Christmas Round-Up

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Christmas 2017 is a fond memory now – it’s always so hard to believe that all of the waiting and anticipation for Christmas is spun away so quickly in the span of (less than) 24 hours. I love the Christmas season in a way that makes me shiver with excitement when October first arrives because that’s the beginning of the build up to the Christmas season…

I love it in a way that makes me sad to see December 26th arrive because its the day on the calendar that places me farthest from Christmas..another 364 days until THE day arrives again. The weekend leading up to Christmas was filled with all kinds of goodness and time spent with family – I thought I’d share some (okay – a lot) of the pictures from the past weekend!

I was gifted the day off work on Friday – which was unexpected and so very nice! I was able to sleep in, get in some much needed exercise (in an attempt to not completely give up on fitness during the holidays…) and finish watching Gunpowder before joining my family for lunch, grabbing last minute stocking stuffers and getting a brand new iPhone! Say hello to some better photos on the blog – yahoo!

Friday evening my family and I went to tour Belle Grove Plantation – a friend recently did renovations of an outbuilding and the tickets were free – and the house is gorgeous; it was especially so all decorated for Christmas!

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The tour was self-guided and so we were able to peruse the rooms at our own pace and take in all the decorations. There was a harpist in the main parlor playing Christmas tunes and each of the rooms had decorations that were especially curated for the room – it was a unique experience and ended with some spiced tea and Christmas cookies, yum!

Just a few of the multiple pictures I took – I’m a sucker for twinkling lights, greenery and all things Christmas adjacent, ha-ha!

Saturday was a long day – but a good day.  We took the metro into DC to check out the US Botanic Garden’s annual train display; this year it was themed to US Roadside Attractions, this display is always so fantastic – if you live near DC, it’s definitely worth checking out. The US Botanic Garden is beautiful year round but it’s especially magical during the holiday season!

The main hall of the Botanic Garden contains replicas of DC landmarks and each one is made entirely from plant materials. There are; of course, huge Christmas trees on either end of the hall, dancing bear topiary and poinsettias abounding. Inside the train display, there are numerous recreations small and large that showcase roadside attractions throughout the United States – again, all created from natural plant materials. I’ve included just a few (seriously – I took so many pictures) of my favorites below.

And for good measure – just a couple more from in and around the Botanic Gardens…because why not?

We wandered over to the Capitol to snap a few pictures and then continued on to Union Station to see the tree given to the US by Norway. We also grabbed lunch at Shake Shack before hopping in a cab and making our way to the Willard to see their Christmas tree and gorgeous gingerbread house!

The gingerbread house at the Willard was Mount Vernon and it was incredible – the details were so amazing; right down to the tiny eggplants and pumpkins in the garden!

We did pop over to check out the National Christmas Tree – but we arrived at the tree at the same time that the downpour arrived; the wind started to whip and the rain was driving… so I snapped one rather crummy picture (the tree looks better at night anyway) before scampering for shelter nearby. We popped into the White House Visitor’s Center long enough to pick up some ornaments and then hopped the Metro out of DC and back home!

Sunday – blessed Christmas Eve – I have almost no pictures of Christmas Eve! I have just a few from the morning… We slept in and then took brunch over to our friends house and passed the late morning sharing breakfast casserole, monkey bread, fresh fruit, conversation and laughter. We passed the afternoon doing a lot of nothing…I watched I Want A Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown and did some organization of my room (riveting Christmas Eve activities; to be sure!)

My sister and I watched Elf and then we all gobbled up some pizza before heading to a Christmas Eve candlelight service that was reverent and peaceful, focused on the true meaning of Christmas. While a part of me is always a little concerned that someone is going to burn down the church during a candlelight service, another part of me loves seeing all the gently flickering flames and hearing voices raised together in the half light the candle provides.

Our Christmas Eve tradition includes watching White Christmas and so we did just that before turning in for the night…Santa Claus can’t come until everyone is asleep, right?

Christmas Day dawned bright – but not too early. We lit the last candle of Advent while sipping coffee and tea, perused our stockings to see what they’d been stuffed with and then exchanged gifts. I was abundantly blessed and I’m reminded every year at Christmas just how much so.

After exchanging gifts, we had a delicious lunch and some people (not me) took afternoon naps. We all headed off the the movies to catch a late afternoon showing of The Last Jedi and rounded out the evening looking at some Christmas lights (although not as many as we’d hoped) and popping open some Christmas crackers!

Another Christmas come and gone – a memory to be reminisced over for years to come. And now there are only five days left in this year of 2017…I suppose I should go make them memorable, huh?

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