Save Money and the Environment Next Christmas!

Hello, my Gals!

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas ๐ŸŽ๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ…๐Ÿผ or whatever else you may celebrate, and that going into 2๏ธโƒฃ0๏ธโƒฃ1๏ธโƒฃ9๏ธโƒฃ has been full of fun and happiness and good things to come! ๐Ÿ˜Œ๐Ÿ˜Œ

A couple of posts ago, I said I’d share what I’ve been doing to keep things low cost this Christmas, so here ya go! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

That DIY label, tho. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ #nailedit

Just a quick photo of some Keto Honey Roasted Peanuts I made for my Dad with Type 2 Diabetes. ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿฅœ Sugar free and still delicious! ๐Ÿ˜‹

I used ingredients we already had, with the exception of brown sugar substitute and peanuts. Recipe linked in the top picture!


โค๏ธDespite being Introvert AF, I know and am pretty close with a lot of people. I have my biological family, my blended family, my in-laws, and my own growing family. Not to mention my diverse circles of friends.

That being said, I have a lot of people to shop for. Which I’m sure I don’t need to tell you can be stressful, both socially (wth do I get this person this time??) and financially.

In the past I could wild tf out on Christmas shopping with my “disposable” income, but with a mortgage, kids, and life expenses, I definitely don’t have that luxury anymore. ๐Ÿ˜…

I refuse to go into debt over the pressure of commercialism, but at the same time I do want to do or give something to my loved ones to show how much I appreciate them๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿฅฐ

So how have I managed to cut down on this stress this year? I’ll tell you! ๐Ÿ˜™๐Ÿ˜™


๐Ÿ›Stop Shopping Altogether๐Ÿ™…๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

In recent years, amongst my in laws we’ve all agreed to stop buying gifts for each other entirely, ๐ŸŽโŒ opting instead to enjoy each others’ company and maybe baking/cooking for each other.

This has been AMAZING. ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป Now we just get the kids gifts, which is honestly so much more fun! ๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ‘ฆ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ˜โค๏ธ

๐Ÿ’ฐSo obviously this is the best way to save money, and it encourages appreciation for what you already have. This would probably work best if you have a group of people that doesn’t need anything or who are impossible to buy for.

And if you don’t feel right not having anything to offer on Christmas Day, agree to make each other baked goods or freezer dinners or something of that nature. Everyone loves cookies and not having to cook! ๐Ÿ’ฏ

Not to mention, time spent together is so precious. The best gift we can give each other truly is ourselves. โค๏ธ๐Ÿ’ฏ

๐ŸงฎSet A Strict Budget๐Ÿ‘

If you don’t think any of your family members or friends would want to go the no-gifts approach, the next best thing is to set a strict spending budget for each person on your list. ๐Ÿ’ต

This year for my immediate and blended family, I set a budget for $10 per person. And you’d be surprised what you can find for under $10. ๐Ÿ’Ž๐ŸŽฏ๐Ÿคฉ

๐Ÿ’ญI’ve found that setting these spending limits forces me to be more creative and thoughtful with what I give. For example, I know my younger stepbrother is a guitar player ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿปโ€๐ŸŽค๐ŸŽธso I’ve bought for him this year and last a different guitar accessory he doesn’t have, but would be useful, that was under $10!

I did something like this with each person, thinking hard about their interests and needs and going Amazon hunting for the best items within my range. ๐Ÿ‘€

It can be helpful to perhaps look through your expenses and see realistically how much you can afford to spend on Christmas shopping. Then make a physical list of who you have to shop for, and do some…

For instance, if you can afford to spend $200 on gifts that season, and have 15 people to shop for, the price cap would be about $13 per person (dividing 15 by 200…Or is it 200 by 15? ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜… Math was never my strong suit).

Think long and hard about what each person needs or what would really make them happy, and set your sights on stores and websites that work with your ideas and your budget.

