Happy Thursday.

Thank you so much for sharing your traditions - there are so many great, meaningful ones listed. I have read through the comments a couple of times now  and am planning to add some to our own traditions.

A couple simple ideas I loved was eating Christmas Eve dinner by candlelight with lots of candles (even if it is something perfectly simple such as pizza - we usually do a bigger early dinner on Christmas day - not sure what will happen yet this year with all our guests), spending the night in the living room all together near the tree + watching movies (just picked up Elf at Target this morning) + eating pizza (anything having to do with pizza is good in my book), and getting an ornament box set up just for Simon.

I have an ornament box that my Grandma Cathy made for me and my siblings (and cousins) when I was a kid that holds all the ones I have received over the years. My Mom even kept track of where they came from (who + when). She is so good at writing things down. It is a super special treasure and I want Simon to have the same sort of experience as well.

Here's a peek inside:

Today I am working on work stuff and getting ready for my holiday gathering tomorrow night. I am hosting my first every get-together (another benefit of not traveling so much) and I am really excited. Ever notice how inviting people to come over spurs you into action on projects that have been waiting forever to be completed? That is totally happening around here and Chris has been a major help in this department.

We got our tree last night at a local lot and it was the easiest and simplest set up we have experienced in our 9 years of marriage. Ever since I can remember we have been using my Grandparents old metal Christmas Tree stand. Last year it finally rusted (worse than it was already rusted) and ended up staining the carpet so I was finally justified in disposing of it. We should have gotten rid of it a long time ago.

Yesterday morning Chris picked up one of those Krinner Click Fix Christmas Tree Genies. Seriously, it is the best thing ever. You just set your tree in it, click a lever a couple times with your foot and it's done. We laughed quite awhile about how much BETTER it was than the old one which took forever to get set up. It's one of those great little things that made the whole experience a million times better.

Starting Saturday I will be posting my holiday December Daily journal pages each day over on CK's website (not sure on the exact link yet) - check back for more information on that one. Jessica posted an awesome digital template for her December Daily album here (instructions are located within the post). Love the idea of using one template foundation for each day and simply varying the content, papers, etc.

Happy Thursday!

43 thoughts

  1. Anna

    2007-11-29 08:20:53 -0500

    Ali- thanks for your great blog. Your Christmas spirit is a welcome relief in all of the crazy chaos of life. Both of my kids have ornament boxes that contain ornaments that my Mom has made them, as well as ornaments that they have made each year. My twins are six. They also have boxes that container my sons nutcrackers collection, one for each year and my daughters snowglobe collection. It is so fun for them to pull them out and help decorate the house! Thanks for all of the insipiration. I think I will have to make a ornament scrapbook- what a great idea!

  2. jenn shurkus

    2007-11-29 08:24:45 -0500

    have a wonderful time at your party ali ;) enjoy all the moments!!!

  3. Traci in Virginia

    2007-11-29 08:31:42 -0500

    Hey Ali--I did not want 2007 to pass before sending you a big Thank-You! I attended CKU Nashville and took your class A Week In the Life--LOVED IT! Had such a great time and really enjoyed meeting you and spending the day with lots of amazing women. My sister and I sat with another 2 sisters and had a blast! I am still working on my album...almost finished and I love it!!! So, Thank you for a great experience. It was so nice talking to you...I got a great picture of you by the way. I have loved reading your blog and hearing about your Christmas projects. I am planning to attempt the one from last year with the square punches.
    Enjoy Elf...if you haven't seen it-it is a family favorite. My children and I quote from it throughout the year! So silly and fun...perfect really for the holidays! Have a wonderful holiday with your family and a fabulous 2008...maybe someday I will see you again at another scrap event!
    Merry Christmas!
    Traci Wren
    Vinton, VA :)

  4. Mary

    2007-11-29 09:00:07 -0500

    Ali-my mom started this tradition with us as well. However she bought or made 2 of the same ornaments for us every year on top of what we got from friends/family members. She put one one the tree and the other in an ornament box. I never knew about it and the night before I got married she gave me the box filled with ornaments and other Christmas decorations she had collected for me over the years. My husband and I had a very special first Christmas will a tree full of ornaments we never would have had...I look forward to putting these on the tree every year and knowing that all though my parents are far away, they are putting the same ornaments on the tree too. I have started ornament boxes for both my children so they can have these for later in life as well.

