Hi there! How are you doing? I’m slowly coming back after a few days of unplugging, resting, and eating a lot of delicious treats around Christmas. And I have to admit that it all felt good!
After days of nibbling on a new version of Scott’s homemade pumpkin roll, I was craving big bowl of Chunky Beef and Vegetable Beef Stew last night, and that’s exactly how we closed out the weekend. Skyler actually fell asleep before dinner, and it doesn’t surprise me after a lot of activity packed into one holiday. We kept things pretty low-key, and it all felt a little different this year, but we were still able to enjoy ourselves during such a crazy season of life.
Here is a look back into the highlights!
Dyker Heights Christmas Lights
Any New York City resident knows that the best lights you’ll see in the city (outside of the Rockefeller Tree and shopping window displays) is in Dyker Heights. It’s a residential neighborhood in the southwest corner of Brooklyn, and we have only been down to visit twice. The time to go is definitely the week of Christmas, as you’ll see lights and over-the-top holiday displays throughout the streets.
The neighborhood draws large crowds every year, and while we walked the streets and avenues with Skyler in a stroller last year, we kept things indoors this year by renting a Zipcar and driving through on Wednesday night.
It wasn’t the same experience, and we weren’t able to get to the most famous street this year due to car traffic, but we stayed safe in our own bubble and made a few loops through the houses. Skyler fell asleep halfway through, so we’ll be sure to revisit and document the full experience next year. It’s truly stunning in person!
My family tradition for Christmas Eve always included spending the evening with our family friends growing up. Each family went to their respective candlelight church services, and then we would meet at their house for appetizers, pizza, and a late-night showing of Christmas Vacation.
This is something that my family has done since as long as I can remember (probably since I was in elementary school!), and I was sad to miss out the year we moved to Michigan in 2012. Well, we haven’t been home to Florida since then, so it has been a while since Scott and I have been able to join. Maybe that needs to change next year!
In true 2020 fashion, we decided to keep things extra small this year and hesitantly accepted an invitation to join our neighbors next-door for a small Christmas Eve dinner. They adore Skyler, and it was nice to feel somewhat normal socializing with a handful of people. We had masks on, and we felt safe since everyone had a negative test result for COVID-19.
Skyler got to stay up way past his bedtime, but we made it home in time to change him into his new Toy Story pajamas and leave cookies and milk out for Santa.
He also wanted to leave apples and carrots out for the reindeer, so we made sure to include those on the plate along with a handwritten note to the big guy. Santa may or may not have eaten almost all of the cookies and left a note to Skyler as a thank you.
We watched our Christmas Eve service online before we left and tucked Skyler in with a reading of Christmas in the Manger and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. He gets the stories about Santa, but we are still working on instilling the true celebration behind the holiday to remember Jesus’s birthday as the reason for the season.
And, to keep the tradition alive, I rented Christmas Vacation to have on in the background while helping Scott and Santa get everything ready for Christmas morning after he fell asleep.
It was Skyler’s third Christmas, but it felt like the first one that he actually grasped what was happening at almost three years old. This was really neat to experience, and is one of my very favorite things about parenthood. Christmas has a whole new excitement to it!
He did us a solid and woke up around 7:30 a.m. asking if Santa came and stuffed our stockings. He did that and more, and I shared the video of him walking up to discover everything with our families. It was so cute.
Even we were amazed to see the amount of presents we had under the tree this year. God has certainly blessed us through such a difficult year of unforeseen times for Scott’s business and so much more.
It’s hard to believe that this was our ninth Christmas at home, with just the two (and now three) of us. We missed being around our families, but we have also adapted to a new type of holiday that embraces staying cozy inside in our comfortables, chatting with loved ones on video, and keeping the food easy with make-ahead casseroles, lasagna or takeout. This year we kept things as simple as possible with cinnamon rolls for breakfast, leftovers for lunch, and Chinese delivery for dinner.
We try to knock out all of the “to-dos” early in the day to be able to relax, lounge, and snuggle up with a holiday movie by the afternoon. It really is perfect, outside of missing being around loved ones outside of our little family.
We started another tradition of getting matching family pajamas to wear on Christmas Day three years ago, and I was super bummed that they didn’t arrive in time this year. It was risky with a five-day arrival window ending on the day after Christmas, but the fact that I still don’t have them is right on brand with 2020. Oh well, maybe I’ll pack them away with our Christmas decorations and break them out next year!
Skyler had a blast opening his presents, and we are currently in the middle of a purge to retire toys and books that no longer get played with. This has always been something that we do after a holiday or birthday in a small space without much storage, but it’s especially important to us to highlight the concept of giving to others during this season that is so hard for many.
So that’s what we are up to today!
While our holiday wasn’t “the best ever” … let’s be real … this year wasn’t, either. But, there were some silver linings and great moments that happened, so my hope is that we can all hold onto those as much as possible.
I’m feeling extremely grateful to be able to be at home with my family and pop in to work here and on my other businesses when it makes sense in our day. That is something that I have embraced in 2020, and that I will never take for granted.
Thank you so much for checking in today! Here’s to the last week of the year, and I’ll be back soon for more healthy living content.
Stay safe out there!