You could also coordinate with other family members to see what they are buying for others to see if you could contribute an add-on to their gift. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

For example, if you have a niece who is obsessed with LOL Dolls and you know Grandma is buying her an LOL Dollhouse, you could buy her a piece of furniture or whatever goes with that thing. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

Don’t feel the need to break bank over these fad toys. Chances are she’ll be over it in a year or two. ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ

๐Ÿ’กI’ve also seen on Facebook to start a fund in the New Year set aside for gifts for the next Christmas Season. So maybe every other paycheck set aside $5-10 or whatever you can swing and put it in a shoebox, open a new account, or whatever will help you not touch it until you start your shopping. ๐Ÿ’ต๐Ÿ’ฐ

๐Ÿ“œGive Them An IOU๐Ÿ˜˜

So this is my favorite because it combines repurposing with saving money and forces you to think outside the box. ๐Ÿ“ค๐Ÿ“ฆ

And it is helpful if you really can’t think of anything to get a person on your list that would be useful or appreciated within the budget you just set. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜…

As you can see, my DIY skills could get me a spot on Netflix’s Nailed It! ๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ˜‚

For my close friends this year, I got the idea (although I never checked to see if it was a case of parallel thinking but I like to believe this was an original idea ๐Ÿ˜…) to create “IOU Jars.”

๐ŸฅœI buy Teddy’s peanut butter for my family, which comes in a glass jar. In the past I have used these jars for storing food items, loose change, and even for other holiday-related things like hot cocoa and cookie mixes for Yankee Swaps.

This year, I took my collection of peanut butter jars and lids and filled them with my friends’ favorite candy that I purchased from the dollar store, a packet of hot cocoa that I got in bulk, and enclosed a personalized note telling them how much they mean to me and why I appreciate them individually. โค๏ธ๐Ÿฅฐ

On this note I also included an “IOU,” or something that I would get/do for them in the upcoming year.

๐ŸทSo instead of spending a chunk of change on a bunch of hastily picked out stuff for the sake of getting a gift (I go into panic mode if I don’t know what to get someone and I end up just grabbing stuff that they might vaguely like), I included in my note that I owed them either a matinee to see a movie they’re excited about coming up, a brunch date to a cute but affordable restaurant, or a night in with a bottle or two of wine for them to “cash in” at some point during the year.

This way, I still feel like I’ve gotten all my special friends a good gift, but didn’t have to stress about the extra expense all at once.

Not because they’re not worth it. They deserve that and so much more. โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธWe just happened to have a bit of unexpected expenses come up just before to Christmastime and money was getting a bit tight, so this idea came to light as a result.

๐Ÿ“ฆGo Ahead And Horde (Responsibly!)

Lastly as a bit of an afterthought, I save almost everything. Which as a recovering pack rat and someone who is trying to convert to minimalism can be a challenge, but in cases like this it helps!

๐Ÿ›๐ŸŽI have amassed a collection of gift bags and tissue paper over the years for birthdays, showers, and of course Christmas, so I actually haven’t bought any of the stuff in a couple of years. If you have the storage space, I highly suggest starting a big “bag of bags and tissue paper” you can visit for your gift-Giving needs.

I used to spend a ridiculous extra amount on gift wrapping… ๐Ÿ’ธ๐Ÿ’ธ๐Ÿ’ธ

Also, save those candy canes!! Most people don’t like to eat them, and I feel like a lot of them get thrown away, but they make super cute decorations for things other than the tree!

My Insta Pic skills arenโ€™t the sharpest, but just an example of what you can do with those cute candy canes! ๐Ÿ˜

๐ŸŽจAnd instead of spending extra money on decorations, make some with your kids! It will keep them busy and happy during cold days and your house will be festive and adorable!

Not to mention the priceless keepsakes you’ll have afterwards. ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿฅฐ

๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‘ฃMy little Vinnyโ€™s Christmas Tree Foot๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ญ

๐Ÿ’ฌDid I miss anything? What tips do you have for saving money over the holidays? Leave them in the comments!

Thanks for reading, my gals! โค๏ธ๐Ÿ˜

Stay tuned for posts on What’s In My Hospital Bag For Baby 2, Why Spending Time Away From My Son Makes Me A Better Mom, and maybe a Second Pregnancy Update/How This Time Is Different Than The First.

