Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Brown Paper Packages, Tied Up With String

Christmas morning is always such a thrill.
There is nothing quite like the anticipation of what Santa may have brought you.
I think, that's why getting older gets so difficult.
A little bit of that magic dwindles and you're left to hold onto whatever you can.
This Christmas felt a little bit like Clash of the Titans.
It was Ryan vs. Me and the traditions we grew up with.
Do you know the character Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation?
One of my absolute favorite shows and characters (of course, I love Ron Swanson as well).
I have been compared to Ms. Knope in terms of my energy levels for being productive and well, loving all things festive.  My husband, on the other hand, is quite the opposite.
We had very different Christmas traditions.
I feel like Ryan had a more normal Christmas and my grandmother created a Christmas that would rival all of the Disney empire.

Now this wasn't her collection but it was about the same amount of houses, just spread all around the house. Source
Christmas Eve, we would go to a Catholic mass in my hometown and then drive over to my grandma's house for Christmas dinner.  She would always make this pistachio dessert salad that I loved and we always loved grandma's house because Santa would always visit it the night before to drop off our presents.  It was like they had some type of deal set up ;) awesome kids = tons of presents or that's at least how we liked to think about it.

My grandma's house was fully decorated with a Christmas village collection that went all over the house. She even had this snow castle that looked like a Disney castle decorated in ice and she had all the little details, including people, skating ponds, a train, lights, etc. It always felt like Christmas over at her house.  After dinner, we would all gather around and wait for permission to check the living room to see what Santa got us.  Now as soon as we rounded the corner from the kitchen, the living room was filled with presents.  I'm not exaggerating because the grandkids would get sections of the living room dedicated to presents.  We were so spoiled but it truly made Christmas so magical because it was just surreal. 
My favorite Christmas was the year I got my American Girl Doll, Samantha.  As we rounded the corner from my grandma's kitchen, all of a sudden I saw two American Girl dolls displayed, one for me and one for my cousin.  I started to scream with excitement.  I had been receiving the American Girls catalog for years and so badly wanted the doll, Samantha.  I had put her on so many of my wishlists and I finally got her.  When I think of that level of excitement and how awesome that felt being a little kid in all of the wonder of Christmas- that's how I picture the holidays.  It's just sheer joy and being with family.
When Ryan ended his Marine Corps contract, it conveniently fell right before our first Christmas together.  Now, we've been married for almost two years, however, this is our first together being married and physically in the same house.  Last year he was deployed to Afghanistan and I was in Wisconsin.  This year, we spent it in Central Coast California.  The holidays this year were definitely a change from what we were both used to.  Last year consisted of sending a ton of care packages Ryan's way to help him think of home.  This year there was no snow and unfortunately we couldn't fly back home to Wisconsin.

I was kind of in a funk.

I had my husband, my puppy and a lot of love from Wisconsin, but it didn't "feel" like Christmas. 
I did the usual, put up a Christmas tree, made a tree skirt, attempted to crochet stockings (I made one HUGE one), tried to make Christmas cookies but they didn't turn out right...schtuff just wasn't working out.  It felt different this year and my husband made many attempts in explaining to me that it's all part of growing up but is that really the case?  If this is growing up and not enjoying the magic of Christmas, as childish as that may be, well then this is just terrible.  I honestly don't think it's part of losing the magic of Christmas, I think it's all in adjusting.  Being in the military, you're most likely not going to be anywhere near your family.  Nevertheless, our families sent us boxes filled with presents and Christmas joy.  We received so many cards this year from all over the country and from so many friends.  Skyping on Christmas wasn't as good as being there in person, but it was wonderful seeing how big my "little" brother has grown.  He's way taller than me- something I'm still not used to.  I don't think I could ever let the magic and wonder of Christmas die down, I think I just need to be a little easier on myself.  Not everything is going to turn out perfectly but as long as I have my fambam with me, life is good.

However, no matter if I'm in a "grinchy" mood or not, I still love giving presents!
So here is what my lovely beau received from me this year:

So as you can see, most of them are DVDs- yay for stay-at-home, movie date nights! Option two is the best smelling soap for men in a gun mold for my gun aficionado.  Option three was not exactly as pictured, but I made Ryan a shadowbox of his ribbons and medals. It was really simple to put together and painted all black to showcase his awards.  It looks wonderful on our mantle.  Option six is a book from Blurb that featured all of my adventures while Ryan was deployed.  It was really easy to make and they retrieved photos from my Instagram to make it.  Last was a backpack for my soon-to-be college student aka husby!

Thanks for reading and I hope you're enjoying your post-Christmas Day!


  1. I think it's all about making traditions for your own family. Incorporate some of yours and some of his. You'll get an even better Christmas :)

    1. That's what we were thinking for this year. We decided to open gifts on Christmas Eve and Skyped with our families on Christmas Day. I think next year we're going to try to make it home to be everyone since we're from the same hometown :)

  2. I had Samantha as a child, too!! I got it for my birthday =) I can't wait to get my daughter one, once she's old enough! Too cute.