Our Family Christmas

It’s no secret… We love celebrating big, and the holidays are no exception to that! I know it’s popular these days to slow down and simplify everything so you don’t lose sight of what Christmas is all about, but we have loved filling our days with holiday activities, creating new traditions and watching our kids truly enjoy the magic of the season. We thought it would be fun to give you a peek into our holiday home and share some of the traditions, old and new, that are special to our little family.

Part 1: Trimming the Tree

I’ve always loved decorating for Christmas. Even as a college student I chose to spend my money on Christmas decorations rather than buying required text books for classes; a decision I still fully stand behind! With every tree we set up and every garland we hang, the joy of the season seems to fill our home even more.

One of our traditions is to hand-make the garland on our tree. Over the years we have done everything from paper chains to even making a garland out of paper clips and fancy tape! This year we chose to make a classic popcorn garland. While slightly tedious, we found it relaxing and enjoyable, especially with a holiday movie playing in the background. If you want to give this garland a try here are a few tips we learned along the way: Pop your popcorn the day before you want to make the garland, so it can become stale and more styrofoam like. This makes the popcorn more firm and less likely to crumble. Use a sharp needle threaded with fishing line, and only work with four to five foot sections at a time. Also, make sure to leave enough fishing line at the end of each garland section so you can tie the ends together as you place it on the tree. It takes a little bit of patience, but it really was fun to see it all come together.

Part 2: A Tree of Their Own

I love having multiple trees throughout our home. When Jamie and I lived in a 632 square foot apartment, I somehow managed to squeeze eight Christmas trees into that tiny space. Out of control? Maybe a little, but the more the merrier right? With that mindset, we added a new tradition this year of decorating small trees for each of our kids in their own room. Grey has decorated, undecorated and redecorated his tree more times than I can count, and I just love watching his creativity blossom. He picked out his own ornaments and has clear opinions about where each one should be placed. I think we have a budding wedding designer on our hands!

London’s tree is filled with everything pink and girly to match her room. Each time we turn on the tree lights when she wakes up, she’ll wave and point to her tree and say “wow”. So until she has a voice and an opinion to tell us otherwise, we are really enjoying all the pink that has entered our home since she was born!

Part 3: All Decked Out 

In the same way that we deck the halls for the holiday and make our home a little fancy, we also love to get a little dressed up throughout the season. While I fear some might think this is pretentious, that is really not our heart behind it. Dressing up is not something that happens on a normal day, so getting all decked out feels special and makes this time of year feel even more extraordinary.

We started yet another new tradition this year. Every year we are going to get dressed up and head to downtown Seattle for a family date. This year we went to an interactive concert for little kids at the Seattle Symphony and then we stayed at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel where we visited the Teddy Bear Suite, enjoyed a classic holiday tea in the Georgian Room and then visited Santa. It was such a special day for our family and the start of a beautiful tradition I am excited to see unfold each year. I think my favorite part was when Grey discovered that his personal tea sandwich tower also had macarons on it, he declared at the top of his lungs (for all to hear!) “It’s a macaron Da-Da!”  Meanwhile my 10 month old baby quietly sat next to me delighted to be eating her own scone.

We also continued our annual tradition of hosting a dress up holiday party. I started doing this in college for all of my friends. Instead of studying for my finals, I would spend the week baking and preparing for my big Christmas party at the end of the week. I loved spoiling them with abundant food, desserts and drinks. It was my gift to my friends, and a way to cultivate a deeper sense of community by using my talents and passions to serve the people I love and care about. Eighteen years later, our holiday party looks a little different, but the heart and purpose behind it has not changed and it remains one of my favorite holiday traditions that I look forward to each year.

In keeping with the tradition I mentioned earlier in this post, we also made our lunaria garlands. I’ve been a bit obsessed with lunaria as of late; I love how natural it is while still feeling ethereal and whimsical. I had a pile of it left over from a wedding, so I decided to put it to good use in our home for the holidays. We created the garlands by cutting down the lunaria bundles into smaller bundles, and then taping them together with classic masking tape. We then taped those little lunaria bundles to a long piece of wire, overlapping one bundle on top of the next until we reached the length we needed. This was also a bit tedious and time consuming, but worth the results. We didn’t put many ornaments on our tree this year as we loved the statement of simplicity that the lunaria made.

