Our 2015 Christmas Gift Exchange

Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful 2015 and are excited for this new year! Last year I shared about our second year of following a new tradition of exchanging gifts at Christmas. This was our third year continuing this tradition and we're confident it will continue to be the way we choose to exchange gifts at the holiday. We both think it's important to make Christmas less about gifts, and one way we heard that helps with this (especially once you have a child) is following the practice of giving gifts that fall under these guidelines: something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read. That does not always mean four gifts, because you could certainly both wear and need one thing or want and read one thing. We really enjoy the extra effort and time we put into finding or making things for each other that fall in those categories and that it insures our child will know not to expect 10+ gifts under the tree.

This year, we both gave each other a gift that tied in with our becoming parents, without being straight up items for the baby. My sister and I both love the jewelry company, James Avery, based in Texas and she helped me design a custom leather bracelet for Keith. I had our daughter's initials engraved on the metal cuff (sorry - keeping those a secret!) and once she's born, we're going to add her birth date too. Keith has given me a little bit of grief about having left too many of our kitchen and baking items stored in our parents' attics in Texas, and when it came time to baking cookies and pies for the holidays, one of the things he kept talking about was needing a rolling pin. So I bought him a marble one from Wayfair - it even comes with its own wooden base! Along the cooking lines, Keith has also been wanting a new coffee bean grinder for months. He made it very easy on me by leaving a tab open on his phone with an article about the best hand grinders, and my mom kindly ordered this Porlex Mini through Amazon for me. Lastly, I wanted to make one of his gifts this year, so I went through all of our photos of our pup Sadie, who passed away this summer, and created a custom Shutterfly album for him to display in our office alongside her collar.

This year Keith surprised me with a gorgeous Kate Spade handbag I've been eyeing for months, but never ever would actually buy myself (I'm all about the cheap, last me maybe a year, Target handbags). I cannot wait to pair this with some of my light, colorful dresses come this spring and summer! He also bought me two very fun reads, that I'm sure I'll be reading by book light during late-night feedings over the next few months. One is a comedic take on parenting with goofy illustrations and funny stories, "Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures". And the other is a book series I've been wanting for a while: "The Complete Sherlock Holmes". I read a few of the stories when I was younger and loved them! Lastly, he bought me a gift certificate for a spa day to a local all-women's day spa. I cannot wait to treat myself to a hot stone massage in the next few months post-pregnancy! I did treat myself to a few prenatal massages during pregnancy, but I'm assuming that post, I'll need one even more.

We really enjoyed spending more time together this year baking, decorating our tree and little apartment, exploring local holiday traditions, watching our favorite movies together, and exchanging gifts over soy nog with classic Christmas music playing in the background. I'd love to hear some of your favorite holiday traditions too!