I was feeling decidedly Grinchy about the holidays a few weeks ago — probably because at that time we still had tentative plans to travel back to Oregon in December, which have thankfully been scrapped in favor of staying in Seattle — but now I’m doing all sorts of ridiculous shit like listening to Christmas music on purpose and buying gifts when there’s PLENTY of time yet to panic and pay rush charges.

I’ve even been wrapping presents, which is a strange exercise in psychology. No matter how many times I do it, I always think it’s going to be an enjoyable activity, and it pretty much never is. I always think that this time I won’t be so terrible at it — I won’t get wads of dog hair stuck in the tape, I’ll be able to do those neat end-box folds, and I’ll measure the paper correctly instead of having to hack at one end once it’s halfway wrapped — but no: every time, my presents look like they were assembled in a mental institution during art therapy, and the entire process makes me vaguely despairing and wishing I’d bought some of those fancy gift bags instead.

JB is secretly jealous of our neighbor whose yard is ablaze with electronic cheer (every time we drive by their house, JB mumbles darkly under his breath and rushes off to buy more LED strings), and I have this seemingly bottomless desire to frill up our house with decorations. I’m not sure what’s going on, but if you catch me perusing a goddamn fruitcake recipe, please slap some sense into me.

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Marvyn
13 years ago

Regarding gift wrapping: Buy a solid green or red plastic heat shrink wrap to cover gifts. All you would have to do is seal it in a press and then use a heat gun to shrink it to fit. Add a bow and it’s acceptable looking. Besides, they’re going to tear it off anyway and you would have saved hours.

BTW, love the images.

justmouse
13 years ago

we pretty much always use gift bags, they are easy and reusable. between family and friends and inlaws, i think we’ve kept the same group of gift bags going around for several years :)

btw, your house looks all homey and christmasy and wonderful :) it probably smells like gingerbread too.

Carmen
13 years ago

Your tree is gorgeous! My husband is heading out of town so we won’t get ours until next Sunday :( But I must know where you got your advent box thingy. That’s exactly what I’ve been looking for for years now!

Keaton
Keaton
13 years ago

My only question is whether you’ve revisited this little holiday gem:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TD4g0gmQSLk

Kristi
13 years ago

I like the antlers on JB. Adds that nice, festive touch to his outfit.

Mrs. Breedorf
13 years ago

I forgot that I wanted to get an advent calendar this year and now I’m already 7 days too late. Your image reminded me. Lovely tree, lovely home. Seems very festive. Bake some cookies and invite me over, please.

Naomi
13 years ago

I like your photos. :)

Lisa
Lisa
13 years ago

Great photos. And Riley with a saw….don’t tell me you’ve trained him to cut down his own tree? Nice work! Im always looking for ways to tire out a 3 yr old, and I imagine manual labor would work. :) ha ha

Carl Coryell-Martin
Carl Coryell-Martin
13 years ago

Best *goddamn* fruit cake recipe ever:
http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2003/12/18/184436/87

and the product is delicious.

Happy “Hari Raya Haji” also known as slaughter a goat because God didn’t really make Abraham slaughter his son day.

Carl C-M

Jess
13 years ago

Preeetttttyyyyy tree. We just bought our first indoor tree this year. Usually we string lights on a dead planted cedar on a stump outside the house but now that we have a kid….whoooollleeeee different story. Ive got my christmas on this year and what fun it is! We will be skipping the fruitcake, however.

AmyQ
13 years ago

I am also excessively festive this year, and my theory is that Stella’s enthusiasm is rubbing off on me. There is nothing like a toddler in the house exclaiming every 5 seconds “Its chwistmas time! I wove Chwistmas! Look at the chwistmas wights!” to get you feeling all sappy and festive.

Beth
13 years ago

I have just had my christmas cup filled with cheer thanks to these photos (in fact it may have runneth over). That tree is awesome. I think that Christmas in the states is just how it should be…cold weather, getting rugged up, big trees…hot weather here in Australia just doesn’t quite fit ‘the’ picture. Looks great!

