Christmas 2017

Our third Christmas as Mr. and Mrs., our first in our very own house.

I somehow managed to be off from work December 23-25. Since we're now within a couple of hours of family, that meant these days were full of driving to see moms, dads, siblings, babies, and grandparents.

My parents' home was our first stop. We shared finger foods and swapped gifts the morning of the 23rd, and we had a lovely time. My mom was healthier than I've seen her in years; she had been out to get her hair cut, she was dressed nicely, and she was able to sit up with us throughout the entirety of our visit that day. That in itself made this Christmas a great one.

As usual, my parents spent way too much money on us, gifting us a few hundred dollars in cash on top of buying us gifts to open. I'm so grateful for their generosity; I plan to put my cash toward replenishing our emergency fund so we can get back to hacking away the debt.

I have to confess that I felt so inadequate and sickened by the patheticness of the gifts we gave them in return. It was truly sad. I can't wait for the day we can give as generously as our parents give to us.

We left my parents' house that afternoon and stopped by Matt's grandparents' home on the way to his parents'. We had a nice little visit with them that lasted longer than we'd intended, and we ended up having a late night that night.

The next morning, Christmas Eve, we "did Christmas" with my in-laws, and I got to hang out with my niece and nephew for a few hours.

My husband made an impressive veggie tray.


Instead of exchanging gifts like usual, we played a new game sorta like Dirty Santa, but with dice.

Like my parents, my in-laws are also extremely generous. They loaded us down with gifts, including some very practical things I had asked for and was immensely excited to receive. Like compression hose to get me through my 12 hour nursing shifts. A new lab jacket for work. And this AMAZING cash envelope wallet

 Seriously. I'm in love. Bella Taylor should be paying me for this, because I will sing this wallet's praises all day long.

It's super cute (and it comes in multiple colors and patterns), extremely roomy, and all-around well-organized. The nicest wallet I've ever had. I've been using a $1 thrift store wallet and some cardstock tabs I'd made to separate our cash envelope categories. Now I'm completely spoiled.

Anyway, we had a great time at the in-laws, then drove back to Huntsville that night so we could have some time to ourselves before I had to go back to work.

Christmas Eve night, as late as it was and as tired as we were from all the driving, we had to fulfill our favorite tradition specific to our little family, established in 2015.

Christmas Eve Game Night. Each year, we play a board game, and the winner gets to choose one gift to open that night (We even made a winner's medal and everything!). The winner from last year has the privilege of selecting this year's game. Here is the winner's hall of fame thus far:

So, Matt, the winner of Christmas 2016, chose the game, Carcassonne. And the winner???

Yep! I selected a gift from beneath the tree and opened it. Turned out to be the new compression tights I'd asked for since one of my goal's is to get back into running in 2018.

The next morning, we slept in, then prepared a special-ish Christmas breakfast for ourselves (ish because the waffles were frozen).

Then we gave our puppies their Christmas stockings full of toys and treats before swapping our own gifts for each other. We spent the rest of the day relaxing and figuring out how to play Above and Below, a board game Matt received for Christmas.

This Christmas was our best one yet, for sure. We had our first real tree, in our first real house.

And for the first time in our adult lives, we spent only cash we had saved specifically for Christmas, and we did not swipe a credit card to buy gifts. 

This was momentous. It meant that we had a very simple Christmas with far fewer gifts than usual, but it was perfect.

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