If any of those sound interesting to you, subscribe so you don’t miss it! ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜

I Used To Stress About The Holidays, Until–

Okay, I’m not gonna lie–I still stress about the holidays. ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜…ย But not NEARLY as much as I used to!

I know I said I’d be posting about a pretty emotional issue this time, but I’ve been having technical difficulties with that one…that will be next, I promise!

In the meantime, I came across this picture on Facebook this morning, so I felt like I needed to post about it.

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I had to ask myself, “Why, though?” Why does it have to be like that? I know the pressure is on around the holidays to give our families the “Perfect Christmas…” but why does this “Perfect Christmas” have to be so centered on gifts?

Yes, I understand we want our kids and our families to be happy and have the best, and it feels good to see a loved one’s face light up when you get them that perfect gift. Hearing the words, “How did you know!?” has the same effect as any good drug, in my opinion.

I used to agonize over what to get people for Christmas. I used to spend HOURS at the Mall going over random items debating in my head whether or not to buy them.

I’d ask myself, “Will so-and-so actually like this?” “Is this enough? What else should I get to go with it?” “Am I spending enough on this person?”

But everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked… ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ‘Š

Haha sorry, I couldn’t resist. ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜‚

๐ŸŽ„How Being A Mom Has Stopped My Christmas Stress๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆ

So my husband has always been very cost-efficient *coughcoughcheapcoughcough* and his money-saving skills have kept us living pretty comfortably over the 4+ years we’ve been married.

Me? Not so much. I was lucky to have about $200 in my savings when we merged our bank accounts. Let’s just say it was a blessing that I never had a credit card in my early twenties… ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ’ธ๐Ÿ’ณ

So much like Dr. Hammond in the original Jurassic Park, when it came to Christmas I used to “Spare no expense.” But, seeing as how I’m young with expendable income anymore, I’ve had to learn to adapt.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you all that having kids is expensive. It’s so true that they’re like those free apps with all the in-app purchases. They come with HELLA DLC, and you kind of need it to properly play the parenting game…

That being said, that leaves a lot less money to get people the type of gifts I used to be able to. Which admittedly at first was a little depressing, but it’s actually been more of a blessing than a curse.

Now that I don’t have tons of money burning a hole in my NES controller wallet, I have to think twice as hard about what to get people, and it has to fit within a tight budget.ย 

Because of this, I’ve learned to be much more thoughtful in what I give. Yes, the gifts are smaller, but they’re much more meaningful and practical, so my loved ones appreciate them more.

I’ve also begun making more things than buying, and even though my DIY skills could get me a spot on the Netflix series “Nailed It,” people are still genuinely happy when they get them, because they’re tailored to their interests and it really shows that I thought of them.

BTW stay tuned for what I think could be a pretty useful holiday hack for next year ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜‰

How You Can Let Go Of Some Of That Holiday Tension

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My response to the above image. Less Is More!

I feel like these days we’ve begun glorifying stress around the holidays. We stress about what to wear, what to cook, what photos to take, who to send cards to, what to buy, etc. We’re constantly bombarded with commercials commanding us to “Act Now!” so that we hurry and buy whatever it is they’re selling.

And let’s not forget the constant reminder of how many shopping days there are left until Christmas.

And as I mentioned before, I completely understand wanting to get the perfect gifts for loved ones. That’s why I haven’t completely stopped buying them. But, if it’s not reasonably within our budget, we shouldn’t feel compelled to go into debt just to satisfy a societal pressure to check off that list.

The whole point of that post, at least in my interpretation, was to say that parents with kids whose birthdays are close to Christmas have a rough go of it because they’re expected to buy extra for them. If that’s really your thing, then again, no judgement! But, it doesn’t have to be that way!

I’m trying to get in the habit of minimalism for my kids, as I’ve mentioned before. There’s so many benefits to it, and getting them in the habit early will help in the long run!

So if you’re a parent and have kids with Christmastime birthdays, and you’re stressing about how to make it all work, this could help! Do some modest gift-giving for Christmas and give a fulfilling experience (check your local library for ways to do this within a budget) as a birthday gift, allowing them to pick out a single souvenir.

