Tuesday, December 18, 2012

...Some Favorite Traditions

"It's the holiday season...the holiday season...and doo doo doo... Santa Claus and uh-something something..."  The most wonderful time of the year?  Usually.  This year has felt a little strange without much cold weather and snow, but we're surviving and keeping up with our favorite holiday traditions.

I love Christmas Cards.  

Nowadays (is that really a word?) it seems that this is the only time of the year that I look forward to opening our mailbox.  H and L really love looking at their friends and family hanging in the doorway across from the dinner table.  It's amazing the kinds of discussions seeing the cards daily has sparked.

And this is light compared to most years! But I suppose it's still early.
Disregard the messy kitchen in the background.

Ugly Ornament Exchange

So this is a tradition I enjoy with one of my favorite groups of girls.  What seems like a lifetime ago, I worked in the world's gitchy-est Italian restaurant, where I met a group of ladies that have become a very important part of my life.  We set a yearly schedule of dates to get together once a month.  And there is never a sober girl left at the end of the outing dull moment.  Our December outing each year involves an ugly ornament exchange.  There's a lot of pressure to find just the perfect bauble for someone else to be embarrassed to hang on their tree.  But we were once again all successful.

The lovely gem I received from Kelly.
This ornament has it all: a monochromatic hummingbird suckling the gaudy flower, with a nipple stem on the back 
What I wore for girls' night - I could really use a better place to take outfit photos
Sweater: Loft, Jeans: Express, Shoes: Madden, Necklace: gift from Anne
Near Photobomb by naked H

Christkindlemarkt, Chicago

This tradition is one that B and I started when we were dating, and it is the one that we hope to continue for years to come with our kids.  Now, it is rumored that B and I are fans of German food and beer.  We try to eat said German food (read stuff our faces with schnitzels and sausages, potatoes and pretzels, and boot after boot of beer) as regularly as possible.  (This explains some of the whiny "I need to lose weight" posts.)  And we've made it a mission to raise our children to appreciate this delicious cuisine, as well.  

Each year at the Christkindlemarkt, we stuff our faces, drink Gluhwine, and add a new ornament to our collection. 
Our first Christkindlemarkt purchase in 2003: the Santa that tops our tree 
H goes to town on his own bratwurst (no hot dog this year!) with a side of potato pancakes 

Santaland at Macy's

I'm going to begin this part of the post by stating that I am NOT a fan of Macy's.  There. I said it. I loved Marshall Fields, and I just feel that Macy's is a major step down from my beloved Fields.  Their customer service is lacking, and is it really that hard to clean a washroom?  Okay.  I had to get that out of the way.

Part of our Christkindlemarkt tradition used to be to walk to the Marshall Fields on State Street to check out the windows.  Each year, the artists at Marshall Fields would tell a different story or fairy tale in their window displays as you walked from the north end of the block toward the south.  This is another wonderful aspect of Marshall Fields that vanished.  Sure, they still decorate the windows.  But it's just NOT the same.  And some traditions are hard to break, and so we still walk the windows at Macy's even though B and I know that we're bound to be disappointed.

It's now worth it because I must say that the Macy's on State Street does Santa well.  As you wind your way past the toy department (well played, marketing department) and through the children's department (another nice move), you end up in Santaland.  There's a lot of cuteness to keep the kiddos entertained while waiting to see the big man: snowmen singing ("Mom! Frosty didn't have a carrot nose! Who is this snowman?"), animals hibernating in a house that dance when you push a button, a telescope to see Santa, and so much more.  Unfortunately, Santaland doesn't come with a guarantee that your kid won't freak out upon laying eyes on the big man, himself.
Luckily H was composed enough to tell Santa what both of them want for Christmas. 
And the tree in the Walnut Room is always beautiful.
L and H - mesmerized
My favorites by the tree
Thanks for dressing up today, B!


  1. Cute cute cute. Every bit of it. I love holiday traditions!

  2. I really need more holiday traditions. It's so cool that you guys have been going to Christkindlmarket for so long!

    And I'm curious about the card-prompted conversations. Are the kids making up what we might say? Or wondering why Miss Anne is choking Mr. Bob?