Pre-12 Days of Giving: Thoughts on Santa and the Christmas Spirit.

I am opening a {HUGE} can of worms with this post. I can feel it.

But I sort of want that because I am curious and craving others’ opinions on what I’m about to discuss: The Christmas Spirit and Santa.

I woke early (when I saw early, I mean 4 am early) with an overwhelming feeling in my spirit. The sounds super dramatic, but really I’m inspired. I felt a shift happen inside. It began last year when Chase was 2 and he was more into the holiday. I started feeling convicted and challenged in what kinds of things I am teaching Chase over the Christmas holiday. Now that he is 3 and is more aware of what’s going on around him, he has more questions, wants to be more involved, more imaginative, etc… and, I feel the conviction even more so: What do I want to pour into my kiddos? What do I want them to take away from the Christmas season?

This isn’t meant to be a “bah humbug” post or bash Santa Claus post. In fact, I absolutely love the spirit of Christmas: the life that celebrating Jesus brings, the traditions, the giving, the receiving, the fun music/decor, etc. – And, I actually really enjoy the idea of Santa Claus and the fun and imagination “he” brings. But there is something in my spirit that is really bothered by the ideas I feel that are becoming impressed upon my little 3-year-old’s heart and mind.

Saturday mornings are usually my ‘Thrifted Treasures’ mornings. I drop Ted off at work around 8:45 and then the boys and I head to local thrift stores, mostly just to look and if I stumble upon a treasure, hooray! This past Saturday I decided to venture into an antique mall that I had never yet been to: The Brass Armadillo. When we arrived I saw a sign that said Santa would be there today with free photos and gifts. Chase has never really seen a Santa in person but I thought this could be a fun opportunity. It was actually quite eye opening. I liked the IDEA of Santa and the fun and imagination involved… like Halloween for example, we don’t celebrate evil things and participate in the creepiness of it, however – I do love dressing up my boys and letting them have fun and hanging out with friends in costumes. Pretending and fellowshipin’. When we saw santa, that was kind of where my heart went, “Hmmm…” First, my boys REALLY didn’t like him. Shailo was screaming and Chase kept hidden beside me and saying, “I’m being shy, momma.” But mostly when Santa asked him, “What would you like for Christmas?” I felt just so odd in my spirit. Is this what we wanted for our boys? And the answer is: I’m still just not sure what I think.

The part I don’t like is that it feels like Christmas = Santa = getting gifts or even getting {specific} gifts.

That is the part  that I do not want. I do like the imagination and the fun of Santa and Christmas without the feelings of “I’m owed something” or feeling like he should be given something rather than give something away. These are obviously not solely to blame on Christmastime or believeing there is a Santa. No. But I just wonder if I am teaching him things that aren’t lining up with how I believe and how I would want him to grow. To feel gratitude, to want to give rather than receive, to use his imagination with what he already has, etc.

I struggle because I am beginning to see things begin to rise up in my sweet boy that break my heart and we are currently in the thick of trying to work through these things: expectations and disappointments,  feelings of ungratefulness, unappreciative for the what he has, sometimes demanding, etc.

But how do I help him work through these very things that are taught and portrayed during the Chritmas season? I hope I am making sense. I just feel so torn.

I guess my question isn’t Santa or no Santa? But instead how to implement the true story of Santa with some bits of fun, imaginative ideas AND the true spirit of Christmas: He (Jesus) came so we could live and I want more than anything for my son to know that and to GIVE life and love instead of feeling owed or believing this time of year is for presents alone. My oldest is 3! Shouldn’t I have this decided my now? Well, I haven’t! Haha… Hence this post.

I actually feel they really could go hand in hand. The “real” Santa Claus is derived from a man called St. Nicholas (this is a story I heard growing up, so the facts…it could be so wrong haha) who wanted to bless the poor and needy!! “Santa” is known for his generous spirit but when did it become about {us} being on the receiving end? (Hi, I love giving and receiving gifts so I’m really not bashing gift getting! Just have a hard time when it becomes the main focus). As I am writing this post I feel some things beginning to really resonate within me. I can teach my boys that yes, Santa was real and is real in the spirit of GIVING and also, that Christ came to GIVE life. They really CAN go hand in hand… right?