Alternatively, if you’re having a birthday party for your child, odds are they’re going to get a slew of gifts from guests. You could try getting one meaningful gift for their birthday to show how special they are, and then give the smaller, but still special gifts for Christmas.

Sorry if this post didn’t make much sense this time! I’m working under a deadline at my library’s computer. Hopefully this helped bring a little insight and made you feel better if you’re struggling with stress right now.

Remember, it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Thanks for reading, my gals! Next time will be the emotional post.

How You Can Throw Your Babyโ€™s First Birthday Under $100!

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Our Mr. One-Derful on his official first birthday ๐Ÿฅณ๐Ÿฅฐ

The Force was strong with this little one on August 11, 2018, when we threw his very first birthday party with our friends. And then as of 9:26pm August 12, 2018, our little dinosaur officially turned a whole year old. 1๏ธโƒฃ๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰

In an effort to make things less overwhelming for him, (which seemed to go well?) we decided to have two birthday parties for our son. One with our close friends–his nonbiological aunts and uncles–and one with our closest family–his biological aunts and uncles, as well as his cousin, grandparents and obviously us. ๐Ÿ‘ช

Some people go all out with their child’s first birthday. And honestly, I don’t blame them! It’s a big deal! You got your baby to survive a whole year! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿ™Œย That’s something to seriously celebrate!

Honestly, the first birthday party was as much for me as it was for my son. Despite how incompetent I’ve felt these past 15 months, my son seems to be thriving. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™ย This may just be testament to his strong will, but I have to stop and think where did he get that from? ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜‚

That being said, we didn’t have a few thousand dollars to put down on a big hall and guest appearances by the actual Spiderman, nor did we feel like taking out a birthday party loan (yes, apparently that’s a thing). But we still wanted to make it special. ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–

Since we had two birthday parties, we ended up spending closer to $150-75ish when it was all said and done (including pizza for guests), but for two parties, and considering how many people we had at our first one, I’ll still call that a win! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜™


๐ŸฐHow We Cut Costs Like Birthday Cake:

๐ŸŽˆFor decorations, I scoured Party City online for their best deals for Star Wars themed decorations, hit up Oriental Trading for all things dinosaur, and of course visited the dollar tree to fill in the gaps on the cheap. ๐Ÿ’ณ๐Ÿ’ฐ

 

๐Ÿ•For food for guests, we ordered pizzas and asked guests to bring along some simple snacks. ๐Ÿ˜‹ย We also made cupcakes for our both parties respectively, as this ended up being much cheaper than buying birthday cakes. ๐Ÿง

 

๐ŸŽ‚Aside from the pizza, the only expensive part food-wise was Vinny’s smash cakes, banana cake made with almond flour with a greek yogurt and honey frosting (there’s my crunchy side ๐Ÿ˜‚โœŒ๐ŸŒฑ).

 

๐Ÿ“–I also made an attempt at a “Year Book” for our son for his friends and family to sign, marking all of his milestones and memories from his first year of life. I didn’t give myself enough time to properly work on it, but when he reads it after he graduates high school, all that matters is that he’ll see what his friends and family wrote to him all those years ago. ๐Ÿ’ญ๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ˜ญ

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๐ŸŽตI tried so hard…
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…and got so far๐ŸŽถ

But I know what you’re all really here for. ๐Ÿ˜‰ย So, without further ado, here are some tips on how to save on first birthdays:


๐ŸŽ€Got Any Leftovers?

If you have friends or family that have already had babies, ask them if they’ve hung onto any first birthday supplies, or just party supplies in general. You never know what you can repurpose until you look! ๐Ÿ‘€

๐Ÿ’กFacebook Marketplace and local Moms Groups might be a good resource for this, as well! ๐Ÿ‘

๐Ÿ’ต๐ŸŒณHit Up the Dollar Tree!

Dollar stores can be hit or miss, but a lot of times they have the basics like table cloths, paper cups, plates, etc. It can be tempting to get all of the themed partyware you see at the expensive party stores, but they’re not all necessary. ๐Ÿ™…ย For example, we ordered Star Wars Plates and Cups at Party City, but only half of what we would need. Then we got the rest with a matching color scheme at the dollar store.

