Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

December 20, 2007

December Daily : Days 18 + 19 + 20 + more traditions

Thanks for all the comments over the last couple of days. Not super worried about the moles – it’s just nice to have the prayers going out so thank you. Will let you know…

Here’s a look at Days 18, 19 and today. Really keeping it focused on the photos + words again. I love it like that – just a couple other fun things added for interest. And man, I love writing on photos and being able to use Photoshop to add journaling right onto the photos. Feeling thankful for that today.

The wreath on Day 18 above comes from Haru. I put it on the door to my office – love that it can be holiday, and also everyday (a great little celebration of paper).

And here’s the back of Day 18:

And Day 19:

Envelope came from Japan, flower from K&Company. The envelope includes the story from my post last night – printed out + folded up + placed inside. Rub ons and that cool metal thing (you can see it in the second photo below as well) along the photo is from 7gypsies, circle epoxy from Love, Elsie. The photo of the three of us was taken with a tripod and a timer in our dining room.  Fonts there are Avenir and Marketing Script.

The back of Day 19 and the start of Day 20:

Doing lots of wrapping around here. Got almost all of it done last night and breathed a sigh of relief at getting that job done.

Been listening to Mindy Smith’s My Holiday (thanks Gabby) and the soundtrack to Into the Wild (Eddie Vedder – not Christmas at all but man I love his voice). I haven’t seen the movie yet but loved the book (and Into Thin Air is also a favorite). I also really want to see Charlie Wilson’s War.

And as we get closer to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day I was hoping to gather up a collection of traditions that people do/eat/celebrate on either of those days. Ours seems to be always changing depending on where we are, what is happening, who we are with, etc. One thing is for certain: Simon will get a new pair of pj’s to open on Christmas Eve (we will all probably open one present).

What are things that simply make it Christmas for you?


  • 1.
    Linda said…

    We make a sour cream coffee cake on Christmas Eve day, and on Christmas morning add a candle and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. Love it.

  • 2.
    Sarah said…

    We read The Sweet Smell of Christmas each and every year — and have since before I was 1 year old. (1976!)
    I know it’s too late to get it from Amazon, but check it out sometime. It’s a scratch & sniff book, and it totally rocks. The book is all about the traditions of Christmas… baking pies, cutting down the tree, singing carols, the orange in the stockings, etc.
    Happy Holidays to all three of you.

  • 3.
    Ginny said…

    Our Christmas is full of tradition. We always had Christmas Eve with my husband’s family(total madhouse). My inlaws have both passed away & my “girls”(38&24) miss them so much. We decided a new Christmas Eve would be best. We have a fancy sit-down dinner with china, candles,etc with a movie to follow. My daughters & grandchildren love it. We now get together with the rest of the family the Sat. after Christmas. It was just too sad for everyone because Christmas Eve was Grandma’s favorite holiday.

  • 4.
    Stacy said…

    My kids make Christmas special. When they (4 yr old twins boy/girl) come to me and ask how will Santa find us (we are leaving for Maine on Sat). And how will Santa get into the house (my parent don’t have a fireplace). Answer to #1 – I call him Christmas Eve and will tell him where we are and we will leave the tree lights on that will blink a special code to Santa so he can find your location (my son is really into secret agent stuff). Answer to #2 – when people don’t have fireplaces, we leave a window open so he can sneak in. Then I love to see the wheels turning in their heads – WOW! Kids make Christmas simple.
    Thanks for asking the question Ali. Happy Holiday to you and yours.

  • 5.
    Addie said…

    Loving the album Ali! I received mine from your drawing and can’t wait to use it! I have an album idea I want to try for 2008.
    Merry Christmas!

  • 6.
    Cheryl said…

    Two things make it Christmas for me – the first is the candlelight Christmas eve service at church, and the second is our special, once-a-year breakfast on Christmas day – eggnog French toast with cranberry/apple topping. Sooo good!

  • 7.
    sharyn (torm) said…

    We eat pannukakku Christmas morning. ;)
    Been thinking healthy thoughts for you! Happy holidays to you and yours!

