Christmas 2020

As with much of the rest of the world, our Christmas was a bit quiet and low-key. Despite not being together in person with family or friends, our holiday was very, very special.

Ben and Hannah are at such a fun age for all of the holiday hoopla and were really into everything Christmas-related this year.

Knowing that our holiday would look different this year and that we wouldn’t be going out and doing Christmas things or baking a bunch of cookies put a bit of a damper on my enthusiasm this year. I just never felt fully in the Christmas spirit. Nevertheless, we had an absolutely lovely Christmas.

One of my favorite traditions, which I think will end this year, has been to cut down a tree from our forest to use as a Christmas tree. We don’t really want to be cutting down trees in forests anymore, so that’ll change next year. In any case, there was a beautiful 8-foot tree growing into our driveway that either had to move or come down. Alas, it became our Christmas tree!

Ben and Hannah were so into the process of retrieving the tree and Hannah was actually helpful in carrying it back down the driveway toward the house.

Ben’s time to shine came with the decorations. He was SO into it. So was Hannah. This was her first year really not being a baby and she was loving every second of every aspect of the Christmas season. Ben was a pro and knew just what to do.

It warms my heart opening up our boxes of Christmas decorations, particularly the ornaments. We’ve received so many memorable ornaments that have become extremely special throughout the years. My friend Carrie was shining so brightly in our decorations – since 2010 she’s been slowly adding to our collection, always complete with a note that takes me down memory lane.

One of my absolute favorite Christmas traditions is baking a tremendous, over-the-top number of cookies and bringing them to our neighbors and friends around the holidays. With the pandemic we decided to skip that this year. Instead of baking up a storm we whipped up a batch of M&M cookies and sugar cookies {I use this recipe for the cookies and this one for the frosting. You’re welcome.}.

{There is Hannah, just licking the powdered sugar off the counter and eating it….}

The kids had a really special time decorating their sugar cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve also marks our nephew, Nico’s birthday! This year he turned four. We had a virtual superhero birthday party with him to celebrate.

We are usually with Alex’s family for Christmas. Our brother-in law, Alberto, who grew up in Northern Italy, generally makes a massive pan of lasagna for Christmas Eve and Nico’s birthday. This year since we weren’t together I bravely asked for the recipe and decided to give it a go!

I think this might be the 9th Christmas that Alex has made cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning. Occasionally we do orange rolls too, but this year we stuck with the classic. The kids love to help him. Hannie was instrumental in the frosting.

Christmas morning was oh-so-special with the kids. Seeing the magic and merriment through their eyes was just precious.

By some miracle the kids slept in until 5:30 – we were sure our eldest would be up no later than 3 a.m. and were pleasantly surprised to find out he slept until his normal wake-up time.

We loved watching them open their stockings and see the big gifts that we opted to not wrap {they both got big cozy chairs, Hannah got a doll house and Ben got a set of wooden castle building blocks}.

One of our goals with holiday gifts this year was to buy the kids just a few open-ended toys that fostered pretend play.

I think we hit the nail right square on the head. The absolute best part of Christmas for me was watching how independently they played with their new toys, and now, a week later, how they are still loving their toys and playing together with them. It has been so fun to see what they come up with.

A big gift for Alex and me this year was getting our Nordic skate skis a few weeks ago. My mom was kind enough to get me a lesson, which was so helpful in putting a few pieces together. I think Alex and I are going to absolutely *love* skate skiing. We’ve now been a few times, separately, and are finding our groove. Now it’ll be great once we can go together! {I don’t think either one of us is quite confident to pull the kids in the ski trailer while skate skiing quite yet, which would allow us to go simultaneously…. soon, though.}

{I was classic skiing with the kids here}

We’ve been sledding a few times, skiing as much as possible and just getting out to play in the snow whenever we can. The kids love shoveling the deck, following animal tracks in the fresh snow and Hannah is now a pro “mountain climber” on the plow piles in our yard.

Our time out here at The Lodge has been so dreamy. It’s going to be really hard to leave to go back to Seattle after being here for so long. We feel so, so unbelievably grateful to be settled here, enjoying winter in the mountains. Wishing you well as we ease into the new year!