๐Ÿ‘‘For another example, if your little girl were to have a (Sofia the) 1st Birthday party, you could pick up a Sofia table cloth, and then one to two (depending on the size of your guest list) sets of Sofia cups, plates, and maybe napkins, and then get the rest in purple or white. And voila! A party fit for a little Princess on a Pauper’s budget. ๐Ÿ‘ธ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ‘›

Resisting the urge to splurge on themed decorations and instead opting for the color scheme of streamers, balloons, etc from the Dollar Tree will help save a few pennies, as well. ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽˆ

๐ŸกStay Close to Home.

People get the idea that they need to have their kids’ first birthdays at a big hall, and if that’s what your heart is set on, and you’ve been saving for it since before your baby was born, then go for it! But you’d be surprised what you can do with your own living space. ๐Ÿคฏ๐Ÿคฏ

If you don’t have much to work with, but have a friend or family member with more space, ask them ahead of time if they don’t mind you having the party there! You can bake them an extra set of cupcakes to thank them for their troubles.

๐Ÿ›๐ŸŽDon’t go all out for gifts.

This one is hard, more so for some than others. We Mamas want our kids to have the world, but the reality is they don’t need all of the latest toys. The truth is, they’ll play with them for a while but then forget all about them, or play with the dang box instead! ๐Ÿ“ฆ๐Ÿ˜ซ

I love sticking to the minimalist gift rule every birthday and Christmas for my little ones, because more than likely they’ll be getting a bunch of gifts from friends and family as well. ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ’“Again, I totally get that rush from seeing your kids light up when they get that popular toy. But trust me, they’ll be okay without the entire LOL Dolls or Ninjago set. They might even be better for it. ๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ’“


Vinny’s first birthday was bittersweet. ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿ˜ญย A year really flew by, and the the years will start coming and they won’t stop coming and soon enough he’ll be 18…ย ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ตย I try not to think about it too much, despite how much I mutter under my breath that I can’t wait for him to go school when he’s driving me crazy. ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช

How many of you have the big Oh-One coming up? How many of you have already had it? What is/was your theme? Any other tips for readers? Leave them in the comments! ๐Ÿ’ฌ๐Ÿ˜™

๐Ÿ’–Thanks for reading, my gals! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜˜ย Next time I’ll get into how I worked through a sensitive pregnancy issue maybe some of you can relate to…

Less is More: What We Got Our Son For Christmas

((Another phone post! Gotta keep up momentum! ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜))

Henlo all! Hope your Christmases (if you celebrate it) were filled with love, good health, and fun! Ours was busy, but magical!

It was my son’s first Christmas, and got spoOo0o0oOo0o0iled! All of his family and friends were so excited to shower him with lovely gifts; clothes, toys, books, all of it very much appreciated! We’ll definitely enjoy them together for as long as possible.

While the generosity of our loved ones does not go unnoticed, having a 600 square foot apartment doesn’t leave us with much to work with in terms of storage. It was hard enough to keep our dwelling clean as a childfree couple (neither my husband nor I are the most organized people ๐Ÿ˜…), but add a baby into that mix and our little home quickly becomes a wampa cave.

This and the fact that we want our kids to be as non-materialistic as possible, and rely more on creativity and logic to independently entertain themselves, we’ve decided to adopt the minimalism rule of gift-giving: Something they like, something they need, something to wear, something to read. This is what we based our first Christmas gifts on for my son, and he not even being 5 months old, it doesn’t make much difference to him what we got, but I felt getting into the habit now and having him grow up with it will help make it just a way of life as he gets older. I’m working on getting my family and friends in on the concept, as well!

Anyway, here’s what we got for our son as a visual example!

