Gift Exchanges, Christmas 2013

I'm sorry for a day late blog post, without the 2nd part of our trip recap. I've had a bad cold for the past week and a half, not slept for three nights in a row, and am still in recovery so I decided to share a light, easy post today. A few of the bloggers that I follow shared post-Christmas recaps of gift exchanges and I thought, almost one month after, it'd be fun to share what Keith and I exchanged this year.

I always stress for weeks before holidays and birthdays on finding just the right thing for him. We also try to set budgets for each other and one of us (Keith) never sticks to it. We actually both did a pretty good job on the budget this year, even though I changed my mind about fifty times on what to get him. I wanted to try following the something you want / something you need / something to wear / something to read gift-giving motto but I didn't quite meet it this year. This is what I gave Keith for Christmas:

Left to right: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Other Short Stories, Classic Monsters Blu-Ray Collection, Game of Thrones Audiobooks, Vintage decanter, Crate & Barrel leather labels

Left to right: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Other Short Stories, Classic Monsters Blu-Ray Collection, Game of Thrones Audiobooks, Vintage decanter, Crate & Barrel leather labels

Keith loves Alice in Wonderland and has seen every movie version there is. so I decided to buy him this hardcover, gorgeously illustrated collection. We both enjoyed watching the classic horror movies during my October brave act, so the movie collection was a fun bonus (something you want) gift. The audiobooks were technically his "something you need" gift because the idea was for them to serve as our main entertainment on the long road trip. They were also the biggest risk taker of all the gifts, because neither of us had ever read the books or watched the show. Keith enjoys fantasy novels and loved Lord of the Rings, so I was hoping it would be similar in tone and we'd both enjoy it. Fortunately they've been a hit and as I mentioned in a previous post, we're both hooked!

His last two gifts were tied in with us trying to improve our home bar. We want to have a nice variety of options for guests to choose from, so I drove around to various vintage stores the week before Christmas and found a (different from the picture) vintage decanter that was in good shape for $20 at a local shop. I also spotted those leather labels at Crate & Barrel while window shopping and couldn't resist. I'll have to post a photo of our fully updated bar soon!

Next up, here is what Keith got me for Christmas:

Left to right: The Friends dvd collection, Bill Bryon "At Home", Made by Hand

Left to right: The Friends dvd collection, Bill Bryon "At Home", Made by Hand

I have been talking about buying the Friends collection for years, so I was pretty surprised when Keith bought it for me. This is pretty dangerous because I basically want to not sleep and only watch this for an entire weekend but I've been trying to limit myself to only one episode a day, or one every other day. This weekend, since I was sick on the couch, I finished the 2nd season. He also bought me two books that I can't wait to dive into - Bill Bryson's At Home and Lena Corwin's Made by Hand. I have read a few other Bill Bryson's books so that should be a fun read, but the Made by Hand book makes me want to quit my day job and stay home crafting all day. The photographs are gorgeous and the crafts look super fun!

I can't forget to mention the poster that my husband designed for me. Yes, he designed a poster! It's black and white with an inspiring quote, like I talked about wanting for my office previously, and a Shel Silverstein drawing. I haven't had a chance to frame it yet, but as soon as I have it hung in my office, I promise a photo. I love homemade gifts, and so this year, I made vanilla for my extended family members and everyone got to choose a bottle of vanilla or bottle of an Austin-brewed beer we also brought.

Vanilla.JPG

Along with our gifts to each other, and homemade gifts for the family, Keith and I have a tradition of choosing a local nonprofit every year to donate to as well. We discuss what mission is especially dear to our heart each year and then choose one with that purpose, who is making a positive impact on our community. We enjoyed exchanging our gifts in front of a warm fire at the Church Hill Inn in Sister Bay and then driving to my grandparents for lots of family hugs Christmas morning. Next year, I'm picturing Christmas morning in our own home, in front of our tree, with homemade cinnamon rolls baking in the oven, but we'll see how the holidays work out.

Keith and I like the idea of making the something you want / something you need / something to wear / something to read concept part of own family tradition, so we're planning to officially start that next year. We want to insure that this time of year is less about getting every last thing on your wishlist, and more about spending time with family and giving lovingly to others.