  • 8.
    Laura M said…

    Every year we take one night, put on our pajamas, make a thermos of Hot Chocolate, baggies of Christmas Cookies, Christmas songs in the CD player and jump in the van to look at the Christmas lights. This year we are going to include some friends and load up the van. We have been scouting out great light displays for weeks to show to the kids, and even have friends who call to tell us about a great display that they saw that we should include in our “tour.” Tonights the night!! Can’t wait.

  • 9.
    Laura M said…

    Every year we take one night, put on our pajamas, make a thermos of Hot Chocolate, baggies of Christmas Cookies, Christmas songs in the CD player and jump in the van to look at the Christmas lights. This year we are going to include some friends and load up the van. We have been scouting out great light displays for weeks to show to the kids, and even have friends who call to tell us about a great display that they saw that we should include in our “tour.” Tonights the night!! Can’t wait.

  • 10.
    Angela said…

    Christmas Eve for us in Sydney means walking the streets looking at the Christmas Lights.
    This year I hope to start a new tradition – Chocolate and Raspberry Gateau. I dislike Fruit Cake type things and have always missed out on a Christmas Dessert. SO this year I have rectified that by taking charge.
    I also make pikelets for breakfast if we are at home on Christmas monrning. This doesn’t always happen as we are often away from home visiting family for Christmas.
    This year we are hosting the Christams functions for both sides of our family, which I am very grateful for. My family will be able to relax more by having everyone come to us.
    We celebrate Christmas lunch – on both days it will include cold ham, turkey and roast pork, salads in various forms, crusty bread rolls, traditional puddings, fruit salad and the new Chocolate and Raspberry Gateau.
    We are having a Santa Thief Kris Kringle for the Adults. Each adult brings a gender specific present to the value of $25. Each person draws a number. Number one picks a present and opens it. Number 2 can either steal Number 1′s persent or choose from the pile. If Number 1 has her present stolen, she picks again. This continues until all presents are opened.
    That’s some of our tradtions. I had fun writing those down.

  • 11.
    annie said…

    Lovelovelove the glimpses into your season. We do the pajamas present on the night before, too. And the paper Christmas crackers that you pull open and find little gifts inside. But one tradition that we started a couple of years ago is simple and lovely. In the time between dinner and opening pajamas/hanging stockings, we get bundled up and go for a walk. Sometimes we drive to a different neighborhood but it’s peaceful and quiet and a treat to see the lights and families celebrating inside. We hold hands and talk and the kids skip along ahead. It’s bliss–the quiet in a busy day I look forward to!
    Merry, merry!

  • 12.
    Dawn said…

    It’s got to be the Evergreen Yankee candle (see I have an artificial tree) and the smell of homemade Chex Mix in the oven.

  • 13.
    Dawn said…

    It’s got to be the Evergreen Yankee candle (see I have an artificial tree) and the smell of homemade Chex Mix in the oven.

  • 14.
    jkhenson said…

    Loving the ideas of the book! The pictures are wonderful, as usual! :) We have Christmas eve tradition of church, having the in laws over to cook something unusual, then Christmas morning is here with sausage and egg casserole, frozen fruit and bunt rolls.
    Also wanted to say good luck with the moles… coincidentally, I had one removed from my back yesterday. Mine have been coming back pre-pre cancerous, so, hope this one’s fine.

  • 15.
    Ingunn said…

    Ooh, I love that soundtrack too – you should definitely see the movie, it did the book justice!
    Ingunn, aka Krakauer Superfan

  • 16.
    Alecia Angell said…

    Christmas Eve Candlelight Mass with carol singing before. Love that the children gather to bring Baby Jesus in to place him in the manger–brings tears to my eyes every year! Thank goodness for small towns too, where the parish decided that it was much more practical to have mass at 9pm instead of midnight–the children (and myself) are able to enjoy it so much more. And then, coming home and putting on new jammies of course! I am really looking forward to waking up with Delaynee on Christmas morning this year. She won’t know the significance, but I will!

