Favorite Holiday Moments 2021

I hope everyone had a great Christmas!!! I did. πŸ™‚

It always goes by so fast!! I do feel a little sense of relief when all the hustle is over, but also a bit of sadness that the excitement and fun is over, too.

Instead of a full play by play, I want to share some of my favorite “moments” from this Christmas season.

  • A few days before Christmas Ivan and I went out to his friend’s Mexican restaurant (the place with the nachos). It’s located downtown, near a big university campus, but school was out already for the semester. The place was 100% empty, except us. They have a big, beautifully decorated Christmas tree (with a sombrero on top) with brightly colored twinkle lights. We sat at the bar and ate and talked, and they had Christmas music playing- in Spanish, mariachi style. It was so fun!! Something about hearing Jingle Bells and other holiday favorites in a spicy Latin beat was just really festive. πŸ™‚ It was a nice holiday moment for me.
  • The night Ethan and I went out shopping, we stopped at a local outdoor strip mall (all very nicely decorated, with a big tree in the center court). They had piped in music outside and were playing this slow, very pretty version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” (one of my favorites). Ethan and I both looked around at all the lights, the music, etc. and said, “This feels like we’re in a movie!” πŸ™‚ Another really nice moment. Brief, random- yet one that will stick with me.
  • My afternoon wrapping presents + watching Serendipity was very enjoyable.
  • Hallmark movies on my TV almost non-stop for the few days leading up to Christmas.
Who doesn’t love Lacey Chabert?
  • Baking cookies with the boys always feels special. Every moment isn’t always perfect, and they tend to lose interest eventually. But it just feels like one of those things they will be happy to look back on one day. “Remember when we always used to bake cookies with Mom before Christmas?”
Our decorating skills are pretty crappy. Oh well. It’s the taste that counts. πŸ˜‰
  • Finally getting to check off a couple classic Christmas favorites. On the 25th we watched Miracle on 34th Street, the original, in black and white. Such a great show! Then on the 26th we watched It’s a Wonderful Life. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that movie. We all do, in my family. Something about the whole time period makes me nostalgic for a time I never even lived, first of all. Then, of course, just the message is spectacular. A+++. We watch this one every year.
My mom took this one during Miracle on 34th St. The boys have seen it before, so they half watched, half played with new Legos/ paper airplane kit.
  • An unexpected gift that made me smile was a little “Maine” package from my Mom. Obviously, she bought this stuff in secret while on our trip in August, but it was fun to unwrap and think of our vacation. And the can of Clam Chowder made me laugh- if you read my trip reports, you’ll know I ate like 20 bowls of clam chowder during our time in Maine.
clam chowder, an adorable hot pad trivet, a lobster ornament from the Maine Maritime Museum we visited and a VERY cool coaster (looks perfect on the little side table in my sunroom) from Acadia National Park.
  • A moment that seriously cracked me up was when my Mom opened a gift (from my “Dad”, but actually something she had bought herself). It was a sweater. But I was so confused, because when she opened it, it was the same sweater I had bought for her! So I said, “Oh, that one is from me.” (Thinking she had misread the tag and actually opened one from me). And she replied, “No….What do you mean? I bought this for myself!” We were all very confused. So then she dug around in her present pile, found the one labeled from me, and opened that one. SAME SWEATER!! Hahaha!!! I was very relieved to know that I apparently NAILED my choice in sweaters for her! What are the odds I would pick out the exact same sweater she picked out for herself? So funny and ironic!! πŸ™‚ I guess I know her well. πŸ˜‰
double sweaters!
  • Something else that made us all laugh repeatedly all weekend was this little gag gift my Mom bought for my Dad. Brief back story- my Dad is an extremely talented handyman. He can build, fix, create whatever you want. He’s quite amazing. But, with one caveat. He is very meticulous, careful and detailed…..aka…SLOW. It’s kind of a running joke in my family that if you want it done well, have my Dad do it. If you want it done quickly, get someone else. πŸ˜‰ So my mom picked this up from Hobby Lobby for his workroom at home:
Caution: SLOW man at work πŸ˜‚

It’s literally perfection!! TOO funny!

  • Opening this gift from Ivan….

