In which there are Christmas traditions

We’re such a new little family (even though in about two weeks we’ll mark our 10 year dating anniversary), that we’re still establishing Christmas traditions. One of my favorites so far is where on Christmas Eve we exchange ornaments that are indicative of the year’s adventures:

Step one for ornament exchange: Pick out tree. We almost didn't get a live tree this year with finals and end of the year stuff cramping up my scheduled, but Jeff insisted and I'm so glad we did.

Step one for ornament exchange: Pick out tree. We almost didn’t get a live tree this year with finals and end of the year stuff cramping up my scheduled, but Jeff insisted and I’m so glad we did. The smell has been heavenly.

Step two: Tie to the Jeep. (Step two and a half: Remember that you left most of the bungee cords in your bin in storage and pray that the two you brought will do the trick).

Step two: Tie tree to the top of the loyal Jeep. (Step two and a half: Remember that you left most of the bungee cords in your bin in storage and pray that the two you brought will do the trick. Consult with stranger parked next to you and get his vote of confidence).

Step three: Trim the tree while eating traditional Christmas nachos (we used to makes these all the time when Jeff was in law school and we saw each other on the weekends. Plus the red and green make them quite festive). Another tradition: Listening to the web broadcast of This American Life's episode with David Sedaris's Santaland Diaries.

Step three: Trim the tree while eating traditional Christmas nachos (we used to makes these all the time when Jeff was in law school and we saw each other on the weekends. Plus the red and green make them quite festive). Another tradition: Listening to the web broadcast of the This American Life’s episode with David Sedaris’s Santaland Diaries.

Last year Jeff gave me this handcrafted tin crab from when we went crabbing with our dear friends Bri and Ian up in the San Juans.

Last year Jeff gave me this handcrafted tin crab from when we went crabbing with our dear friends Bri and Ian up in the San Juans.

It's nice to be reminded of the fun trip!

It’s nice to be reminded of the fun trip!

My ornament last year for Jeff.

My ornament last year for Jeff.

Merry First Christmas :) With a picture of our first dance at the wedding.

Merry First Christmas ūüôā With a picture of our first dance at the wedding.

This year, to commemorate our first full year in the Pacific Northwest Jeff gave me a hand blown blue and green glass raindrop ornament from a local Seattle artist. This is one of the biggest glass blowing regions of the world and some ash from Mount St. Helens is included in this piece.

This year, to commemorate our first full year in the Pacific Northwest Jeff gave me a hand blown blue and green glass raindrop ornament from a local Seattle artist. This is one of the biggest glass blowing regions of the world and some ash from Mount St. Helens is included in this piece.

I bought this glass piece and etched an outline of the Burning Man symbol on it with the year to commemorate our trip this summer.

I bought this glass piece and etched an outline of the Burning Man symbol on it with the year to commemorate our trip this summer.

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This year some friends introduced us to a street called Candy Cane Lane where all the houses deck out in great Christmas lights. (Sorry for the blurriness of the pictures)

This year some friends introduced us to a street called Candy Cane Lane where all the houses get together and agree to deck themselves out in great Christmas lights. (Sorry for the blurriness of the pictures: night + iPhone camera = not great, but you get the idea)

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We Try to watch 12 Christmas movies every year. So far we've made it through Christmas Vacation, It's a Wonderful Life, Elf, Home Alone, White Christmas and currently as I write, A Christmas Story.

We try to watch 12 Christmas movies every year. So far we’ve made it through Christmas Vacation, It’s a Wonderful Life, Elf, Home Alone, White Christmas and currently as I write, A Christmas Story, so halfway there. As we ate traditional barbecue pork and watched White Christmas last night, the scenes with the troops celebrating Christmas in a war zone ¬†overseas hit particularly close to home.¬†

My little brother Graham is currently serving in Afghanistan (he's the second from the right). Here's hoping there's a Christmas miracle and they can all come home soon.

My little brother Graham is currently serving in Afghanistan (he’s the second from the right with the present on his gun). Here’s hoping there’s a Christmas miracle that they can all come home soon.

It's no secret that I love Christmas cards. I remember stuffing envelops as a kid and sitting for what seemed like ages for the perfect shot where all three of us were looking at the camera. It was the '90s so there was a lot of hairspray involved.  This wall has sent us love from Rachie, the Kirks, the Plues, the Pecks (Virginia), the Pecks (Memphis), the Watsons, the Smiths, the Seals, the Lanes, the Reeses and the Fowlers.

It’s no secret that one of my favorite traditions is sending and receiving Christmas cards. I remember stuffing envelops as a kid and sitting for what seemed like ages for the perfect shot where all three of us were looking at the camera. It was the ’90s so there was a lot of hairspray involved.
This wall has sent us love from Rachie, the Kirks, the Duffs, the Pecks (Virginia), the Pecks (Memphis), the Watsons, the Smiths, the Seals, the Lanes, the Reeses and the Fowlers.

And love from the Balestrinos, Baileys, Fitzpatricks, Moores, Friars, Russos, Plues and Aunt Doris.

And love from the Balestrinos, Baileys, Fitzpatricks, Moores, Friars, Russos, Plues and Aunt Doris.

We may not have a real fireplace, but the Yule Log movie on Netflix made a nice replacement.

We may not have a real fireplace, but the Yule Log movie on Netflix made a nice replacement.

Though it’s probably more applicable to Thanksgiving than to Christmas, I’ve had the carol¬†For the Beauty of the Earth¬†perpetually stuck in my head this season:

For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise. 

We’re so thankful for such a great year, for such wonderful friends and family (near and far) and for the promise of a brand new year. From us to you: Merriest Christmas!

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