  • 17.
    cris said…

    So, so many. But my favorites are:
    1. Reading the Christmas story on Christmas Eve. We actually use an old storybook (not the bible) version. It is 59 years old and has passed down through the woman in our family.
    2. Christmas Eve pizza. Seriously. As a family, we decided not to stress out about cooking during the holidays. So on Christmas Eve, someone goes on a pizza run and everyone eats it (along with soda – we don’t eat that stuff very often so it is a total treat) before reading the Xmas story.
    3. Kids have to wait until 8AM on Xmas morning (and then have to wait until every grown up is up and has a camera) to do Santa gifts. This allows the adults to get a little extra sleep in and also makes sure that no one misses out on the Xmas excitement.

  • 18.
    Tona said…

    On Christmas morning any family members available meet at my Aunt & Uncle’s house for brunch in Napa, CA. (All of my family is in CA & all of my husband’s is in MT). 7 years ago we moved to WA but this year we will be going to CA and of course won’t miss Christmas brunch!

  • 19.
    Lauren said…

    Oh, Ali, as soon as I read your question I knew I had to reply. One thing – and Simon may appreciate this too – is my son tracking Santa’s progress at It is a hoot. The other special tradition is an open house at our best friends’ home on Christmas Eve. We go to early church and then to their house, which includes driving through their neighborhood that is full of luminaries. We drink champagne, let the kids eat cookies for dinner, track Santa (of course!) and sing carols around the piano with a wonderful, eclectic group of their family and friends. I so enjoy your blog. Thanks for the inspiration. Peace.

  • 20.
    cheryl said…

    Thank you for your inspiration with each entry
    to your Blog.
    We were three for a long time…ten years before our second child was born. I remember the days of a threesome so fondly. We are now six all together and the kids range in age from 21 to 3…the thing I most highly recommend is that you have some traditions that belong within your four walls. We’ve always welcomed family and friends into our
    Christmas, but we’ve found (in 23 years of marraige) that people come and go. Your traditions will be your own, and your children will treasure them. I say this as I await the return of my firstborn from his big,busy life as a struggling NYC actor. He’ll arrive tonight, and my Christmas will begin. It is the gift I feel as though all my
    children will take away from their childhoods, a family that loved eachother well and appreciated the time together.
    You three are precious and I wish you the happiest holiday season and the healtiest of
    New Years.

  • 21.
    De Anne said…

    Hi Ali, I love your book!! Our children always open one present on Christmas Eve which is always PJ’s. Then we read “The night before Christmas” as a family. We were asking our daughters what their favorite part of Christmas is and they all said opening pajames. That made me feel really nice because it is a tradition that we have carried on for many years and the kids look forward to it.

  • 22.
    Kelly said…

    My family has always done Christmas on Christmas Eve (all presents from family get opened Christmas Eve, presents from Santa were opened on Christmas Day). It’s always been at my parents house, my Mom decided when I was a baby that she didn’t want me to have to go around from house to house to house…she would always do Christmas Eve at our house. Now that I’m grown I realize exactly how awesome that was (and still is). It’s a relaxing day, no rushing around, good food, good company…just perfect. It’s been much harder since my Grandpa passed, I’ve had a really tough time getting into the holidays since then (and it’s been 3 years) but there is something so comforting about having that routine for Christmas Eve.

  • 23.
    Kristy said…

    Christmas Omelet at my grandma’s on Christmas morning. We’ve been doing that for as long as I remember. That’s the one thing that makes it Christmas for me.

  • 24.
    Penny said…

    So love how this book is progressing. Simply love it.

  • 25.
    Jackie said…

    It isn’t Christmas in the Wood house without watching White Christmas (with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, & Rosemary Clooney) and listening to Johnny Mathis. Oh and eating homemade ginger cookies, I try a new recipe every year!
    Merry Christmas!

  • 26.
    Jolynn said…

    for us it’s the christmas pj’s on christmas eve.
    My husband is a volunteer firefighter so around the busy holidays i keep the police scanner going all the time. On christmas eve is no exception except that they have “UFO sightings”. By the end of the night it’s apparent that it’s Santa they are tracking and at 8:00 they tell the kids that it’s time to go to bed so santa will come visit them. It’s a blast to see my kids get sooo excited about it every year. They always think it’s their dad being called out on another fire so they are always keeping a open ear to the scanner.
    This year we are starting a new tradition with a big special christmas eve dinner with the nice “wine” glasses filled with sparkling grape juice and the place filled with christmas lights and candles. This years dinner is crown of lamb rib roast… CAN’T WAIT!!!!

