Christmas with a One-Year-Old

There is something about Christmas with a baby that makes it the most magical, exciting time, but also makes you feel SO happy when it’s over! We’ve been so wrapped up with preparations for not only Christmas but also our annual Christmas party, trying to make lots of memorable traditions for G while also finishing up as many renovations as possible before the party. We are all very happy to be back to our regular and predictable days now that Christmas is over.

Despite the rushing, we had so much fun this Christmas with G, who definitely realized what was going on and seemed really excited about opening presents and finding new toys inside. He wanted to play with everything he opened right away, which was so sweet.

I kept our decorations pretty simple this year. We did get two real Christmas trees, but we only put lights on them. Partly because we had no time to decorate, and partly because I couldn’t figure out a good solution to protect the breakable ornaments from G’s curious little fingers, short of decorating just the top half of the trees! I kind of loved the simplicity of the trees with just lights, though.

Here are some photos of our Christmas decor, if you’d like to see:

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The trees before we decorated them. There is nothing as refreshing as fresh evergreens in the house during the holidays. Nothing can replace the look and the smell.

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I decorated the top shelves of our living room bookshelves in silver, gold and green tones, making sure only the books were within G’s reach.

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I used the extra branches that we cut off the bottoms of the two trees to make four evergreen bows for above the doorways. It was a super easy, quick project; I just wired the branches together and added a ribbon bow in the middle.

My other project was a pinecone garland. I used four bags of cinnamon scented Ponderosa pinecones from JoAnn’s, painted the tips with white acrylic paint (that part took the longest), and tied them together with a long piece of ribbon. It was so easy, but I think it looked really dramatic and pretty, and went with the greenery I was trying to focus on.

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I kept our etagere simple with miniature trees in burlap and white tapers in mismatched holders.

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G enjoying the finished decorations (translation: eating apples and watching Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood).

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On the mantle, I layered three mirrors and limited the palette to silver and gold Christmas balls in various sizes. I added a large wreath that I also made from the extra branches from our Christmas trees, using floral wire and a metal wreath frame from Michael’s.

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These poinsettias looked so pretty in this brass planter I found at a garage sale this summer. Don’t mind the missing handles from the navy blue dresser; it was a work-in-progress that is now finished, and I will be sharing it soon.

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We put a faux pine garland over the kitchen window, and added gold beads I found at Goodwill this year with some vintage glass balls (also found at Goodwill!) in the prettiest muted rose gold.

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The biggest renovations we finished before the Christmas party were new floors in both the sunroom (12×24 black slate tiles) and in the kitchen (white on white octagon and dot with black grout). I’ll be sharing the full before and after of those soon, but there are glimpses in these photos.

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Our party is actually an Ugly Christmas Sweater party. We started it five years ago, and have been addicted ever since. Our friends and family really go all out trying to have the most over-the-top sweater, and it’s a lot of fun. G wore a very ugly non-Christmas sweater from the Goodwill this year, and had a lot of fun for about an hour before he passed out.

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Our friend Adam, below, dressed as Cousin Eddie from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation this year, complete with the festive cup.

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For Christmas Eve, we visited both our grandmothers and ate lots of food. Here are a few photos from the night:

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G rocked his fancy shoes, above.

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My sister and I with G, below.

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Sadly, the only acceptable photo of the three of us!

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G looking like his daddy’s twin.

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We did leave out Christmas cookies for Santa and found a letter from him to G in the morning, but G was more interested in finishing Santa’s half-eaten cookies than hearing what he wrote! Maybe next year ; )

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After a quick banana…

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It was onto opening presents (and immediately getting each one out of the package, searching out batteries, and playing with it for a while. Next year we will be more prepared for this!).

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He especially loved his tool set (note the hammer in his hand, below. It hasn’t moved from that hand!)…

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…and his remote control car (which still amazes him every time it works).

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S’s parents and siblings came over for breakfast and we went to my dad’s house later in the day to exchange presents as well. G had lots of fun with his cousins.

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And, almost a week later, he’s still obsessed with his Christmas toys. Especially the tools and the trains. He’s learned the word choo-choo and says it all day. All in all, this Christmas was magical for us. It was busy, but we spent fun times with family and friends, G weathered all the craziness really well, and he made us laugh every day.

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