I started celebrating Christmas a little earlier than usual this year (because Lord knows we need any excuse for some joy these days) and I’m starting to get so excited, guys! I broke out the decorations, put up my little Christmas tree, tuned into the local Christmas station – I’m totally admiring my handiwork as we speak!
I’ve even done a good amount of my gift shopping, which has to be some kind of record because I famously wait until the last minute every year. All this holiday spirit made me want to share some thoughts on the holidays including the best Christmas tree ever and where not to see the Nutcracker this year…
Putting Up the (Aluminum) Christmas Tree
My mom’s never been one to do things the traditional way, but when it came to buying a new christmas tree she really outdid herself. We’ve always had fake trees because she’s allergic to pine (it’s actually a secret dream of mine to get a real one just to see what it would be like – sorry mom!) so we grew up putting the tree together, untangling the lights, the whole nine yards.
A few years back she said she’d ordered a new one online – let’s say we were not expecting it to be silver and made out of metal. My brother and I thought she was insane! But of course, now it’s my favorite thing ever and I can’t wait to have one of my own some day.
Drinking Mulled Wine at Christkindlmarket
This is definitely our newest tradition, but it feels like one we’ve been doing for years. My mom moved downtown a few years ago and I have to say that nothing beats Christmas in the city. Everything is lit up and Christmas is everywhere – I literally went to a random bar last last weekend and Santa was there! (I got so weirdly star stuck!)
Christkindlmarket on Daley Plaza has become our go to for a dose of Christmas spirit. We get mugs of mulled wine, eat potato pancakes, and browse through the incredible collection of handmade glass ornaments. They seriously have everything. My dream is to one day have an entire Christmas tree of alcoholic beverage ornaments and this is definitely where I’ll start – the Germans know what’s up!
Seeing the Nutcracker
I’ve been a longtime fan of ballet – I danced all the way up until senior year of college and always felt really lucky to have one of the best ballet companies right at our doorstep, the Joffrey. So, of course, we frequented their version of the Nutcracker every year. I remember crying the first time I saw it (I know, cheesy lol) because it’s just a really incredible production.
Unfortunately, they decided to change things up last year and maybe we’re just curmudgeonly creatures of habit, but we felt like it missed the magic of the old version. We’re going to give the Madison Ballet’s version a try this year so fingers crossed! Regardless of the production itself, it’s just so nice to get dressed up, people watch, and drink champagne at intermission. Really looking forward to it this year!
I need no excuse to bake, but Christmas makes baking seem extra cozy and wonderful. I pour myself a glass of red wine, put on a Christmas movie, and I’m a happy little clam. Plus, I have an office filled with hungry developers to eat all my leftovers!
My go-to are classic chocolate chip cookies (I swear by the Martha Stewart recipe – they stay soft for days), but I’ve been trying to branch out lately. This year, I want to go total classic and do gingerbread. I’ve never actually made them before, but I think I’m ready for a little bit of a challenge. Frankly, I’m more worried about the decorating than the baking – I’m honestly tragic at that sort of thing. Keep an eye out for some total fails!
Spending Time with My Family and Friends
I know, I know this is the most cliche answer ever… But it is genuinely my favorite part of the holidays. As I mentioned on Instagram recently, the holidays can be really tough. I know the years after my parents got divorced I dreaded the holidays – it was hard to see our family traditions change and I always felt like I was letting one parent down by being with the other.
But we all got older and made new traditions and I’ve really come to learn that home can be anywhere when you have the right people. It’s still not perfect and we always manage to find something stupid to fight about, but we also always figure it out and I feel lucky that I have a family who loves me enough to fight for our time together. Sappy, yes, but true!
Last thing: can we talk about this jumpsuit for a second?! I love that it’s subtly festive and can totally be dressed up or down – I might wear it with heels to the Nutcracker next week or with slippers to lounge around in on Christmas Day. It’s the perfect cross between formal wear and pajamas, which is my ideal holiday outfit aesthetic.
I stopped into Anthropologie last week do some Christmas shopping and of course immediately found something for myself… I’m not sure if it’s still going on, but they were having a 40% off sale on sale items in store, which is a whopper for them. If you love Anthro, but gawk at their prices it’s a great time to pick up some goodies as gifts or, if you’re like me, as a little secret santa to yourself.
What are you guys up to for the holidays? Do you have any fun holiday traditions that have stuck? Funnily enough we don’t have anything in particular we do on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, we focus mainly on the lead up to Christmas, but I always love to hear what other families do!