  • 27.
    Maria Hanson said…

    We make the most delicious baked clam chowder and croissants on Christmas Eve. Then we hang out and enjoy each other until bed time when we read The Night Before Christmas.

  • 28.
    Ruthie said…

    Being a vegetarian and an expat from England, I do a nut roast with brown sauce, roast potatoes, brussels sprouts and this year I am serving REAL Christmas pudding (also called Figgy Pudding) with hot custard! My mum made the best. And scented candles all day and overseas phone calls to family does it for me. Love your album so much… working on a spinner already for next year thanks to your inspiration.

  • 29.
    Kimberly said…

    This is a tradition we do with my mother after Christmas day. Since my parents are divorced, we see my father on Christmas day and my mother on the day after Christmas. My sisters and I help our mother make homemade eggrolls that last us well into March. We wake up early in the morning and start cutting carrots, cabbage and beef and by 11 a.m. we are rolling and frying those puppies. Since I’m the oldest, I get to eat the first eggroll out of the oil. YUMMY! We usually make about 200-300 on that day, and by New Year’s we never want to see another eggroll :)

  • 30.
    Deb said…

    Definately read Luke 2 before opening any presents, one year the kids memorized it. We alsways have homemade cinnamon rolls and fruit for breakfast as we open gifts. No matter where we are I get elected to make the rolls. When the kids were little I got a new book each year, so we spent many nights by the tree reading stories. We have accumulated Christmas movies over the year that we love to watch at this time of year. Christmas caroling to older people in our church/community and taking them homemade cookies and goodies. My kids like pizza on Christmas day much better than the traditional turkey and ham – I do too, much less work for me. Love the Christmas eve carols and candles service at church.

  • 31.
    geek+nerd said…

    One of the things that absolutely has to happen for me is Chinese food from the China Palace in Rochester, New Hampshire on Christmas Eve. For as long as I can remember my mother, who is a professional cook, has forgone her usual kitchen business on Christmas Eve, for delicious, awful for you food from this little Chinese restaurant. The whole family gathers together, and when I was small I could only open one present. Now that we’re all adults we open all of our presents, except for presents in our own household. Those we save for Christmas morning.
    This is kind of a funny/sad story, but two years ago my husband and I lost our first child, very suddenly 35 weeks into a perfect pregnancy shortly before Thanksgiving. I decided to do Christmas Eve at our house, because I really needed to feel surrounded by the love of my family during that unspeakably difficult time. My brother was given the task of picking up the Chinese food and he said to me…oh I’ll just go here, it’s close to your house. I fought him on it, and he refused to go to China Palace, until I was so emotional I just blurted out “It’s JUST NOT CHRISTMAS WITHOUT FOOD FROM THE CHINA DINAH (our nickname for this place)!!!” Someone in my family, I don’t remember who, but bless them, drove 40 minutes to order the food from the China Dinah just for me, (but secretly I think that the whole family was relieved).

  • 32.
    Jude said…

    Christmas Eve traditions in our house are these; last food shopping for perishables first thing, watching Christmas movies, attend my aunties party, leave out whisky and short bread for Santa (we are Scottish Aussies), open one gift, drive around looking at the lights and decorations. After the kids are in bed; we eat the shortbread and drink the whisky, we sneak around outside jingling bells while the other person says ‘I think I can hear Santa!’ in their best ‘oh my gosh’ voice, then we chew up and spit carrot all over the lawn (those reindeer sure can make a mess), wrap any last minute gifts and arrange presents as if they have been tumbled from a sack. It’s a busy day!!!