Something He Likes

So as I mentioned, my son is just shy of 5 months, so he doesn’t really have much that he definitively likes aside from formula and shininess, but we kept in mind what he might like as he gets older and is able to play more independently

We found this guy on Amazon–we had gotten an Amazon gift card for our Baby shower which we used for gifts this year (we’d already gotten all we needed for our little guy), and found a waiting room toy for relatively cheap. We feel he’ll enjoy all of the multiple functions of this toy, the bead dragging, shape-fitting, etc, as he gets old enough to play on his own.

Something He Needs

Our Little Vinny has already had his first cold (at least we suspect so), so we purchased him some cold supplies. We found a nice all-natural version of vapo-rub for babies to rub on his chest and feet, an all-natural saline spray for stuffy nose, and fever bugs to stick on his forehead to see if he’s got a fever and/or bug!

Something to Wear

I had purchased a few holiday articles of clothing for Vinny in November, and saved this sweater for Christmas Eve and Christmas as his Something to Wear. The little reinfawn looked so cute in his ugly sweater ๐Ÿ˜ ๐ŸฆŒ

Something to Read

This book popped out at me while Amazon shopping, and I was instantly in love! It’s a simple book that helps encourage using your imagination by listing several animals and explaining why they, like Transformers, are “more than meets the eye.”So cute! And that’s our Baby’s first minimalist Christmas gift! What did your little ones get this year? Thinking of taking up minimalism? I’m addicted to minimalism on Pinterest, myself! Best wishes for the New Year! Tune in next time for the final installment of my first Pregnancy Saga: the Third Trimester!

20 Questions-Christmas Edition

Henlo!

So, I was challenged by my SIL at Becoming Rivera to answer these 20 Christmasy Questions. ๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ…๐Ÿผ๐Ÿคถ๐Ÿผ๐ŸฆŒโ„๏ธ๐Ÿ•Š

They say when you have children, your Christmas spirit is rekindled, and the holiday has a brand new magic to it. โœจ I don’t know about you, but that’s definitely true for me. I’ve been so excited for Christmas this year, even though we have less money this year to buy gifts. I love buying things for other people, but having one income, a hungry, hungry caterpillar for a baby, and in the middle of buying a new house, there aren’t exactly a lot of extra funds to go around. ๐Ÿ’ธIt just so happened that this year we were able to purchase gifts with gift cards, and we had to stretch it out like Elastigirl and Mr. Fantastic. ๐Ÿคธ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿคธ๐Ÿผโ€โ™‚๏ธ

I thought having a limited budget would be stressful, but it’s actually been fun! It’s made me think harder about what I get my loved ones, ๐Ÿค” putting that much more meaning behind the gift, and I’ve also been making a lot more DIY gifts for yankee swaps and gift baskets. ๐Ÿค— I’ve been saving every glass jar we’ve gotten this last year, in the interest of keeping them out of the landfills, โ™ป๏ธย ๐ŸŒŽย and I’ve been able to make some adorable hot cocoa and cookie kits with them. ๐Ÿช โ˜•๏ธ

Of course I can’t forget I have this little nuggit this year ๐Ÿคฉ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ’žย Best Christmas gift this world could offer โค๏ธ

All Dressed Up and ready for Target ๐ŸŽฏย ๐Ÿ˜‚

Okay, TL;DR, having a baby brings joy back into the holidays. I’m ready to observe my Savior’s birth surrounded by loved ones with my baby squished against me โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ

Now for a lil festive game of 20 Questions!

1. Use one noise to describe how excited you are for Christmas:

โ€œYeeeeeeeh~” LoL A tired excitement ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜ด

2. Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve?

I did with my father’s second wife’s family as a child, and we did at my father’s last year, since he, my brothers and I are all over the place with significant others’ families to keep up with ๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’ž

3. What holiday traditions are you looking forward to most this year?

A lot of old and a little bit of new. I’m excited to go to my Abuelos-in-Law on Christmas Eve and be a part of a large, loving family ๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘งโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘งโ€๐Ÿ‘ง๐Ÿ’ž and eat amazing, authentic Dominican food, ๐Ÿฅ˜๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿคคand then I can’t wait to roast bad Christmas movies with my Dad and brothers right after, ๐Ÿ˜‚๐ŸŽž then see my Dad, In-Laws, and Mom for Christmas. โค๏ธ๐ŸŽ„

