Last weekend on Saturday I took Swede to a gingerbread house event at church. We decorated a little A-frame graham cracker cabin and a frosted sugar cone tree. It was really fun - Swede kept telling me "This is so fun!" - and really well organized and low-key. Also on Saturday we helped my parents decorate their Christmas tree and baked molasses sugar cookies (which are my #1 favorite holiday cookie).
On Sunday I took Swede to The Nutcracker for the first time. I thought she might be too young and was prepared to leave early but she loved it! I love the ballet and have seen The Nutcracker many times over the years. It's not my favorite ballet (Swan Lake!) but it feels like a holiday tradition and I really enjoyed sharing it with Swede. We have been reading the story at bedtime for the past couple weeks which I think was helpful as she knew what was going on. In the photo below we have a very serious Swede at the concert hall before the ballet started. The dress she's wearing was handmade by my grandma for my mom and I also wore it when I was little.
Speaking of my grandma, this is the first Christmas since she passed away at the start of 2017. I have been thinking about her frequently lately especially when decorating the Christmas tree as so many ornaments were gifts from her over the years. We hadn't spent the holidays together in a while but I have so many fond memories of Christmas at my grandparents' house all the years that I was growing up in Southern California. Here are the ornaments that she gave to me when I was one year old (left) and to Swede when she was one year old (right).
I have been enjoying another month of the Live Your Best [Holiday] Life challenge. Some of the prompts I've done so far are having (several) hot chocolate dates with Swede, starting a new holiday tradition with our first REAL Christmas tree, having a gift wrapping party (just me and Elf on Friday night but it still counts!), making the gingerbread house, and my impulse buy was a $5 holiday mug from the grocery store. We've also been reading all the books and singing all the songs and wearing festive attire whenever possible! There have definitely been a few holiday melt-downs but overall I feel like we've been finding a good balance.
That's all! How is the holiday season going for you so far?