What kinds of things do you or your family do to inspire the true Christmas spirit? To bring forth things that are good for your kiddos to learn? What kind of traditions do you implement in your Christmas holiday that encourage giving rather than just receiving? What are your thoughts on celebrating Jesus and Santa?

I recently stood in a long line at the Dollar Tree with both my boys in tow.  A second clerk opened up a register and said, “I can take the next person in line!” Before the elderly woman next in line could even react, I watched as a woman from the very back of the line rushed forward and took the spot. Others quickly following. I felt so sad (and shocked) and I watched this happen. Really? You’d take a spot from an elderly woman who had waited her turn in line. I witnessed a very similar thing at Old Navy only a day later and had a moment of “Oh, that’s right. It’s Christmastime.” How sad!

Does anyone feel the spirit of Christmas tends to bring out the most selfish side of people? Even in me personally. I remember last year, my sweet husband went out and bought me gifts he thought I might like. I remember feeling disappointed with him because it wasn’t what’d I asked for. (How’s that for honest? He knew unfortunately.) REALLY Jami?

I’m just so over it. Over the spirit of selfishness that comes along with Christmas. So this morning I had an inspired thought and today, I decided to write on here and make this official and see if there is anyone who would like to join in with me? I decided to start a small blog series to inspire giving and to keep my heart and my kiddos hearts in check.

12 Days of Giving beginning December 1st. This can look however you would want it to! I wrote down ideas of my own and then hopped online for more inspiration early this morning and made a small list. Here are the things we will be doing if you’d want to join us. (Or make your own list. Please let me know if you will be doing this! I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.)

12 Days of Christmas Giving:
1.Bless clerks/servers (that we come across during errands) with Christmas candy and a sweet note
2.Text encouraging message and picture to friends/family who need them
3.Make bird/squirrel feeders and put them out
4.Leave a treat for our mailman
5.Make Christmas/winter wreath for a busy friend
6.Make treats for Ted’s coworkers
7.Take a few friends’ a treat while they are working
8.Make/take Christmas notes and treats to neighbors
9.Leave Christmas treats/notes on carts at a busy store
10.Bless aquarium workers with a candy cane and note of encouragment (we are going to the aquarium that night)
11.Chalk kindness for neighbors/mailman (chalk note on their sidewalk and one in front of the mailbox)
12.Buy and Gift Christmas gifts for a child in need
I am also being SUPER DUPER ambitious (encouraged by my rad hubby who loves when I blog) and going to do 12 days of Crafting alongside of this! I have DIYs coming your way :)
Thanks for reading this ridiculously long blog post and please, please, please comment with your thoughts!

a belated Christmas post

This post is waaaaay overdue but I’ve regretted not posting some of our Christmas-y things. I used to be so on top of taking pictures, editing them and posting them almost right away and now… oh wait, I had a baby! ;) But I really don’t want that to become my excuse. You find time to do the very things you love and blogging just happens to be on my list of things that I love! So I really hope to pursue one of my passions again. I miss it so much.

whoa, I digress. Here some photos of our holiday.

This was Chase’s first year helping decorate the tree. He really took tree decorating very seriously ;)

This particular holiday seemed very special and perhaps it is because Chase really joined in with me in decorating and creating. I really, really loved that part. Oh my heart! What joy he brings.

Chase and I’s handywork this year. Simple, beautiful, fun.

 Above left: “Let every heart prepare Him room” banner. Right: our activity advent calendar.

Quite possibly my favourite Christmas tradition, or maybe just my sweet tooth talking ;)…

Sugar (& other) Christmas cookie baking day!  Look at his eyes when he realized I was watching him (above right) ;)

what’s a cookie without sprinkles, sprinkles …

…and more sprinkles?!

This was Chase’s first year to enjoy in this yummy tradition.

Last year we began a tradition of opening jammies Christmas Eve, a tradition passed on from my own family. This year we added a new tradition, our own, of heading to town to see the pretty Christmas lights. Ted and I try to sing Christmas songs and Chase, sweet boy, would cut us off with, “Wonder Pets, Wonder Pets, we’re on our way…” and then wait for us to join in with {him} in finishing the Wonder Pets entire theme song. What a fun memory! :)

Ya know us, we just had to do photoshoot of the jammies before heading to see lights. Oh how I love these photos. So precious!

