Ornaments from the Children's department at Nordstrom.

2014 Chocolate Peppermint (Gingerbread) House.

2nd Annual Cookie Exchange

Our second, Afternoon with Santa at the historic Driskill Hotel.

Our 2014 Ornament Card, a holiday keepsake.

My sister and I, at the end of our 1st Holiday Baking Kind of Day!

Christmas Morning!

Now that's a lot of love!

Since 2003, our monogrammed ornaments are the last two items to make it on the tree. Brian takes his and I take mine, and together we hang them on the tree. I know it's corny, but we're corny like that.

Last year, was the first time I did a Gingerbread house, but it was one-dimensional. This year, I asked Brian if he would join me in this fun-filled activity. He supervised; okay, he sat and watched TV; but deep down inside I had fun doing it all on my own; while he checked on me every once in a while. Maybe next year, Baker and I, will do a village!

Next, came the girlfriends & kids Cookie Exchange! I'm already thinking about what cookies to make for the 3rd Annual Cookie Exchange. What a success!

The boys and I, went to the historic Driskill Hotel where we took pictures in front of the lovely decorated tree in addition to seeing Santa. Again, I used for our 'ornament card' which is definitely going to be a tradition for us. I told Brian, you know how the White House has a Christmas Ornament of the year, well we will too. So each year, expect an ornament card from us.

In 2013, my sister and I decided to do an ornament exchange with one another, and we continued that exchange this year. Y'all, she's so creative! In addition, we baked cookies all day. My sister came up to visit the weekend before Christmas, and I asked her if she wanted to bake cookies with me. She said, "yes." We baked five different cookies from scratch. That's over 150 cookies! I had so much fun spending time with my sister, especially in the kitchen. I hope we can make this an annual event for us. We made gifts for her co-workers, her vet, my postman, my UPS delivery man, my doggie daycare caretakers, and others... the people in our lives that make things a little easier.

Last year, my little guy was still crawling, now look at him looking up at the tree. Although after a few presents he was quite over the whole idea of unwrapping presents, he had enough. I can't tell you how many times the UPS or Fed Ex driver stopped by our house, we got presents from everyone and much more. Generosity to the max!

This holiday seaon, we spent some time with old friends, made new friends and created moments that will be hard to forget. This was the first year that I did most of my shopping online, our immediate family members couldn't make it this year to our house, because literally everyone got a new job, so it was easier for me to shop online. And now I know why people love Amazon Prime and shopping online so much.

Our Christmas Day activities were spontaneously simple. We spent the day with our closest friends, practically family. One set came over for brunch, gathered around the kitchen and we cooked together a brunch complete with vegan nut pancakes (delicious by the way) and biscuits; then exchanged presents. After they left, we caught up with family members and then took a nap; only to get ready and head out for dinner. Our other friends' made one of the best pot roast dishes I've ever had, complete with brussels sprouts and smashed sweet potatoes. Great food, great company turned into a great day for which I'm so grateful for.

Amidst the hustle and bustle, the eats and treats; the true meaning of Christmas was rekindled in us, which is love, forgiveness, hope, peace and joy.

#family #holidays #lifestyle

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