Anji
13 years ago

Is the fourth picture a kind of wooden bus with doors on both sides for chocolates/sweeties to go in, as an advent calendar? If so, Orion has exactly the same one. My mum bought it for him in a little shop here in England… he loves it!

warcrygirl
13 years ago

I know a easy way to get those end folds every bit as pretty as they do at the gift wrap station at the mall. Just tuck the sides in first; then fold in the top and bottom. Be sure you have the excess trimmed off first and don’t be afraid to use a bit of tape as an anchor. I must be a freak of nature or something because I LOVE wrapping gifts!

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
13 years ago

Your tree looks so nice. I decorated ours yesterday and can never get the lights right.

I also HATE HATE HATE wrapping presents. I am the same way, I always think this year will be better/easier and it never is.

I have the same advent calendar but I am not using it this year. Previous years we would fill each day with a little toy for Eric, my MIL bought it for us about 3 years ago.

Amanda
13 years ago

OMG the reindeer antlers on Dylan – SO freakin cute!

I’ve been decidely Grinchy myself this year. Not a decoration to be found at our house yet. We’re traveling so I just don’t see the point… EH.

Kari
Kari
13 years ago

I love your tree topper! You guys have such a great sense of humor! Where did you get your advent calendar? I’ve been looking for one like that for a few years…

Christie
Christie
13 years ago

Laughing histerically right now…if it’s a gift frommy house there is a GUARANTEE that there will be loads of dog hair stuck in every piece of tape! My husband also needed some gift wrapping training because we are wrapping gifts for charity this weekened. So, at Thanksgiving my grandmother sat with him and gave him the step by step instructional…it was hilarious!

Wishing you and your family a happy and safe holiday season!

emily
emily
13 years ago

does riley fuck with the tree? we’ve gotten a tabletop tree the past few years to thwart toddler/baby attacks on it but are considering getting a full size one this year. i’m a little terrified that one tug will send it toppling down on top of our 2.5 year old.

Janssen
13 years ago

Oh, it all looks so lovely!

Marie Green
13 years ago

There is nothing I love more than sitting in a room with just the christmas tree lights glowing. It is just so cozy and warm and, well, COZY.

Your holiday pictures are awesome- I’m a bit jealous of your photography skills. Jealous in a inspired sort of way, OF COURSE.

Tina
Tina
13 years ago

Don’t worry about it… my tree is cocked at a 45 degree angle and despite my best efforts to shift it’s placement in the stand, whisper sweet nothings in its branches and promise it the first batch of grandma’s holiday fudge, it ain’t budging. I find after a few glasses of merlot, I can’t tell anyway.

Andrea
13 years ago

Your house looks gorgeous!

Where did you get that hat with the ear flaps for Dylan? I absolutely must have one for my baby – I have trouble keeping his ears covered when we’re out walking the dog.

Thanks.
:)

ElizabethZ
13 years ago

Even with giant antlers on his head that kid is still smiling – what a happy kid he is. We have really outdone ourselves so far, my husband keeps adding, more lights, more lights, homemade wreath on the gate this weekend, then more lights to that….the electric bill is going to be huge, but it sure does look great!

I think a lot of people are getting into the spirit and doing things early this year (I am almost done w/ shopping too, haven’t begun the wrapping debacle however) It’s the economy and such, it allows us all to kind of forget about how crappy things were/are and feel hopeful!

Your pics are just great – enjoyed them!

Cindy
Cindy
13 years ago

Is that the Linux penguin on Dylan’s hat in the second picture? Either way, very cute hat and even cuter child.

nonsoccermom
13 years ago

Great photos!! We finally dragged our decorations out of the attic yesterday, so maybe sometime this week our house will be a little more festive…

And as always, your kids are freaking precious.

Kalisa
13 years ago

Dylan looks like he’s perusing the toy catalog to make out his wish list.

Christine
Christine
13 years ago

I love the shot of your son “reading” the toy catalog. We got an EToys catalog in the mail a few weeks ago and my 2 year old LOVES it. We’ve read it at least 30 times, she even brought it to daycare a couple times. She calls it her toy magazine.

It snowed here (Boston) a little yesterday! No better way to get into the xmas spirit than that. The question now is how do I get out of the xmas spirit and into work spirit??