  5. Sara

    2007-11-29 09:19:07 -0500

    I really love your ornament box. I hope you enjoy your gathering as much as everyone else will. I am sure it will be wonderful!

  6. Lindsey Cord

    2007-11-29 09:27:54 -0500

    quick question. what adhesive do you use on your acrylic Christmas album? I am going to make one and I dont want stuff falling off in a couple days, you know what I mean!

  7. Stacie

    2007-11-29 09:59:13 -0500

    WOW! Ali, we have the same 1975 ornament. I have a wonderful Mom too who gave us an ornament every year that often coincided with some new hobby or event in our lves. She always dated them and now they are all mine to hang on my famliy tree. Fun stuff!

  8. Margie

    2007-11-29 10:34:27 -0500

    Love the ornament box idea. My mom let my brother and I pick out a new ornament each year and now we do the same with our three children - my husband and I pick one out too. I love the idea of each person having their own personalized box!
    Wanted to share a couple of our traditions since I missed the tradition blog entry.
    I have each child who can draw, draw one Xmas themed picture, I scan it into the computer and use it on our Xmas card - either the card itself or on the return labels or on our Xmas photo collage. That is another tradition. Instead of a Xmas letter, we do a collage of photos throughout the year and mail it to out of town friends and family inserted in our card. Our card is always a family photo we take each year on the beach. I always have a family member or friend take it and they turn out better than any professional photo we have ever had taken! Probably because we take so many more photos at the shoot than the pros do.
    Thanks to everyone who shared their traditions - I've written a few down to add to our growing list of old & new traditions. Thanks Ali for doing this. It is always so fun.

  9. melisa

    2007-11-29 10:35:04 -0500

    I really love the idea of the ornament box, i really wish my mother had done that for me, but because you shared such a wonderful tradition with us, i will now start a box for each of my three girls. thank you so much and your mother to for such a great tradition.

  10. Margie

    2007-11-29 10:36:37 -0500

    Oh, almost forgot to add the tradition of getting a special Starbucks holiday treat after picking out our Xmas tree - whether it is at a farm or Home Depot!

  11. anne

    2007-11-29 11:41:05 -0500

    I CAN'T wait until tomorrow. It's going to be a lovely time! :)

  12. Cynthia Friese-Hassanein

    2007-11-29 12:04:57 -0500

    Ali- I love the ornament box, that is so great. This year I've decided to on my blog do my own version of advent calendar countdown to celebrate all the wonderful traditions of this holiday season and then in Jan., take all my blog entries then turn them into a mini-book. Thanks for sharing your traditions. Look forward to checking out your December Journal pages.

  13. Paola Norman

    2007-11-29 12:55:22 -0500

    Ali, I thought that since you were entertaining so much this month I'd share with you a super easy super fast receipe that you can have on hand: You only need about 5-10 min..
    Chocolate Mint Fudge:
    3 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet is good)
    1 can of condensed milk
    1 pinch of salt
    1 tsp peppermint extract
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1 cup of walnuts (optional)(chopped)
    In a saucepan heat condensed milk and chocolate chips over low-med heat until chocolate chips are melted and mixed in the milk. Stir in the other ingredients and mix well. Pour into a 8 or 9 inch pan that has been lined with aluminum foil. Let sit until firm.. remove foil. Cut in pieces and enjoy!
    I usually make 2 one with nuts and one without.. and I like to double the receipe..take care!

  14. katharyn brine

    2007-11-29 13:11:53 -0500

    OHHHH! Love your new blog banner! LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT! Also crazy about the lined ledger paper one you had at the beginning of the year.