I’m also excited to be implementing the minimalist Christmas gift rule of 4 (๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผsomething you like, โœ”๏ธsomething you need,ย ๐Ÿงฆsomething you wear, ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ๐Ÿ“–something youย read) for my son and future children. It’s super important to me to bring them up non-materialistic and against the pop cultural over saturation grain (as best as we can–and it’s okay to enjoy some of what popular culture has to offer, I just feel we let it run our lives sometimes, if that makes sense), so this minimalist guide will be the perfect way to help with that. #tryhardminimalist

Speaking of gifts, I can’t wait to give my siblings-in-law my lil Sobrina’s Christmas gift ๐Ÿ˜˜ ๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ’–

4. Is your Christmas tree real or fake? Fake and 4′ ๐Ÿ˜‚

5. What is your favorite Christmas film?

The Star Wars Holiday Special ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

But seriously, It’s a Wonderful Life and Home Alone ๐Ÿ’–

6. Where do you usually spend your holiday?Christmas Eve my husband and I and now our son first visit my husband’s Abuelos, and then we go to my Dad’s house, then Christmas day we go back to my Dad’s, then to my husband’s parents’, and then reconvene with my brothers and my Mom. ๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ’ž

7. What is your favorite Christmas song?All I Want For Christmas Is You ๐Ÿ’‹ย ๐Ÿ˜˜ย O Holy Night ๐ŸŒŸย ๐Ÿ’ซย and Hark the Harold Angels Sing ๐Ÿ˜‡ย ๐ŸŽถย ๐ŸŽต

8. What is your all-time favorite holiday food/sweet treat?

For dinner food, green bean casserole, ham and stuffing, for dessert, ded velvet cake, gingerbread, pumpkin pie ๐Ÿฅงย ๐Ÿฐย ๐Ÿ˜‹

10. Be honest: do you like giving gifts or receiving gifts better?Giving gifts! As I mentioned, I love buying things for people, and I always just feel awkward when people get me things. ๐Ÿ˜…Unless it’s my husband, for some reason.

11. What is your favorite thing about Christmas?The observation of Jesus’s birth (my faith is very important to me), spending time with my loved ones, giving, and just the general warmth and whimsy of the holiday season. ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–

12. When do you start getting excited for Christmas?After Thanksgiving ๐Ÿฆƒ

13. What is the best Christmas gift youโ€™ve ever received?Although it terrified me, it was the news that I was going to be having a baby. ๐Ÿคฐ๐Ÿปย ๐Ÿคฑย ๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿผย ๐Ÿผย ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆโค๏ธ

15. As a kid, did a sibling ever receive a present that you wished was for you?One Christmas all of my brothers got Nintendo DS’s and I kind of wished I’d gottenย one, too, but the same year Iย was given a ย video camera, which was awesome, and a lot of silly indie-indie films and home videos came out of it, so I was and still am extremely grateful๐ŸŽž๐Ÿ“ฝ

16. What would be your dream place to visit for the holiday season?Honestly, right here โ„๏ธ

17. Most memorable Holiday moment?My very first Christmas with my in-laws, back when I had only been dating my husband for a matter of months. I felt extreme levels of Greg Focker awkwardness, but everyone was so genuinely excited to meet me, and I just remember being in awe of how openly loving and happy everyone was. And being overwhelmed by the volume, physical and audial, of the family. But it was magical, and I remember making it my Christmas wish that someday that I might be worthy of being a part of that family. โค๏ธ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ’“๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’•

18. Do you make New Years resolutions? Do you stick to them?Sort of, and not really. But this year I plan on starting! โœ…

19. What makes the holidays special for you?L o v e. โค๏ธ

20. You have been granted one Christmas wishโ€ฆwhat will it be?To get back in shape ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ˜‚

So, that’s about it! I would challenge people, but I don’t know anyone else on this site yet, so if you feel so inclined, copy and paste these questions for your own blog, and tell your readers I sent you. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Tune in next time for my second trimester story and tips and tricks! Have a very, very Merry Christmas full of fun, good health, and blessings. ๐Ÿ’—