Saturday, December 28, 2013

Making Merry

I know that the blog has been even quieter than normal lately and I apologize for that, but I have been out living instead of just writing about it. Christmas is my favorite holiday and we have been busy celebrating our first Christmas with Baby E.

The holiday season started the Saturday after Thanksgiving with a trip to see Santa. We got up early to beat the lines for Santa at the Mall at Millennia and I would say it was a success. There were just a couple of families in front of us, so we waited about a half hour for Santa to come and then only a few minutes after he was there. For years I have seen photos and heard about how awesome this guy was and I can say that I was not disappointed. Baby E did well with Santa and we got some cute photos.

We also picked up a reusable Advent calendar. Thanks Starbucks. This year we enjoyed the caramels and coffee, but next year I will fill it with small toys, bows and other treats for Baby E. It is something that can grow with her and nicer than the ones that are filled with chocolate that doesn't taste very good.

A few days later is was off to Epcot for the Candlelight Processional. This is one of my favorite Christmas traditions and I have been pretty much every year since I first saw it in 2001. We opted for lunch at Morocco and the early show since Baby E goes to bed pretty early. She loved the show and was an amazingly good girl through the whole thing.

Guest narrator Neil Patrick Harris

Waiting for the show to begin
While at Epcot we also stopped by the Germany pavilion and got a custom blown glass ornament to commemorate Baby E's first Christmas. The husband and I got one of these the first Christmas we were living together, so it was only fitting that we got one for her first Christmas with our family. It is really neat because you can see the ornaments being blown right in front of you.

Next up was St. Nicholas day. This was a tradition I grew up with and I wanted to pass on to Baby E. She put her shoe out and the next morning it was filled with a book and a toy. St. Nicholas just brings small treats and is a nice lead up to Santa.
Tiny shoes waiting for St. Nicholas to visit

Baby E was so good her presents don't fit in her shoes
A few weeks later it was time for Tuba Christmas in Winter Park. My husband played the Tuba for years and this is a fun and slightly silly concert that takes place in Central Park. Baby E liked the music and hung out on our laps for the concert.

Nothing says Florida Christmas like a ski hat and a sundress

Then the weekend before Christmas it was party time. Saturday afternoon we went to a children's Christmas party where baby E got to visit with both Santa and Mrs. Clause. She also got to open her first Christmas present.

No smile for Santa this time

Mrs. Clause is intriguing

I really just want to eat the paper

Sunday was an adult Christmas party and our first night out since having Baby E. We ate and drank, gambled and got gfted. It was a lot of fun and we picked Baby E up with a sweet souvenir. My sister-in-law's first Pinterest craft. It is so cute and I almost cried when she gave it to me.

Getting crazy on our night out

This was a super fun surprise!
I am very thankful someone in the family is crafty.

Christmas eve we went to mass and then home for a quiet dinner. Baby E put cookies and milk out for Santa. We hung out by the tree and took in our first Christmas as a family of three.

Cookies and milk for Santa; Carrots for his reindeer
Christmas morning we opened presents and made breakfast. Baby E enjoyed playing with some of her new toys. 

So many presents for such a little person
This year we hosted Christmas dinner because it was easier than leaving the house. We spatchcoked a turkey and it turned out amazing. I don't think I will cook turkey any other way from now on. I also found a recipe for the most amazing gingerbread bars. These will be a new Christmas tradition.

Best turkey I have ever made
I love Christmas, but having Baby E made it that much more special. I am excited to continue to share these traditions with her as she gets older. What are some of your family traditions? Have they changed since your family grew?