Part 4: Let Them Eat Cake… and cookies and every other treat! (in moderation of course)

We love to bake. It’s almost therapeutic to me… well until I see all of the dishes I need to wash! During the holidays, we make marshmallows, caramels, pies, cakes in addition to rolling out countless sugar cookies and gingerbread men. Another yearly tradition for us is to host our friends for a cookie making party. It might take months to clean up the last of the sprinkles that fall to the floor, but it is totally worth it for the joy that comes from what we create together!

This year we are sharing our soft gingerbread cookie recipe. It is absolutely the best! You can control how crisp your cookies become by adjusting how long you bake them, so make sure to experiment with your first round! You also need to think ahead. This recipe is best when you let the dough rest in the fridge overnight before rolling them out. I have found this to be the perfect recipe for the holidays and we hope you enjoy it too!

Whatever your traditions may be and no matter what holidays you choose to celebrate, our family wishes you a season filled with joy, love, laughter and perhaps a few gingerbread cookies.

photos: Alanna Maria Photography

calligraphy and recipe design: LaHappy

download and print our gingerbread cookie recipe

A new perspective

Today is my thirty-eighth birthday. I woke up early this morning intending to spend time setting new goals and dreaming big for the year ahead. This is a yearly tradition for myself; I like to think about where I am, where I want to go, who I want to become, think big for our future and then figure out the steps I need to take to move closer towards seeing those dreams come to fruition. It’s no secret that I am a dreamer… Jamie would probably tell you that sitting down and dreaming about the future is one of my love languages and the way to my heart.

But something different happened this morning. As I started thinking to the future and worked to define new goals, something inside of me told me to just stop, reflect and give thanks. As my mind wandered through the blessings in my life, my heart nearly exploded as I thought through the people who fill my life with greater joy than any accomplishment, dream, wedding or project ever will. My family… my tribe… my people. They are my dream and the best part of life.

Dreaming big is a beautiful thing… but sometimes it causes you to rush past the beautiful life you might already have. It can be a struggle to find the balance of wanting more for your future while just being content in the moment. In the past I’ve feared that contentment would lead to complacency, but as I’ve grown older I’ve come to realize that contentment leads to greater joy.

So this morning I am going to hit the pause button on all my dreaming and scheming to be still, give thanks and enjoy the people I get to call “mine”.

And… of course I walked away with a few new goals for this beautiful year ahead. What are they? To love more fiercely, to give thanks more often, to choose joy and to be content through whatever my circumstances may be. Something tells me these new goals will give me the strength to soar to even greater heights.

Thirty-eight… you might be the best year yet.

photography: Alanna Maria Photography 

Christmas with Grey

sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-50sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-2sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-3 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-4 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-5 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-6 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-7 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-8 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-9 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-10sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-11 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-12 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-13 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-14 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-15 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-16 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-17 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-18sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-19 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-20 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-21 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-22sinclair-and-moore-christmas-home-2017-23I can’t believe it’s almost Christmas. This has been such a fun season for our little family. We decked out our homes, baked loads of cookies, took a quick trip to Disneyland, visited Santa (dare I say with lots of screams and tear filled eyes), watched toy trains go round and round, hosted a cocktail party, played in freshly fallen snow, braved the malls with an independent toddler, and danced around the fire place with Christmas music playing in the background. We have tried to make the most of this magical time of year, and have created memories we’ll cherish for our lifetime.

Next year we’ll be hanging another stocking, adding another dancer to our routine and trying to keep two more little hands away from sneaking another cookie. In just a few short weeks we will meet the newest member of our family, and our life will forever change as our hearts expand to experience a fuller love than we can possibly imagine right now. The reality of our growing family feels more real every day, and we are so excited.

But for now, it’s only the three of us and so we are celebrating and savoring sweet moments with just our one little person, and treasuring life the way it is.

From our growing family to yours, we truly wish you a Merry Christmas, and a wonderful holiday season.

photography: Alanna Maria Photography