First House Christmas Decorations

Christmas is hands down, my favorite holiday and time of year. The meaning behind Christmas, traditions, decor, gift giving and of course, Christmas cookies, are just a few reasons why I love it.

Last year, I was so sad because we were in temporary housing and all of our Christmas decor was put in storage, so we didn’t have a very spirited holiday in our apartment. This year, however, we have a whole house to decorate!

As I said a few years ago, real trees are my personal favorite, but Kevin grew up with fake trees. In our apartment in Des Moines, we couldn’t have a real tree so I was really banking on having a real tree this year and for years to come. But marriage is all about compromise right? So we compromised this year. We decided to get a fake tree to last us for a few years, and when we have children, we’ll start a tradition of going out and cutting down a real tree together as a family. Part of the reason for this compromise was to save money (1 fake tree/a bunch of years = cheaper than 1 real tree each year), and seeing the front page of the Home Depot Black Friday ad sealed the compromise for us. We had a 6′ pre-lit tree that I found for $30 on Black Friday two years ago, but in our two-story living room it looked so dinky and we definitely wanted to upgrade. Home Depot had a 7.5′ pre-lit Martha Stewart tree that changes from white lights to color with the flip of the switch. I don’t think I could have found a better tree, and for $69 (regularly $199)? SOLD! This was why I was in line at Home Depot at 4:30 a.m. and I grabbed one of the last ones. Worth it.

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I spy already-wrapped presents! I wonder who they’re for…

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We currently have the white lights on, but with the flip of a switch we can change it to color. We’ve been alternating each day. I like them both!

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Some of our favorite ornaments this year are new to us!

The one below contains our wedding invitation! My good friend Julia gave it to us as a wedding gift.

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This was one of our only souvenirs we got from Disney World. We got one last year that we put on my parent’s tree (we need to get it back from them!), so I think we’ll make it a tradition to grab an ornament each time we go to Disney World so we can remember the years we went. (It has the year on top of the ring.)

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This Valpo ornament is an old one, but it’s front and center. Valpo love!

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This one we got for Christmas last year and I think it’s adorable for some reason.

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There are many, many more favorites! Most of which are hand-me-down ornaments from mine and Kevin’s childhood (think: Disney ornaments galore for me, and soccer ornaments everywhere for Kevin), and I know our collection will get better as we add to it each year.

This year is also our first year with real stockings for our house! My grandma embroidered them and gave them to us last year for Christmas. I was so excited to get them hung! (Yep – Grace’s stocking is in the middle.)

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We put up a couple other decorations around the house, like these pine cones in a cute little basket on our kitchen table. (I made these (real) pine cones out of a little bit of glue and Epson salt!)

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I also added a bit of sparkle to the bar.

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The outside of our house isn’t quite done, but it’s getting there! We have a few more things to do still, and then I’ll post some photos of it.

Today, we hit 70 degrees. WOW! We took advantage and went for a nice long walk with Gracie this evening. We’re supposed to get terrible snow/ice soon (as is most of the Midwest apparently), so stay warm and safe everyone!

Tell me: real tree or fake tree in your household?

Gerbers (Not Like the Baby Food)

Dinner

Dinner was delicious tonight! I made one of my family favorites and it turned out perfectly. I don’t know why we call them Gerbers, but we do and no, it’s not like the baby food!

It’s probably the easiest dinner you’ll ever make. It requires lunch meat (whatever you like!), cheese (whatever you like, but we highly recommend provolone cheese), french bread and butter.

Cut the bread, butter the bread and assemble (told you it was easy).

Turkey for her, ham for him

Pop these babies in the oven at 350 degrees for 12 minutes or so. My dad puts foil over them if the bread is really thick – good thing to remember!

We eat them open-faced and until just now, I didn’t realize this is all we do to them. Next time, I’m going to put banana peppers or jalapenos on mine! Of course, you can add whatever you like. 🙂

Tree 

When I got home from work today, we had four, FOUR, packages waiting!

Mail, mail, mail - I love mail!

Two packages were Christmas presents I ordered online and one was a package from my grandma and grandpa! (I’m 22 and still get care packages…so?) My grandparents sent us three adorable Christmas ornaments to put on our tree!

I looooove pickles (weird, I know) so I thought the pickle ornament was hilarious! I also love the Blues Santa and Valparaiso University ornaments. How thoughtful of them!

(The fourth package is my first set of cookies from The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap! I’ll write more once I get the other blogger’s cookies in the mail this week. :))

I thought I’d share more of our apartment Christmas decorations and ornaments since I’m so excited about them!

Our table (almost everything on this table is hand-me-down decorations. Thanks, family!)

(Please mind the Target bag in the background – unwrapped Christmas presents!)

DYI Christmas card holder (I LOVE getting Christmas cards. Please send them to me! I’ll give you my address!), an advent calendar, stockings (you can sort of see them) and another table full of decorations.

Those wine bottles look familiar? Pinterest is a wonderful place, friends.

And now for a few of our favorite ornaments:

World Series Champ ornament! Love!

Winnie the Pooh! It moves and makes music, too!

Harry Potter!

How freaking cute is Kevin as a six-year-old?

Ice Skates

The ice skates ornament might be my absolute favorite ornament. My whole family has a pair of ice skate ornaments – I can’t believe my mom let me keep these when she brought up decorations for us!

These presents may or may not be empty boxes.

Well, that’s all for our decorations! I’m off to watch tonight’s new episode of Gossip Girl (I may have a problem)!