  • 33.
    Laura in Chicago said…

    Merry Christmas,
    My boys are 20 and 23 this year but there are some traditions that have remained the same through all the years. We always start Christmas with church early on Christmas Eve, Christmas morning is stockings and Santa gifts first, then showers and a nice breakfast before we open our family presents, the last present is usually the one they want the most and they always have a treasure hunt to find it (we weren’t going to do it last year and they were both upset!!), and we usually have a birthday cake for baby Jesus and always sing happy birthday….

  • 34.

    my mom started a tradition of eating an orange on Christmas morning… her family is from Nebraska, where fresh fruit is a luxury in the winter time. Her family didn’t have much money, but they would get a fresh orange in their stockings on Christmas morning…sometimes in lieu of anything else. So, we still get an orange in our stocking, and eat it to remind ourselves to never take things for granted.

  • 35.
    Margaret C said…

    Our traditions are evolving – bit like yours – with our DD growing into toddlerhood. My only firm tradition is FAMILY. With my husband working shifts as a nurse, our time is presious and limited so our traditions will tailor to that. The unchangeables? Family trip to Edinburgh (yes, the original, Scottish one – we live an hour away!!!) to see the lights etc, a real tree and new decoration each year, and Second Christmas ( that’s the one with the rest of the family – and, yup, gifts, turkey, the works !!)

  • 36.
    tammy t said…

    Let’s see….the girls always open a present of pajammmies or a nightie on Christmas Eve. We eat appetizers or fondue and a salad that night as well. We like to find a Christmas Eve service with the candle lighting and “Silent Night.” And we have started to track Santa on Norad which has been fun! Turns out that if you call them they really answer the phone…I found that out last year!

  • 37.
    Isabel Sherwood said…

    When my daughter was a little girl, after all the days of anticipation and preparation, Christmas morning when we open Santa’s gifts seemed to go by too fast. By late afternoon there was a feeling of sadness that it was all over, so a new tradition was born. Since then, when she goes to bed that night, there is always a LITTLE gift sitting on her pillow, Santa must have found it in his sled and dropped it by on his way back to the North Pole!

  • 38.
    Kimberly White said…

    Ali! Your Christmas book is such an inspiration to me! Thanks for sharing your art and your life like you do! This year we’re starting the “Santa tradition” which is new to me and to my little boy (but not to my husband – cookies and milk left for Santa and a present under our tree from Santa for Joel to open before we head off to Grandma and Grandpa’s to open presents and have fun!) We are also having Christmas eve dinner with my husband’s family and inviting our neighbours who are here from Australia and a far way from their family (I live in Canada). So excited for Christmas! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas! Kim

  • 39.
    Nicole said…

    Christmas Eve traditions for us begin with a candlelight service, to help us keep the focus on Jesus. Then, we enjoy a dinner of our favorite appetizers coupled with champagne/sparkling juice….this is usually shrimp, clams, Mexican rolls, bacon-chestnut wraps. We then tell the Christmas story using little figurines…this will be the first Christmas that my 6-year-old daughter will be able to read the Christmas story to us…..can’t wait! We then light candles and have a birthday cake for Jesus, followed by opening new PJs for everyone and one gift for the kids. We then leave peanut butter cups and milk (our Santa likes these better than cookies!) before the kids are tucked in with visions of sugar plums….and then my husband and I usually turn off all the lights, enjoy the tree lights, and wrap gifts late into the night.

  • 40.
    Nicole said…

    And for Christmas morning, we get up REALLY EARLY, of course, and come downstairs to find the stockings stuffed with gifts. We always open the stockings first…then the kids pass out gifts and we open them one-by-one. After the gifts are open, we take a family photo by the tree, enjoy a baked egg casserole and sticky, gooey monkey bread. On Christmas Day, we like to stay in our PJ’s all day and enjoy our gifts. We listen to Christmas music, watch Christmas movies, and just enjoy being together. We have really tried to avoid traveling on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day ever since we had our children, to help them root their Christmas memories at home. We have our extended family get-togethers before/after the actual holiday.

  • 41.
    Sarah said…

    There’s an old movie theater near our house that plays It’s A Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve. My family loves going together.

