Sunday, December 5, 2010

Enjoying the Holidays: Session 2

First off... i want you to quickly OPEN THIS IN A NEW TAB and view each card and VOTE, but it would make me so happy if that vote was for my Holiday Card {#5. From Here To Eternity}  Thank you!

Now back to our scheduled program...

To finish off my Enjoying the Holiday series, I asked five other beautiful bloggy women the same questions I asked Day 1's beautiful bloggy women!  And these are their answers, so sip your cup of coffee and enjoy!

Ashley from Ramblings and Photos
Amy from A Good Life
Naoimi from The ~L~ Family
Chelsea from The Paper Mama
Mandy from She Breathes Deeply

1. What is your favorite Holiday Tradition?

AshleyWe've only been married for a little over a year, so we are still in the process of creating our own traditions. However, with that said, my friends have been getting together the Sunday before Thanksgiving for the past seven years. We call it Thanksgiving Extravaganza. Each person brings at least one dish and we use the time to celebrate the year and enjoy being together. 

Amy:  oh man, ummm... is eating lots & lots of good food a tradition?  yes?  then that.  i love the tastes, the smells, & the sights of this season.  the egg nog, the peppermint bark, the hot chocolate, the smell of christmas tree in my house every time i walk in the door, the cinnamon spice candles burning in my house, the crisp air & all the sparkly lights around the neighborhood.  i love it all.

NaomiMy favorite tradition is definitely going out as a family and picking out the Christmas tree. Then breaking out hot tea and cocoa, listening to Christmas music and decorating the house and tree--just love it! I also like to designate a day and spend all day baking cookies--my little one really loves to help so it's definitely a tradition I would like to continue. 

ChelseaI have so many that I love. I guess at this moment my favorite holiday tradition is one that Mike and I have started. For the past three years we have gone to a year round Christmas tree farm/shop out in the country the first weekend in December. We pick out one ornament that best represents our year. The first ornament was a ring (for our engagement), the second was a married ornament (because we got married that year), and last years was a frame that has a photo of me pregnant in it. 

This year I'm not sure what we're going for. But, we're going to let Ruari pick out her own ornament. Yes, we're really going to let her pick it out (as long as it's not too expensive). Then we'll visit the Santa, and take photos next to the trees... we don't buy our tree there because they are SO spendy. We just pretend!!! :D

Mandy:  As silly as this sounds- one of my favorite holiday traditions is gift wrapping. I am some what of a procrastinator, so I am usually in a mad rush to finish up wrapping gifts ten minutes before the family opens them on Christmas Eve. I love to give gifts and it makes me so happy to wrap them and think about the face that will open them!  :)

{2.} What is one money saving tip you live by during the Holiday Season?

AshleyI'm probably the worst person to ask about saving money during the holiday season because I love calculating "opportunity cost." Rather than get up early on Black Friday, I'm looking for deals all year long. If I see something at a great deal, I buy it. I believe that Black Friday is a rip off. The same or better deals can be found the weeks following and online - even better...most stores will offer free shipping so I never have to get out in traffic to make a purchase. 

Amy:  i try to find a simple craft or other homemade item i can gift everyone... my sisters, parents, in-laws, & friends.  something meaningful & from the heart, but also kind to the pocketbook.  in the past, we've done things like little block snowmen decorations, date-night baskets {hot chocolate, mugs, a movie, pop corn, & a popcorn bowl}, or enlarged & framed a photograph that was loved by that person.  but um, no idea what we're doing this year. 

Naomi:  I have a few tips! One money saving tip would be searching the internet and paper for coupons!  I do a lot of online ordering and I found this great website that has coupon codes etc....very helpful at times! Website is: Also, I love to sew so as of last year, I started making as many handmade gifts as I could. Now, I don't necessarily have the time this year so I've been doing a lot of Etsy ( shopping--so much to discover! So many great handmade gifts and I love the idea that you are supporting someone local etc..One last money saving tip--I have my little boy make the wrapping paper so if you have kids this is a great project! I bought a large roll of red art paper (you could use paper bags too) and we used some paint and sponges (shaped like stars and Christmas trees) and made some pretty cute wrapping paper. Of course, the grandparents loved this! :) 

ChelseaAs far as buying gifts: buy early, handmade, and on sale. 
Decoration: try making you own!

MandyI love handmade gifts. I think that they are so much more meaningful. Not  only are they special, but typically they are less expensive. For instance- I took up knitting this year, and I love knitting new creations for my family and friends.  It definitely takes a lot of time and effort, and I think that it shows how much you care when you put so much time and thought into a gift... And it's a lot easier on your wallet.

{3.} What is something you learned from the last Holiday Season that is changing your approach to this Season?  (can be something as simple as shopping earlier this year, to something more personal, its up to you)

AshleyI've learned not to stress out too much. I've also learned to let my husband shop for his family and me for my family - we have differences in how we shop for our rather than try to change his approach, I've learned to just let it be. Ideally, we could forget about the presents and just enjoy the real meaning of Christmas!

