Beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Christmas tree


Though I’ve been listening to my Michael Bublé holiday station on Pandora since before Thanksgiving (shh), I’m just now getting into the Christmas spirit. Eh, I guess it’s just been a little whacky around here lately.

And now I look up to discover the holidays are upon us. With our nuptials no longer zapping every ounce of energy from my body, I’m finally open to drinking hot chocolate, digging out beloved Christmas ornaments, lighting evergreen-scented candles and generally basking in the warm glow that is our first holiday season as a married couple. As we put up our Christmas tree on Saturday, I was reminded of all the milestones we have yet to reach — and how exciting it is to be doing these things together.

The holidays have always been celebrated loudly — and proudly — in my family. We put on Hanson’s “Snowed In” as we throw tinsel and set up the Christmas village, lining shelves with artificial snow and hanging our stockings with care. I have such fond memories of Christmas a kid, especially the prep work, and I wanted to extend those traditions to the home I now share with Spence . . . which meant finding my favorite ornaments for our tree.

Though I kept many special ones with my parents, a few bearing personal significance made it to the new digs — including my pink Power Ranger circa 1994, many cupcakes and the wooden cable car Spencer and I picked up in San Francisco on our first big trip together last year. As my mom and dad honeymooned in California on their honeymoon and picked up a very similar ornament in the ’80s, I almost fell over when I saw this little gem at the Cable Car Museum two summers ago.

It seemed like destiny. I had to have it.


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Our cable car, 2012

Mom and Dad's ornament

Mom and Dad’s cable car, 1980


Given how much we like to travel, it’s no surprise that many ornaments come from past vacations — especially London. I have a slew of English ornaments I purchased abroad or bought when I got home to bring back happy memories. And they definitely do . . . like my William and Kate wedding ornament! I picked it up at the Buckingham Palace gift shop (otherwise known as my happy place) in 2011.


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Since we don’t have the biggest tree in the world, we had to be selective with what we hung from our noble branches this year. We tried to include a healthy mix of Spencer’s childhood classics, including some porcelain Grinch ornaments, as well as newer additions commemorating our marriage. We made as much as space as we could — especially my favorites from childhood.

I’m big on continuity — and tradition. Keeping old ones, making new ones . . .

And drinking hot chocolate all the while.


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23 thoughts on “Beginning to look a lot like Christmas

  1. Ah, well, our tree isn’t up yet. We got back from vacation on Saturday night, and proceeded to get a bad case of the crud. Ugh. Maybe today. I love all the wacky ornaments. I’ve been collecting them for my kids since they were born…I get one collectible for them each year. When they leave our tree will be filled only with my childhood ornaments! 😦

    • I’m just getting over a wicked three-week-long cold myself, Sandy, so I feel you! This was the first weekend I didn’t feel like Zombie Meg, wandering the halls and blowing her nose with enough force to power a small vessel. Hope you feel better and your tree goes up soon!

  2. Your tree and the ornaments look beautiful, and I love that there’s a story behind each of them! I have a very small living room (I’m only a poor student renting a tiny kitchen, a tiny bedroom and a tiny living room) so I don’t have room for an actual tree, but yesterday I ordered a tiny (60 cm) fake one, with lights and small red baubles. I know a fake tree isn’t the real thing, but it’s my very first own Christmas tree, so I’m really excited nonetheless! 😀

    • Thanks so much! Totally understand about small place, and I’m sure yours will be lovely. Having your own tree is so exciting. And there’s nothing wrong with artificial! 🙂 Perhaps not as exciting as the real-deal, but we’ve had a fake tree for . . . well, forever. And we still do. Have a great time decorating!

  3. These photos are so warm and inviting…you’ve got me feeling festive! Love that you collect ornaments from your travels. So much fun to look on the years in retrospect on your Christmas tree! Have fun keeping old and making new traditions together.

    • Thank you, Jenn! A few years back I realized that the trinkets and snow globes and postcards I was collecting from trips were cute and all, but they would just wind up dusty on a shelf somewhere — and forgotten. Collecting ornaments gives us an opportunity to reflect on our travels every single year and really makes it special! Now I look for them everywhere we go. 🙂

  4. We had so few ornaments when we got married, I strung popcorn and cranberries for our first tree. I also made some ornaments, which look kind of sad, but still go on our tree every year. Through the years we’ve collected many ornaments and now we load the branches with them. I love hanging them and remembering the significance behind them. Here’s to many, many Merry Christmases for you and Spence!

    • I’m with you, Kathy! I love hanging ornaments and reflecting on their significance. They’re all so special to me — even the sad-looking ones that have seen much better days!

  5. First, congratulations on your wedding. I loved looking at your pictures and reading about the day. Second, your tree is lovely and so festive. Third, thanks for all the recipes, book reviews and recommendations, travels stories, and inspiration.
    Kate, long-time reader, first-time commenter.

  6. Eeeek! A WILL & KATE Ornament! I love it! When I finally make it to London at some point I am sure the amount of royal memorabilia I will pack home will be astonishing. But you have inspired me to find a K&W ornament for my own tree now!

  7. I got chills about the cable car ornament! How special. That hot air balloon one is so beautiful! I love what your ornaments represent and I’m so happy you now have the time to enjoy the holidays!

  8. Your cable car story is so heartwarming. It is amazing to have that special link. The pink power ranger is priceless. Love the tree and all the great decorating photos.

  9. I love love Michael. He’s my fav Christmas crooner.
    I love your tree!
    I was just composing a post like this too.
    I adore seeing what everyone is up to.

  10. I love your photos! you truly know how to capture that Christmas spirit (: I wish all the best to you and your husband on your first Christmas together!

  11. We don’t put up a Christmas tree here any more. It’s warm and I think the warmth has a lot to do it although all the boxes with ornaments made the trip just fine. There is no Christmas rush here and in all honesty I like it like that although it is nice to look at your ornaments cause it’s a connection.

  12. My tree is up, and unlit/undecorated. I’m trying to be patient with my husband. We did buy a real tree this year, so I’m very happy with that decision! your ornaments and tree and lovely. We’re going to have to be picky this year too with a smaller real tree.

  13. I always love this time of year for decorating and reminiscing. I put up the tree when Greyson was at his dad’s house last weekend, and it was ready for him when he came home (he hugged it). Then we decorated with the special ornaments. I started a collection for him last year with some paper dinosaurs and the first letters of our names. This year I added some candy-themed ornaments because he adores his school Christmas tree, and its ornaments are candy. So much fun and so many great memories. Cheers to you and Spence!

  14. I really love how you continue traditions and I love the tree and how it’s decorated. I love how the ornaments are from your travels, that’s how my Christmas tree is. My dad collected different ornaments from when he was in the military and we put those up on the tree.

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