  • 42.
    Cath Hall said…

    Growing up without extended family around us, we started our own traditions. My parents have a ‘orphans’ breakfast, where my dad cooks ham and eggs on the Webber (BBQ) and friends, neighbours and friends of friends drop by in the morning. When we were younger we would politely kick the guests out at 11am so that we could open our presents – now it is much more casual. People sit around, enjoy the sun (this is an Australian Christmas), the food, the company and the holiday cheer.
    When my brother and I found ourselves in England we continued the tradition. The guys set up disposable BBQs in the back yard and cooked breakfast in the snow! I have priceless photos of two Aussie men, in shorts, drinking beer and freezing while continuing the tradition!

  • 43.
    Sara said…

    I love the family picture… its beautiful. What makes it Christmas in our house? Reading the Christmas Story on Christmas Eve and making a big breakfast Christmas morning while the boys play with all the new toys.

  • 44.
    Lisette said…

    it looks great Ali. What font is ‘right now’? I’m curious.

  • 45.
    Lisa said…

    This is a small tradition, but one that is meaningful to me.
    About 15 years ago I was in the hospital with pneumonia right before Christmas. It wasn’t horribly serious or anything. I’d been to the doctor, started on antibiotics, but had gotten dehydrated and needed fluids and I also couldn’t keep my antibiotics down. I was so very surprised that the dh took time off from work the whole time I was in the hospital and stayed with me all day every day, only going home to take care of the animals and to sleep. It’s not that I was surprised that he was so very sweet to do that (he is a very good man); I just didn’t think of myself as being sick enough to rate that kind of dedication.
    Anyway, one of those nights I was there was the night they were showing “It’s a Wonderful Life” on network TV. I had never seen it before, and of course hospital life is pretty boring, so the dh climbed into bed with me and we watched it together.
    Now we look for it every year, find out when it’s going to be on TV, and cuddle up on the couch and watch it together.

  • 46.
    Lynda said…

    My Husband plays along with my whole ‘santa’ thing. We’ve been married 3 years and do not have any children yet. I leave cookies for santa and a note. The cookies are missing in the morning and a thank you note is left for me from Santa. And ALL the presents appear under the tree. I still don’t know how he does it, but it makes my heart swell, every Christmas when I see that empty plate of cookies….

  • 47.
    Paula Harrington said…

    I’m especially inspired by your December Daily album today. Lots of really great stuff! As for our family traditions… my three children (ages 5, 4 and 3 — boy, girl, boy) are very into watching the Baryshnikov version video of The Nutcracker ballet. We’ve watched it so many times this year, that I can see a tradition starting. Our Christmas dinner is not the most traditional, but Mexican food really seems to hit the spot here in the southwest. I not only LOVE and CRAVE Mexican food, I think it has such rich and pretty colors that are so beautiful for a Christmas dinner. Justified. And it happens to be one thing that I can cook (very easy)! :)

  • 48.
    leah said…

    We have tons of tradition around here. :) One of my faves is cinnamon rolls for breakfast. I’ve got a recipe that you make up the night before, they rise in the fridge over night, and then you bake them in the morning. Straight from the fridge to the oven. Ice ‘em and enjoy. Nothin’ better than a hot cinnamon roll on Christmas morning. :)

  • 49.
    melissa w said…

    I never think about Christmas Eve without thinking about Grover. My Grandmother got him for me for Christmas and I opened it on Dec 24th. It was all I wanted and after sitting in church for what seemed like forever, it was time to drive back to Grandma’s. We went home and then had to suffer through dinner. Finally we got
    to the the gifts. Sadly, none of them looked “grover” shaped. I was so sad but no one knew. I went to my gifts and ripped of the paper of the first one. I saw blue fur. It was the best feeling ever!! Now every year I try to keep that feeling of “blue fur” in my heart and remember the best Christmas ever.

  • 50.
    Jan said…

    We go to church on Christmas Eve for a candlelight service and then we come home and have cheese fondue with french bread, apples and more for dinner. We open one gift and it’s always pajamas :) The next day on Christmas morning we have our traditional Christmas breakfast of sweet rolls, oranges, juice and canadian bacon, read the Christmas story from the Bible and look through our stockings, then open gifts. It’s always a very low key time with just our family which is just what we need.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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