativity play, which turned out really cute but mostly in a that was so terrible it's cute way. So, this year we are starting way ahead of time. The "script" is written and the parts will be assigned in class this Sunday, so we can have a solid month of practice before the performance in December. We're also planning a Thanksgiving food drive, a Christmas toy drive and the usual Saint Nicholas festivities.

Decorating. Not too much of note here. We've got a date set for the Sunday after Thanksgiving to put up the advent calendar, nativity scene and tree. This date coincides with the first time Adam will let me listen to Christmas music. I may have begged to do that the day after Halloween...

{new christmas albums i'd love to purchase via here and here}

Baking. Yet again, this probably won't get done until December is in full swing. Besides some treats for ourselves, we also like to give a few baked goods to groups like the priests at the Newman Center, our Sunday School class, Adam's bible study and maybe our upstairs neighbors. If they're good. My old favorites are shortbread, gingersnaps, mint chocolate cookies and fudge, but I will probably try out a new recipe as well. Right now I'm thinking caramels or another fudge variety. Any suggestions?

Cards. When Adam gave me a copy of Photoshop Elements last Christmas, it came with a $20 gift card to Shutterfly, which I saved all year to put towards cards. In October, I combined my gift card with a 20% off sale on holiday cards and another 20% off promo code to purchase fifty 5x7 photo cards for $13. Last year, I participated in Shutterfly's blogger promotion and got fifty stationary cards for $8, or just the cost of shipping. I'm pretty pleased that I managed to spend only $5 more this year.

The downside is that this year's cards are just the basic photo card, which leave no room for hand-writing personalized messages. Call me crazy, but I love that personal touch. My solution was to purchase a pack of blank 5x7 flat cards from Michael's for a mere $2, so I'll just enclose one with each photo card.

While I was proctoring an SAT for my test prep job last weekend, I got all the envelopes addressed. I'm proctoring another exam this weekend, during which I hope to write a message on each card {sometimes this a short note for people we talk to all the time and sometimes it's a longer what we've been up to this year letter for faraway relatives}. Then I'll just pop them in the mail the Monday after Thanksgiving!

{our top three card choices from shutterfly}

I wish I hadn't been so proactive about the whole card situation, though. Today, courtesy of my blog friend, Katie, I found out that Tiny Prints is giving away fifty cards to bloggers. Their cards are seriously so cute, too! Somewhat of a bummer for me, but maybe not for you? If you're a blogger looking to save a few bucks, check them out!


  1. Whoa. You are so impressive. I'm totally jealous of how together you have yourself. I can't wait to hear about hosting your first thanksgiving. That will be stellar. Plus, you've got your Christmas cards together...man. Role Model. I am so wishing I was you right now!

  2. How are you so organized?

  3. Oh man, now you're getting me excited for Christmas preparations! :)

    What mint chocolate cookie recipe do you use? I think Christmas is the BEST time to bake extravagant cookies you wouldn't normally make. :)

  4. As we were examining the damages of Sly having gotten into my wrapping paper stash the other day (ugh!), I mentioned to Tom that some people just use brown paper and pretty ribbons. We thought it sounded like a cheaper and easier-to-store decision. And now seeing that photo you shared, I amdefinitely leaning that way! You could even take it further with the rubber stamps, and make any number of pretty designs or patterns on the paper yourself!


You are awesome.