  15. Jennie DeMichielli-Moreland

    2007-11-29 13:50:52 -0500

    Elf is one of our favorites. Another movie to keep in your collection for the holidays or give to those you love is "The Ultimate Gift" You will have tears at the end. We love it. Some of the gifts are Joy, Patience, Love etc. Happy Holidays from Portland Oregon.

  16. dr berry

    2007-11-29 14:07:30 -0500

    What a treasure- that ornament box. "Elf" is my all time fav holiday movie. It makes me laugh every time I watch it. We even watch it in the summer at least once.
    Thanks for sharing- I love all your holiday idies. There just aren't enough hours in my day to do all those awesome things.
    Happies at ya!!

  17. Autumn

    2007-11-29 16:30:32 -0500

    Hi Ali. I heard about your open house this weekend from my friend Laura in Salem. Good luck with the event. I bet it will be spectacular! Everything you do exudes awesomeness! You, Master Ali, totally ROCK!
    By the way, will you be teaching a class at the CK Convention in late February? I am about to buy a ticket to Portland just in case you will be teaching there.

  18. Dalne

    2007-11-29 21:11:32 -0500

    What a great idea? I have never heard of an ornament box before but it makes so much sense. A special box to store things that you treasure. The value of this is your special things forever and ever so you can hang them on your Christmas tree wherever that maybe. Can't wait to see the Ali version of this great idea. I have been loving the Christmas posts. Good luck with the entertaining. Remember hospitality resides in our hearts not in our homes.

  19. homedotmade

    2007-11-29 23:47:27 -0500

    Two more ornament traditions... One is that every vacation we take, we buy an ornament (or something else small that could hang on our tree) put the year on it in some place and use it as a souvenir of our trip. We have ones from Aruba, Seattle, Steamboat Springs, The Wisconsin Dells, etc. and it's always fun to talk about with the kids.
    The other ornament tradition we have is that I have a picture frame ornament for every year since we have been married and I put in it a picture representative of the year or something significant that happened.
    The year we got married-our wedding picture, the next year, the picture of our house, baby pictures the year the kids were born. I even have a few that are "memorial" ornaments for the years we lost my brother and my father in law.
    It too brings the memories back and is wonderful to be able to look on every year.

  20. Penny

    2007-11-30 01:30:11 -0500

    I love the ornament box. What a special treasure.

  21. Kimberly L.C.

    2007-11-30 02:20:43 -0500

    Great post today!
    I think we're going to have to get that stand since last year as I was putting the star on the top of the tree, the whole thing fell over, ornaments and all. It was quite traumatic and I lost several prized ornaments in the process!
    Hope you had a fun party last night!

  22. leah

    2007-11-30 04:22:37 -0500

    Love the ornament box idea (never seen one before...) If you find directions/pattern will you please share a link? Thanks!
    Good luck on your holiday gatherings! :)

  23. Beth

    2007-11-30 05:39:51 -0500

    My son only just turned one....so now...I feel I should go through the ornaments and try to remember where they came from and write it all down...I do remember where most of mine came from....so I guess I should do the same for him....thanks

  24. Lietje

    2007-11-30 11:08:13 -0500

    I really, really, really love the ornament boxes.
    We have a tree full of new and old ornaments (many of them bought when i was a little girl) I really wished my mum had made notes why and when I picked that special piece.
    I also wished that I noted down why my kids picked some special pieces. Why they fall in love with them. The pieces I hate and always try to hang them on back site of the tree ;) a very, very, very blue bird, a orange tree or a pink fungus. I hate them but I also love/treasure them..... but not in FRONT of my tree ;) But I'm sure in a couple of years I hang those pieces in the front because then they remind me of the years gone by :{
    When i'm decorating the tree at my mothers (81) house, each year i'm still surprised she has ornaments my father picked as a little boy (early 1930 ths) I'm really love them. And when she is gone.... They are going to hang in MY tree but I will never now when he got those and why.
    Really treasure your box!!!! Love it.

  25. kelli smith

    2007-12-01 10:21:36 -0500

    I love that ornament box, should post the directions or even the dimensions so we can all sew-lift it....

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