Ashley
13 years ago

These photos are lovely Linda :)

And Carmen: I just saw several styles of these box advent calendars at Target.

Carolyn
13 years ago

ohmigosh…Dylan’s cheeks in that second picture? I’ll take those instead of christmas cookies. So cute.

your advent calendar brought to mind the current hellhole I’ve dug myself into regarding advent calendars; outlined here in glorious detail if you’re interested: http://guwisays.blogspot.com/2008/12/even-chupacabra-gave-you-that-candy.html

Also-the antlers? I love them.

Donna
Donna
13 years ago

I so wish I lived closer so I could babysit and the night before christmas to them! Ya’ll are sooo cute! And your house is awesome.

Donna
Donna
13 years ago

Read the night before Christmas, read!

bessie.viola
13 years ago

I love that Dylan is perusing the ads in one of the pictures. That is currently one of Madeline’s favorite activities – it’s so maddening, because inevitably she chews off a little corner and I have to fish WalMart particles out of her mouth. :)

The house looks great! Love the tree – so jealous that you have a real one!

Mel
Mel
13 years ago

is that supposed to be a moral compass?
if so, that is the best christmas tree topper EVER.

pseudostoops
13 years ago

Must top Christmas tree with compass! Inspired idea! So cool!

Kristen
Kristen
13 years ago

I’ve been reading your website / looking at your pictures for a long time now and I just must say YOU ARE SO TALENTED! There, I said it. I feel better now. :)

victoria
victoria
13 years ago

Oh, can I come visit your house? It looks so welcoming.

victoria
victoria
13 years ago

Oh, can I come visit your house? It looks so welcoming.

Mike T.
Mike T.
13 years ago

I’d have to say “reluctantly festive” is a pretty good descriptor. Every year, sometime between Thanksgiving and my mom’s birthday (Dec 7), I start Grinching about all the hoopla of putting up lights, dragging the tree out of the attic, etc. But then, after wrapping a tall tree with lights and nearly falling out of it into my front yard, I get this (verbatim) reaction from my 3.5-yr-old son:

“Daddy, we got CHRISTMAS LIGHTS! That’s BEAUTIFUL!”

And then I quit my bitching.:-)

erin
13 years ago

I LOVE wrapping presents! That’s one of my favorite things this time of year. I hate gift bags, though, which is all my mom uses. I used to wrap all my families’ gifts, too, when I was a kid.

Holly
13 years ago

if i had a baby who looked that fetching in antlers, i’d probably get into the holiday spirit too :)
your decorations look great, awesome photos too! My favorite is the one of the snowglobe.
I’m NOT into xmas this year . . . there’s too much ado lately with my wedding (coming in March), our new condo, and my jewlery business. Sigh. Maybe next year I’ll be in a more festive mood . . .

Leslie
13 years ago

Awesome.

Texxla
Texxla
13 years ago

1. Your home is awesome!
2. Love the pig tails!
2. I have seen similar advent calendars at Target as recently as this weekend.

Merry Christmas!

willikat
13 years ago

cutest family everrrrr.

Stella
13 years ago

I note that your gifts are up on the shelf instead of in the traditional location, under the tree. Do you by any chance share your home with toddlers?

Cyndi
13 years ago

Casey sent me over here, and just in time, it appears – get your kids to wrap the gifts and all is forgiven ;-) I was the same way and fancied myself capable of the geometry…now I just credit them. Your pix are amazing, and I am an advent-aholic – they have a similar box type at Target this year (because I’m not patient enough for thrift stores). Your family is beautiful and I want to move to Seattle – thanx for sharing. Merry Christmas!

Val
Val
13 years ago

When I was a kid, I loved wrapping presents and I wrapped all the presents for my mom. She would put all the presents into boxes. Then she would write the name of the recipient on the box (or later since we reused boxes, she would tape a piece of paper). Maybe you could con Riley into wrapping presents for you when he gets a little older.

jenB
13 years ago

Oh, those reindeer antlers are adorable on everyone. Your husband is pretty cute. :-) I ALSO love the pigtails. This is a wonderful set of photos.