Festive Friday (& A Brooks Giveaway!)

Happy Friday, friends!  We are cruising into winter break today, and we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of family from out of town.  It took me a little while to ease into the Christmas spirit when we came back from Thanksgiving, but now it is in full swing here at our house!

Every year I show you pictures of our holiday decorations, and every year it is the exact same thing – our tree, our hurricane vases full of ornaments, our advent calendar – yaaaawn.  This year I’m just showing you what’s new in our house, and some things we did a bit differently. 

The mantle is a big focal point of our downstairs, and I think it looks so beautiful this year!  Mom made us this gorgeous wreath, and it totally completes the scene. 

2016-12-13 003 (425x640)

I also got these cheap, simple white lit trees from Target, and I love the bit of extra light they add to the mantle.  I love anything that twinkles. 

2016-12-13 006 (426x640)

Another fun new add this year – I got simple gold frames (also from Target) for all of our annual holiday cards.  We’ve been doing them since 2012 and I have always saved a few extras. 

2016-12-13 007 (640x427)

This is one of my favorite spots in the house right now.  I LOVE seeing the pictures of the kiddos when they were so little, and remembering all our past holidays.

2016-12-13 010 (640x427)

2016-12-13 011 (640x427)

Nothing new for the tree this year, but I did get Indy a big fluffy dog bed from Costco, and he loves sitting by the tree (ok, and the heating vent). 

2016-12-13 012 (640x426)

This is the view from the corner of our couch, and it’s my favorite seat in the house right now.  I love that I can see the dog, the tree, the garland, and the mistletoe all in one space – so cozy. 

2016-12-13 017 (640x427)

On our front hall table, I have this bowl of cards from years past – an idea I stole from my friend Katie.  I had stacks of saved cards from every year (since 2003! Amazing!) and I grouped them all into years and used binder rings to keep each one together.  It is so fun to look back and see all our friends and family, and see how much everyone has changed!  I love getting cards and I hate throwing them away, and now I’m so glad I didn’t.

2016-12-13 023 (640x427)

The kids got some cute reindeer placemats from Crate and Barrel this year – an impulse buy when I was returning something at the store.  They are super easy to clean and the boys love them, and now the kitchen has a bit of holiday cheer. 

2016-12-13 026 (640x427)

Another idea I stole from my friend Katie – the holiday book basket!  I took all our Christmas books and set them up together in a little basket on our playroom shelves.  The boys love picking one out each morning to read before school.  I plan to add a few more to the basket each year (and retire the ones they have outgrown as needed). 

IMG_5771 (640x427)

We bought this little pre-lit tree at Target last year for the playroom, and the kids put all their homemade ornaments on top.  They also added a train track around the bottom and set up their holiday Thomas trains – so adorable. 

2016-12-13 032 (427x640)

We are doing our Advent calendar as always, but have been a lot more low key about it than in previous years.  I want this time of year to feel relaxing and fun, and not over-scheduled and stressful.  We might not make it to every holiday event, but we are still doing our favorites.  We checked out Zoolights on a chilly Monday night and practically had the place to ourselves!

blog1

And we were lucky enough to have a real SNOW DAY here in Seattle, which almost never happens.  The boys woke up to a winter wonderland last Friday, and we had a full morning of snowballs and hot chocolate and red noses.  I sure hope we get more snow this season. 

blog2

I know many of you live in truly cold places, but it has been unseasonable cold for Seattle so far this year.  I even had to bust out Indy’s old doggie coat from our Ohio days this week, for a chilly walk in 20 degree temps.  Soooo thankful that Casey gave me my Christmas present early this year – a super warm winter coat!

blog3

And speaking of surviving winter outside this year, before I go I have a fun giveaway for you guys from my friends at Brooks!  For all the winter runners and joggers out here, this is the ultimate stocking stuffer giveaway.  One lucky winner will receive:

Brooks Collage

To enter, leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite thing about the holiday season!  Winner will be chosen and announced on Monday (12/19).  Have a great weekend and HAPPY FRIDAY!

blog4