Yep, that’s a Lululemon bag! I FINALLY am the owner of a pair of Lululemon leggings, after saying I wanted to try them for like, 3 years now. Bonus points to Ivan for figuring out the style, size, etc. on his own! He even went to the Lulu store in person and talked to the sales girl for tips. πŸ™‚

  • Playing a piano duet with Ethan of “Angels We Have Heard on High” is WAY up there as a favorite memory. It’s a beautiful arrangement, and playing with him like that was just really special to me.
  • Ethan’s facial expression on Christmas morning was PRICELESS….his main “Santa” gift was his first real iphone, with data and a phone number and everything. Obviously, VERY exciting for a 13 year old boy. I took a video (this is a screenshot), but his mouth literally dropped open in surprise. It was classic!
  • Multiple “snack meals” around the bar. This is one of my favorite things to do around the holidays, and probably the main time all year that we really even use our bar!!! (Why we don’t use it MORE often, I don’t know! Goal for 2022??) It’s just so festive down there and I really enjoy the whole experience.
We do Christmas Eve in the basement, Christmas morning upstairs.
Treats, cheese/ cracker platters, shrimp, meatballs, cheesy potatoes, chips and pico de gallo, chicken tinga tostadas….we had food for days. Glad I captured this shot of Ivan pouring an IPA, too, because that was also a common theme of the weekend. πŸ˜‰
Our little basement tree!! Nothing too special but still cute. πŸ™‚ My sister and I bought this when we lived together in an apartment while I was in nursing school and she was in law school. I like the memories associated with it, so I never want to replace it! (Also, it’s oddly positioned in front of the TV, yes. But we don’t have another good space for it down there. And that TV really only gets used when someone is on the treadmill….which is not too often during the holidays, TBH…. 😬)

I think I’ll stop there! Those are some of my favorite moments I can think of- but there were SO many. I just love Christmastime!! I’m a big fan of traditions (hence why we never travel over the holidays). Ivan does want to spend a Christmas in Mexico sometime, so we will probably do that some year before the boys leave home. (I know it will be VERY VERY different). These are some of my most cherished memories though!

Hope you had a Christmas full of memory making, too. πŸ™‚

Daily Gratitude:

I am just really grateful for another Christmas with my family.

Bonus pic: Asher modeling his new swim team hat. I just think he looks cute. πŸ™‚

6 thoughts on “Favorite Holiday Moments 2021”

  1. Ethan’s face when opening the phone is priceless! How exciting for him! And too funny about getting your mom the same sweater. I love that she buys her own gifts and then wraps them!! Ha! I am very impressed that Ivan did so much research to find the right leggings for you. I hope you like them! I had Wunder unders years ago but I did not like them as they always seemed to roll down when I was wearing them! But I think I just bought the wrong style for running.

    I love Christmas but am also very happy it’s behind us. I think I will enjoy Christmas more when our kids are a bit older. Right now we are in a really tiring stage of life and someone is always sick so I just feel soooo worn out. I know it will get better in a few years. Paul was really excited for Christmas so that was cute to see, but he got so many presents that he kind of doesn’t remember what he got!


  2. love love this recap. so many sweet moments. I like the most the same sweater moment, what are the chances. but something similar happened to me. Hubby and I bought gifts for the girls separately without checking with each other. one day he told he brought a night lamp for the the girls that play song and has different color lamps. I said no way, me too. not exactly the same but close enough. it just shows how similar we are in term of taste and knowledge about our girls, so special. and big kudos to Ivan in getting you Lululemon. which style did you get? I can’t wait to hear what you think of it.


  3. What a lovely Christmas summary post. It sounds like such a wonderful family holiday with lots of special memories. I love when things stand out (even in the moment) as something that will last forever in family tradition/story-telling, and it sounds like you had multiple moments like that. I had to laugh when you mentioned getting your Mom the same sweater. One year for Valentine’s Day, John and I each allocated 2 hours in the kitchen per person to prepare something special and then presented our creations – WE BOTH baked chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting (which neither of us had ever done before).

    Hope you can ride the festive vibes a bit longer. Now I’m off to read your planning post – definitely need some inspiration!


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