Little smirks. (I call this his little old man face)

(I just had to post this photo of Shailo’s facial expression when Chase first sat down with him. :) It’s like he’s saying, “Seriously mom and dad, a flashlight for big brother. REALLY?! Ahh! Get him away! “)

This year was especially fun because it was Chase’s first year he thoroughly enjoyed Christmas; the tree, lights, music (particular fond of, well Wonder Pets, but also Away in the Manger – which we changed to say “the little baby Jesus lay down his sweet head” I tried to video him but to no avail ;)) , stories of baby Jesus, presents, etc. He {loved} this year.

Our Christmas photo was another story…

({my handsome boys} opposite colouring as of now. I {love} it!)

Our Christmas photo was a challenge. You might think being married to a photographer, we’d have it set. WRONG. It was horrible. Chase was extremely wound tight, Shailo was fussy and I didn’t feel well at all.  The picture below is one of maybe 2 he actually sat for.

 However, I love the one we ended up with because it’s actually rather candid. I didn’t ask him to kiss his brother, he just did. So cute! 
Ted and I play around with bokeh and the Christmas tree lights. (what we’d hoped to do with our Christmas card but didn’t factor in a crazy-hyper 2 year old BOY! ;))
Christams-y Instagrams
Well, enough talk about Christmas in January. I hope to blog soon with some things that are heavy on my heart. Hope the holidays treated you well and you were able to enter the New Year refreshed and with a sense of hope!

{Inspiration Workshop ~ Holiday Decor}

Today is my first time linking up with a fave blogger of mine. Today’s ‘Inspiration Workshop’ prompt is ‘Holiday Decor’ :) I’m excited although there isn’t much to show around here this year, there are still a few Christmas-y things up! I honestly didn’t think that I’d find time/energy to do decor this year due to having a new baby, but I was wrong! I found little windows of time because it was important to me to create a Christmas-y feel for Chase and honestly, just to {create} – it helps me remember to be myself as well as a momma! Although it did take longer than it normally would have, it was fun and now adds a cozy touch to our little home.

Chase decorating our little white tree.

Our colours for this year (and quite possibly the next few years, it’s so cheery!); blue, teal, pink, purple and green.

 “E” for our Eisley-girl

One of those ‘You know you’re a momma to a boy when…’ moments. :) I was going to make a little felt tree skirt, but I see no need now. He’s has a new audience under the tree first thing every morning.

Chase’s great-grandmother “GGgma” gave him this little vintage nightlight.

Our advent calendar for this year. I really didn’t think I would do one this year but found this simple idea on pinterest to buy envelopes and hang them so. I made our envelopes from paper I already had. It took me {forever} to find the mini clothespins I had in my mess of a craftroom but I finally found them just two days ago! Yay :)

It’s kind of hard to tell in this photo but I numbered each envelope.

As I was deciding what we’d do each day leading up to Christmas morning, I had to plan it around our schedule too which was interesting to say the least. I also had to keep myself from going overboard with excitement and being too ambitious. Especially as I’m still in the mix of learning to maneuver with 2 kiddos at home or outside the house  (which is still a major YIKES to me!) ;) I kind of miss being a child again, anticipating the days fun event but not knowing what to expect. I love surprises, so maybe that’s why :)

For those curious or wanting ideas for next year (or this year, not too late to start!!), here are a few of the activities I chose for our advent this year (some we repeat weekly);

Decorate the tree as a family, Decorate the home, Make a Christmas playlist and sit under the tree lights, Make and decorate Christmas cookies, Make Christmas cards, Make gifts for grandparents, Put together cookie gift jars and decide who to take them to, Go out as a family and pick out this years Christmas book (we get a new one each year that the kids help pick out), Christmas family photoshoot, Have a nice Christmas-y family dinner, Open this years ornament from momma and daddy, Make a gingerbread house, Christmas movie night with hot cocoa, Read the Christmas story/Christmas-y books, do a Christmas craft, Take Christmas cookies to our neighbors, Open one gift (jammies from mommy) then bundle up and drive around to see Christmas lights (Christmas eve), After opening stocking gifts – put goals/wished for 2012 in stockings to read next year (for Ted and I this year – “read our goals we had this year, where we are now and then talk about next years goals/wishes/dreams” )… I think that’s it :)

A Pinterest inspired banner that I {love}! I stratigically placed it on my least favourite wall and it adds so much! (I want to hide our TV in an armoire but have yet to find one that I’d have to seriously re-purpose)

I hung pretty colourful jingle bells under the paper lanterns to add a cheery Christmas touch (50% off at Hobby Lobby for $3!)

