Friday, December 30, 2011

Holiday Happenings and Decorating

Happy Holidays . . .

For those of you who think I forgot to send you a Christmas card . . . I promise I didn't.  I didn't even get around to sending them this year. I'm contemplating sending a New Year's card, but since New Year's is only a few short days away, I'm not sure that is going to happen either.

I tried to get Imani and Noah's picture in front of the Christmas tree but Noah wasn't exactly feeling the Christmas spirit. He had a nasty Christmas fever so much of our Christmas morning looked like this

Although Imani was all smiles, since Santa brought her an Ipad.

Now that Noah's feeling better, maybe I can capture a cute photo before the tree comes down and wish you all a Happy 2012. 
If I don't get around to sending out cards . . . Happy 2012.

Work has been especially busy for me this year, so I haven't been able to post as much as I'd like. I'm still working on convincing Jason to post because there IS a lot going on around this little Cape of ours, but obviously my persuasive skills need improvement.

We didn't have our gingerbread making workshop this year either. In fact, we didn't even make a gingerbread house! You can see last year's here.

Before you think all I did this year was sit around reading "The Hunger Games" and eating bonbons, I shall have you know that we did accomplish quite a bit this holiday season.

For one, we had our big annual Christmas party but we failed to take

Trust me. It happened. 

It's probably one of my favorite parts of my holiday. I love filling my house with more people than it can hold and spending time with friends and family and watching everyone open somewhat ridiculous gifts at the white elephant gift exchange.  Of course the gifts we gave were collections of toothpaste and body wash that the coupon cowboy got for next to nothing at Rite Aid over the course of the year.

We Atkins also joined in over 2,000 other runners to run a 5k together in the Seneca Falls "It's a Wonderful Run." For me, Imani and Noah, it was our first 5k. For Jason, I don't think he counts it because he jogged with Imani and Noah the whole way. For those of you who don't know, Jason is a bit of an extremist with running. 

We had so much fun running in 20 degree weather under the Christmas decorations of Seneca Falls, NY hearing the bells jingling on the other 2,000 runners' feet. Thanks to Barb and Andy Reese for encouraging us to participate. It's definitely on our list of things to do in December 2012.

And of course, we also got our annual Griswold family Christmas tree -- one that was far too big to fit through our sliding glass doors, but one that Jason and his brother (this year's unfortunate victim who happens to own a truck) somehow managed to make fit.

I've honestly considered buying an artificial 14ft tree for next year because part of me feels guilty about cutting down not one, but TWO trees every year and part of me knows that it's only a matter of time before our sliding glass doors get broken from trying to cram a ridiculously large tree into our little house.

But once it's in and decorated, it does look beautiful.

Just don't look at it from behind, because there are so many ropes securing it to the wall!

We did manage to get the decorations up.  Most are simple, subtle touches throughout the house.

A pointsetta in an old tin bucket.

Christmas balls under a cloche.

Mints in an apothecary jar.

Pine cones with a little sparkle in a big round vase.

Santa's magical key.

We used real pine garland this year too.

I don't know how I would've ever decorated the original staircase in this house.  Remember, it once looked like this.  For more flashbacks to what our house once was, click the "Our Fixer-Upper" button above.

Thank God Jason learned how to use  power tool.

More decorations this year include Jason's latest obsession, "St Nicholas Square," which we bought on clearance at Kohl's last year after Christmas. 

In fact, we're going to Kohl's today to see if we can expand our little village.

While some might find these little villages a bit cheesy, we love how they look illuminated at night and we love the little detailed people in the shop windows.

Our nutcracker collection continues to grow each year. 
We have a display along the windowsill of our kitchen sink.

And random nutcrackers displayed around our house.

Our tree for our sitting room turned out nicely this year too. Once again, we placed the stand inside an old wash basin.

We made Candy Cane Valleys and Sprinkle Delights again this year.

And of course, we exchanged presents. 

I got this awesome ornament from my two nieces.

And Jason and I got matching duck boots.

But my favorite present didn't come on Christmas morning. Jason gave it to me a few weeks before Christmas.

I'd seen a Pottery Barn Santa painting online that I really wanted.  A lot of bloggers have replicated it. I showed it to Jason and asked if he could do it.

One night, he came upstairs and told me he had something to show me. When I came down the stairs, here is what I found on my mantel.

I absolutely love it.  He insisted I not blog about it because it wasn't a big deal to create and it's not his "original" art.  As you can see, I don't listen.

We still made Christmas tags out of old Christmas cards. You can see how here. It is a tradition after all, and we needed some tags for Mr. Noah.  It's getting harder to make Christmas tags from cards because so many people send photo cards now.  Don't get me wrong . . . I  cherish each and every one.  

We (finally) moved Noah into our upstairs bedroom and we moved downstairs into the room originally created for him.  I'll try to post pictures about that later.  I'm happy to report we are all getting more sleep now.

And that, my friends is my Christmas update.

Wasn't that better than a Christmas card?


  1. Much, much better than a Christmas card! I didn't do any of those either :) All the best to you and yours for 2012 Stephenie x

  2. I agree Stephenie, your post was so much better than a Christmas Card. Poor Noah looked a little over whelmed by the whole thing but Imani looks absolutely thrilled! Wishing you all the best for 2012. xx

  3. Stephenie,

    Yes, my friend, your post was better than a Christmas/New Year's card! I cannot believe how big Noah and Imani have gotten. Your home is beautifully decorated for the holidays. I like your collections of St Nicholas Square and nutcrackers, but I absolutely adore Jason's painting! I was disappointed when Pottery Barn sold out of those. Again, I suggest your talented man open an Etsy shop! I will be your first customer. :)
    Thank you for your emails, I will be getting back to you this week.
    Wishing you, Jason, Imani and Noah a happy, healthy 2012!


  4. Love your tree in the wash basin...great idea!


  5. Sounds great!! I hope everyone had brilliant time. I couldn’t attend Xmas and holiday parties with my friends so we will have another party on next weekend. It is going to be a grand event so I have booked the best event space Chicago for this.


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