Christmas 2016

Just like that Christmas is over and it’s time to get back to reality. The holidays really seemed to come and go quickly this year. We were lucky enough to see both sets of parents and had a blast hosting our first Christmas in our own home! I only wish we could have spent more time together.

Our holiday weekend kicked off early when James’ parents came to town Thursday night. We took them to their first IU game of the season and had an absolute blast. It was fun to see how excited they got with every basket. You can’t beat the atmosphere inside Assembly Hall!

My parents got to town on Christmas Eve and we spent much of the day relaxing and preparing for my favorite holiday tradition, our annual appetizer buffet. Every year on Christmas Eve everyone makes a couple of appetizers to contribute and we have so much fun sampling finger foods and dips.

Our spread was quite impressive for just the six of us! We served a couple of old standbys, including two-ingredient creamy salsa dip, lightened-up jalapeno poppers and crockpot turkey meatballs.

My mom and I also decided to test out a couple of new dishes this year. She made a warm reuben dip and the best pimento cheese spread. Dips are always my weakness, which is why I never make them when it’s just James and me — we could knock out an entire bowl by ourselves. The dips definitely stole the show, but I was also a big fan of the Chinese chicken salad I made from Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings cookbook. It made a giant batch and the leftovers are great!

Of course, there was also festive beer included in the meal. We got another growler of Krampus from Bloomington Brewing for my dad to finally try and he was a big fan. We’re hoping to grab more before we head down to Nashville to visit my brother and sister-in-law this weekend.

After stuffing ourselves with multiple plates of delicious food, we all opened presents before James’ parents hit the road. Growing up we always opened presents from family on Christmas Eve and did stockings and gifts from “Santa” on Christmas morning. This year we decided to open everything on Christmas Eve. James and I have just done stocking stuffers for each other the past few years, but last year he went over the top by sneaking a Fitbit in there. I had to get him back this year and got a Nest thermostat that he’d been eyeing for awhile. It was installed less than 24 hours later!

Opening presents Christmas Eve made for a relaxing Christmas morning. I prepped egg casserole and skinny french toast casserole the night before, so I just popped them both in the oven when I woke up. We watched Gilmore Girls while waiting on breakfast and I’m pretty sure I got my parents hooked on the show. My mom kept asking to watch more episodes. We enjoyed breakfast and sipped coffee for a while before heading out to see the latest Star Wars movie. We’ve been going to movies on Christmas since I was a kid and it’s another tradition that’s become a favorite over the years!

My parents left town yesterday just as some of our friends were arriving for a quick reunion. Now our house is empty and we are exhausted! I head back to work for a couple of days tomorrow and then we’re back on the road to continue our holiday celebrations with the rest of our family. I hope your weekend was equally amazing and that you’re finding time to rest amidst the holiday madness!


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