I loved making the “Joy to the world” banner so much that I decided to make this one as well. Today I finally hung it :)

Chase keeps saying, “It’s so pretty!” :)  Yes, he can reach it but he knows it’s something he’s not to touch.

Well that is it for Christmas decor in the Davis’ Home this year! Hope you’ve enjoyed the little mini tour.

Merry Christmas!!

Jami

Gussy

a few Shailo ‘firsts’

First bath at a little over two weeks old (took that long for his umbilical cord to fall off)

I had to do some major cropping of these pics because I forgot to strategically place a washcloth below ;)

First Thanksgiving where he was held and cuddled by many of my relatives the entire day long.

{love}

First time under the tree, watching the lights.

First smile- the real non-gas related kind -11.22.11

note: this photo was taken today and besides my memory of it, I did not document that smile :)

A Christmas Photoshoot.

Hey friends, I hope your Christmas was truly blessed in whatever way you most hoped it would be. I know this is {super} late but here is our family’s greeting to you this holiday season.

I wasn’t up to doing family Christmas photos this year. I think it makes sense why, but that’s not really why I’m blogging. Well we ended up having a spur-of-the-moment photoshoot today which turned out pretty cute. My “baby” brother (15 years old) took most of the photos. Enjoy a few photos from the today.

Little Christmas Stud.

My boys; a combination of many things, mostly that which is both cute and crazy.

Love him so.

This was seriously our best family photo and honestly, it fits our family {perfectly}. At first I was bummed but its so fitting! We’re pretty different ;)

Handsome boy. Sportin’ a thrifted outfit.

Trying to calm the craziness :)

{adore}

Rosy red from being outside :)

At some point, when we feel ready and up to it, we’re planning on doing a family photo shoot for Eisley. Hopefully by this spring we will have done one. It’s been on my mind and my heart for the last few months but I want it to be perfect, if that makes sense.

But for now, here is a photo we took and thought of our Eisley girl as we did.

Our family’s feet. <3

Okay, well, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

{love} Jami

Paper Trees (the easiest DIY ever)

As I pulled out all of my craft stuff yesterday I noticed I actually had a lot of paper in teals and blues. I decided to make some paper trees. It took me a few shots but this is the best way I found. And it is easy!

All you need is paper, scissors and tape!

Cut paper into a big circle and cute out a piece like above photo.

So simple, so pretty! I love em’. Someone else loved them too ;)

And you can layer them if you want.

I put them “high” so Chase couldn’t get them or so I thought.

(yep, that’s my son standing on his rocking chair, he’s a daredevil and loves to test his momma!)

We don’t have a mantle at my Grandma’s (where we currently live, just in case you didn’t already know) so this was the best place for them. If you have a mantle, I’m sure they’d look pretty there! They add a pretty “Christmasy” flare. Remember you don’t have to do teals or blues. You can do actual Christmas colours!

Stay tuned next week for more crafts, decor, homemade gift ideas and maybe a Christmasy dessert! This weekend I may be posting more of how we’re doing as Eisley’s due date nears.

{Much love friends}

 

“Falling” Felt Snowflakes DIY

Hi friends! Can you believe it’s already December?! Hope you’re enjoying this new season.

As I made the “falling” felt leaves, I immediately thought of how pretty felt snowflakes and a snowflake garland would be. Hence this pretty DIY project. Our decor is a little bit of Christmas but mostly winter season. Our colour scheme is white, silver and teal so my projects will be in those colours, but remember you can do whatever colours or patterns you want!

You should make these while all cozied up to Christmas music or movie.

Supplies needed:

Felt – I bought half all white and half sparkle white. The sparkled ones are my favourite but they are 10 cents more at a hobby store.

Scissors, marker for tracing, fishing line to hang.

I used a x-acto knife for the more entraquite parts but you don’t have to.

After some time my finger was really hurting. You really only need a few to spruce up the windows, if that’s what you want. I kind of went over board.

My finger is actually bruised, haha. 

SIDE NOTE; I googled snowflake patterns and I found this site and they not only had the cutest snowflake patterns, they also had a pretty snowflake garland so if you want to make that instead… there ya go! (I am making a snowflake garland with a different type of string then what they chose. Will post photos when finished, because I still need to add some teal felt to it as well.)

