“I’ll Be Home For Christmas…”

This year we only had to travel a little over an hour up the road to be with our families for Christmas. Can I just say how awesome that was. It definitely beats 15 hours in the car with a toddler and dog and paying for gas, food, and hotel.

Although tons of photos were not taken (bummer), a few were, and I thought I would share some of those with you.

Santa definitely found Harrison.

Reading Christmas cards from our stocking. It's an annual tradition to open stocking gifts first.


Truman didn't get left out. He also made out with another toy and some homemade dog treats.

Harrison trying on his new cape. It came with a mask, too, but he's not so sure about that yet.

Waiting for the next gift.

Getting help opening my gift from Harrison.

We had a great Christmas celebrating with family and friends. I realized after the holidays had come and gone that we did not take nearly enough photos, and while many pictures were taken of Harrison, we need to do a better job of getting photos of our entire family and other relatives.

Christmas Cheer

With a lot more space in our new house, and Harrison being a year older (i.e., very into Christmas), I decided we needed to do some more decorating around the house. It’s hard not to get excited this time of year; especially, when you have a child, about putting up a tree, hanging lights inside and out, and adding little signs that Christmas is coming in every room. You can read about our new Christmas tradition here.

In addition to my usual slew of Christmas decorations (see last year’s post here), I changed some things up and added some other decorations. Some of it was out of necessity (more rooms) and some because it’s nice to change it up. I did run into a few problems. For example, we didn’t have room in our last dining room to have to leaf in our table, so 4 place settings was enough. Now, we have the table leaf in, and I don’t have anything to go  in 2 extra spots.

Other changes were much welcome. We decided to go back to a real tree this year. We’ve had a fake tree for the past several years because we lived in North Carolina and always came home for over a week (i.e., the tree would get really dry, and we were really worried it would be a fire hazard). This year, we enjoyed taking Harrison to a tree lot to pick out a nice 7 1/2 – footer to put in the living room. I must say, I love the look and smell of it. We donated our other tree to my brother and his fiancée this Christmas.

With another living space upstairs, I had another room to decorate. That’s where we hung Harrison’s ornament bags, and I made a light decoration to hang around the big window. This was my inspiration:

I just used leftover scrapbook paper I had from several years ago and made mine Christmas-themed. Here’s how they look upstairs: No picture, because even though I wrote this draft before Christmas, I didn’t take pictures and then we took decorations down. 

Unfortunately, we don’t have a front porch on this house, so that meant no lighted-garland on the porch railing. David did hang some around the door and put some lights on the bushes. I’m hoping to score some deals right after Christmas on lights so we can buy some more for next year. All in all, I think it looks good, though.

So, what have you been doing to bring Christmas cheer to your house (if you celebrate)?

We’ve also been DIY’ing some Christmas gifts around here. I’ll post on that later. 

Image for paper cup lights found here

A New Tradition

I saw this: 

And I decided to do this:

I made some modifications, obviously. I wanted to use items I already had on hand for this project, and I didn’t feel like searching for cloth bags and fabric paint. I also didn’t hang ours from the mantle, as we already had that decorated and our stockings hung. I liked the idea of hanging this upstairs so Harrison could come out of his room each morning and take a bag.

So, what is it, exactly? Well, I don’t like to call it an Advent calendar, because that’s not what it is despite all the misconceptions about Advent calendars. This is really a Christmas “calendar”. I put an ornament in each bag (appropriate for Harrison), and hung them on a paper Christmas garland I purchased from Target for $3. Only 9 bags fit at a time since I didn’t use a longer garland, but that’s fine. I will switch them out after day 9. I also decided that day 25 will have a new ornament. We have a tradition on my side of the family to gift an ornament on Christmas. I found a John Deere tractor ornament at Hallmark. Harrison is really into all types of vehicles, and he loves tractors!  I’m still not sure how we’ll do the last few, though, because we plan on being with family the few days before Christmas.

Harrison is enjoying the ornaments so far, and he loves picking a place on the tree for them. Mommy is being very good about letting him choose anyplace he wants and not encouraging him to pick other spots, even if it leaves the tree a bit off-balance. Here are a few pictures from our first day.

Trying to find "1"

"What's in here?"

A "first Christmas" ornament

I am excited to start this tradition with Harrison, and I can’t wait to continue it over the years with him and future children. Anyone else have Christmas traditions from over the years or ones they started this year?

Advent bag image found here.

Feeling a bit ornamental

Okay, so maybe that was a stretch (“ornamental” instead of  “sentimental”). I’m trying to get creative with the titles, but maybe it’s not working out. I wanted to post about the holiday season over here at the Bunge household since most none of our family will be able to personally view our house or smell the goodies baking. The creative and decorative juices were flowing this year, folks.  I used everything from recycled San Pellegrino bottles leftover from Harrison’s birthday party (you know for those babies with an acquired taste for water) and seasonal beer bottles,  to pine cones and blankets. Multifunctional was the name of the game, and so was budget. So, while I had a gift card to Michael’s left over from my birthday in July, I still got great deals on what I did buy thanks to holiday sales and coupons. The biggest splurge was the blanket-turned-Christmas tree skirt ($20) that I bought from Target. More about that later. We’ll start at the front door and work our way around and through the house.


“Deck the halls” didn’t make the list, but here’s a little breakdown of some of my favorite holiday/Christmas songs. A “Top 6”, if you will. These aren’t in any particular order. Oh, and I don’t really think you can go wrong with Andy Williams or Charlie Brown Vince Guaraldi.

1.) Happy Holiday/The Holiday Season – Andy Williams

2.) Sleigh Ride – Andy Williams (yep, he made it on here twice. I love the instruments, background vocals, and overall feel of this song)

3.) Holly Jolly Christmas – Burl Ives

4.) Santa Claus is Coming to Town – Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band

5.) A Charlie Brown Christmas – The entire album. This just sings? plays? Christmas time to me.

6.) The Christmas Song/Merry Christmas – Nat King Cole

Here are a few “honorable mentions”.  Even though it didn’t make the top of my list, I do enjoy Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas is You”. Her new song, “Oh, Santa”,  may beat it simply because it’s more dance-able and it got Harrison shaking his groove thang. “Toy Jackpot” by Blackalicious has me pumped for Christmas, too. You can catch it on a Target commercial and download it for free here.

For the sake of putting it out there, there are a few that I do NOT like. I don’t know that there’s 5, but there are at least 4 I can think of. And they don’t get the holiday color treatment, either.

1.) Last Christmas – Wham! (or Glee cast for that matter. Sorry guys. Not this time.)

2.) Same Old Lang Syne – Dan Fogelberg

3.) Grandma Got Ran Over By A Reindeer – Elmo & Patsy

4.) Mary Did You Know – Kenny Rogers and Wynonna (love the lyrics, not the actual song)

So, what about you? Do you like/hate dislike the same songs? Are there “musts” on your Christmas playlist that aren’t on mine? Do you vehemently disagree with me on one/some/all of these? Oh, and I consider this separate from Christmas songs you hear at Church.  I was going a different route with my list.