Of Christmas Past

Christmas was always such a magical time for me growing up. The decorations, a perfect Christmas tree, family gatherings, visiting Santa, giving and receiving gifts, going to church... everything was wonderful. Even in hard times my parents always made sure that Christmas was a special time for us.
My sisters and I... lookin' good! haha
My sister Erica and I
Grace and I
We usually get our Christmas trees the weekend of Thanksgiving. The Pacific Northwest is a great place to live when looking for a Christmas tree. You can go for a short drive and come across a dozen or so tree farms. We always try to get our tree with my family. I have great memories of traipsing through the mud in search of the perfect tree.
Christmas tree hunting 1998
My family has had a tradition of having a wreath party. My mom started hosting it when we were younger ago and she tries to keep it going most years. With all of us grown up and doing our own thing it's not often that we can get everyone together anymore. 
Little sister Grace 2006
Christmas has definitely changed for me since I've had Amelia. It is so awesome to see Christmas through her eyes. She lights up and gets so excited over every little thing. 

Amelia's First Christmas

Amelia's Second Christmas

Amelia's Third Christmas

Amelia's Fourth Christmas

Last year we started the Elf on the Shelf tradition. Amelia absolutely loves it. We also started a tradition of giving Amelia a new book on Christmas Eve. The books we give are the Hallmark books where you can record yourself reading the story. Mark and I take turns reading. Amelia has listened to her book all year. I can't wait to give her a new book this year. Last year Amelia and I also spent a lot of time 'paying it forward'. It was very rewarding. I'm going to look for ways that we can give back as a family all year long.

What are your special Christmas traditions?
My favorite Christmas traditions are the ones spent with my family. Thankfully I have a husband who loves kickin' it with my family as much as I do. I'm excited we can introduce Amelia to all of the things we love about the holidays.
What is your favorite part of Christmas?
Giving gifts. It is nice to receive, but in my family I think we get a lot more excited to give than to receive. 
Ashley Elizabeth