Wanna Do It Yourself?

Print off this pattern.

Cut out and trace onto felt.

Cut out.

Use x-acto if needed.

String with needle and fishing line and then hang them.

Stand back and admire :)

Side note: You may be wondering how we close the curtains? These all just slide smoothly to the center and I fix them in the morning when the curtains are opened. Takes a sec.

I will be posting a few more handmade Christmas gift ideas this week. Next week stay tuned for a simple and cheap DIY winter display, as well as other DIYs. Maybe a yummy Christmasy dessert too! 

 {Happy December}

Handmade Christmas Gift Ideas (1-3); gifts with frames.

Here are some fairly simple, resonably priced and most importantly, heartfelt handmade gift ideas.

This group of gift ideas are different gifts based around a picture frame :)

 Supplies needed for gift # 1:

frame (check your closets, we had a few just lying around)

paint (maybe pick colours that would match their home or a favourite colour of theirs)

scrapbook paper or fabric

paintbrush

needles (or a marker if you want to just write instead of hand stitch)

thread

quote or verse or words describing the person you’re creating for

Use a pencil to lightly draw/write what you want. Make sure you double and triple check your spelling, dates, etc. I made this and my stomach dropped as I realized, I had written the wrong date! 

(mine wasn’t actually a gift, as you can see, but you can make it a gift)

Gift idea #2 (below):

This framed gift uses most of the same supplies as the above gift minus the paint and needle and thread.

I used a quote, a fram e the $1 frame section (at either walmart or target), scrapbook paper, scissors, maker & tape.

Gift Idea 3:

Supplies needed:

frame (I bought the ugliest frame for super cheap at the thrift store click here to see frame before)

paint and paintbrush

scrapbook paper

tissue paper (optional)

quote, verse or words

photo

buttons and ribbon

More gift ideas coming soon. Along with DIY Christmas decor but mostly winter season decor which is able to stay up longer :) AND I’ve recently realized I enjoy {baking} and am planning on making ONE holiday/seasonal dessert a week, not a night, we’re trying to be healthy so that would be kinda silly :)

Stay tuned friends! A {REALLY} cute, fun, fairly simple and cheap DIY coming December 1st!!!

Tis the season to be… {coping}.

When I used to hear or read “coping” I would often think of it as a bad thing. Now I realize it’s not… or at least it doesn’t have to be. It all depends on how you cope.

This holiday season has already proven to be incredibly difficult. Where typically I would be enthusiastic and excited to the Christmas season, I find myself dreading the “season to be jolly”. It’s another reminder that my girl is gone and we will be celebrating this season without her. That is so hard for me to wrap my mind around. It’s an incredible confusing time and emotionally draining to be in a season of “cheer” while everything in you is grieving. It’s actually kind of traumatic.

I’m going to be spending this holiday season not only pouring my heart into Ted and Chase and family but also in creating. I began “A Handmade Thanksgiving” with the hope of getting myself up and inspired to continue moving forward and found creating to be {very} theraputic. I guess right now it’s one way that I have found to help me cope.

{creating}

So I’ve decided I am going to do the same for the Christmas holiday and winter season as well. It might sound bad, but I want to keep myself busy so I don’t sit and wallow in an unhealthy way. I will grieve every day and especially as Eisley’s due date nears, and Christmas comes and I’m wishing she was celebrating with us, but as I want to create as I grieve. I need a healthy outlet and I’ve found this to be one.

Good news is that YOU will benefit from my outlet ;) as I will be sharing handmade gift ideas, DIY projects for Christmas and winter home decor, some yummy dessert recipes (I’m not a cook, but I’ve recently learned, I love baking!) Stay tuned tomorrow, I will be posting 3 gift ideas!

Vintage Ornaments & Journal.

Our pre-lite 3′ faux Christmas tree for $3 at Goodwill. Below are pictures of the ornaments I found at the ARC for under $2! I love the vintage look!
I also found a bag of mirror ornaments for $1 brand new. They add so much!
This reminds me of the Nutcracker Ballet.
I love these mirrors.
This is one of my faves.
Our cozy little basement home.
One of mys gift from Ted was this very old journal which was made in Japan.
I am in love with it… and him of course :)