Amy:  this year i am really trying to enjoy the season & not get stressed out.  it just goes too fast.  there's always this huge anticipation up til christmas day & then it's just over.  i want to enjoy every single minute of it, & try to do something fun & celebratory every day.  i'm also trying to take way more pictures this year.  i really want to remember parker's first christmas.  last year i didn't take a single picture & had to think hard about where we even spent christmas!  sad, right?  that won't happen this year... it's an extra special one :)

Naomi:  Every year, I am reminded (since we had our little boy) that it is really hard to juggle which side of the family we are going to spend time with and when for the holidays.  We have 3 different cities I would love to be in at Christmas and with my work schedule it makes it really difficult! This year I've realized that it is becoming more important that we, as a family, really need to start our own traditions as well.  So long story short, we really need to start planning ahead for our Christmas plans so we can spend time with all of our families as well as our own little family. I'd better start thinking about that now! : ) 

ChelseaWell, after almost dying during Ruari's birth I look at things differently. The things that were important to me before (like buying the best gifts, buying the coolest decor) don't really matter too much to me anymore.  I've donated a lot of my possessions. I plan to go through a lot of my Christmas decor and donate it too. Unless there's some emotional attachment, it's going bye bye.  Almost like a fresh start.

MandyI would love to say that I learned to shop earlier this year, compared to last year... But unfortunately that's not the case.  We are expecting our first baby in March, and I am about to start my third trimester, so I am wiped out tired all the time! Next year I plan on shopping all year round and storing up gifts to beat the mad Christmas rush.

{4.} What, if anything, does this time of year mean to you?

AshleyBeing with family and remember Jesus' birth. Speaking of which, I need to find out when our church is having their Christmas special!

Amy:  oh it means so much.  it's the time to really focus on family & count all your blessings.  to be grateful & giving, to serve others, & focus on things that really matter.  and hopefully you get some cool fun new things too.  ha.  oh yeah, & it's the time of year when you don't worry about your waistline & you get to indulge in the tastes of the season.  another mention of food?  you would think i'm hungry but i'm not, i just had lunch.

Naomi:  This time of year means so many things to, joy, giving, peace, wonderment, happiness.... This time of year just makes me so happy--the time with family, the joy and laughter, the spirit of giving--it's just magical.  I always feel extra thankful and blessed at this time of year. Of course, we can't forget the true meaning of Christmas either, the birth of Jesus--that just makes Christmas even more magical to me. 

ChelseaThere are a few words that always come to mind when I think of Christmas: Family, comfort, warmth, beautiful, and magical. Wow, that sounds a bit corny. BUT, it's true.

MandyThis Christmas is particularly special to me because it is the first Christmas my husband and I are on our own, and starting our own traditions. We will still see family on Christmas, but on Christmas morning we have plans to get up and exchange gifts and spend the morning together alone.  Also, it is the last Christmas we will have just being "the two of us." Next year we will have a little girl named Lily Beloved to share it with!

{5.}  What's one way we can serve and extend love to another this Holiday Season?  

AshleyI believe in having a Christmas spirit all year long - live your life with a generous spirit...people will know through your actions and your love that you are one of God's children. 

Amyjust be thoughtful of those around you!  it's so easy to get caught up in the hustle & bustle of the holiday craziness & become that rude lady at target who cuts people off in the short line.  seriously, it's time to just relax, think of others, & enjoy the season.

Naomi:  I love the spirit of giving during the holiday season so I truly feel it is one way to extend love to others. We donate to Toys for Tots every year and through my little boy's school they adopt a family so I will be going shopping with my son and having him pick out a gift for someone who really needs it.  I really want to instill the spirit of giving in my son as well! :) 

Chelsea:  Even the most simple "Hello" and "How are you doing?" can make someone's day. This could be in person, a phone call, or even in email. Letting someone know you're there for them and that you care about them is so big.  

MandyKyle (my husband) and I are praying that we would constantly be living in the Spirit and always having the attitude of how Jesus would act and love in a situation. This season I pray that we can live that out more than ever, being constantly aware of people around us that need extra love during the holidays- whether that means an unexpected gift, a cup of coffee, or a plate of cookies for a neighbor.


So that about wraps it up... and I want to thank each of you, if I haven't already done it individually for commenting on my last post!  I'm so excited to get to know each of you more!!!

And stay tuned, because Joss and Myself scored with amazing blogging friends and we received some pretty fun stuff I plan on bragging about... hold tight, I'll be blogging again soon!



  1. Loved reading everyone else's answers! This was such a great idea Jhen! So glad I could be a part of it!! Thanks! : )

  2. I LOVE reading about the different bloggers...but when do we get to read YOUR answers?!?!?!

  3. Loved reading everyone elses answers! It was so fun, thanks for including me! And, can't wait to read yours!

  4. Fun! Thanks girl! This feature is great!

  5. This was so much fun - I kinda feel like we were sitting around having a conversation and that was neat. Let's do it again soon!

  6. what a good idea- I enjoyed reading these!

  7. loved this! thanks so much for thinking of me :)

  8. So fun to hear everyone's thoughts on the season! I'm enjoying meeting all these other great bloggers (:

  9. what a cool idea! i have been friends with your forever on fb and for some reason i never had your blog in google reader and now i am crying about all that i missed out on! i am a faithful follower :)