Christmas 2013 Recap

Marian ParsonsDecorating, Holiday54 Comments

I’ve gotta say…it was really tough for me to get in the spirit of Christmas this year.  I’m not sure what it was.  It’s my favorite time of year and I usually can’t wait to put the tree up and start listening to my Christmas play list.  I love the decorations all over the house, the lights, the food, the get-togethers, the white elephant gift exchanges and the Christmas plays.  I don’t know why, but this year it felt like something I had to get through and I hate even saying that!

Christmas day, though, was wonderful and festive and fun and all of the things it’s supposed to be and made me glad I dragged myself into the Christmas spirit.  My husband ordered some pastries from a local 5 star bakery for everyone to enjoy in the morning as we opened presents…

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…and I put out some bing cherries my husband found for me as an early Christmas present (they are my favorite) and some clementines, so it wasn’t all butter and sugar.

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All of our family arrived at 8:30 and the present opening commenced.  This year was much more about the boys, but I had a pretty nice Christmas myself!  In what’s becoming a Christmas tradition, my husband got me a pair of boots…

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I saw these in an Athleta catalog a few months ago and fell in love with the laces and buckles.  I looked them up on line and discovered they were made by Timberland, so I knew they would be carried in other stores.  They were $180 from Athleta and only $80 from Macy’s!  I usually let my husband buy my presents, but I told him about the deal, so he gave me the green light.

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(Since a lot of people are asking, you can find the boots HERE at Macy’s, but they’re $150 now.  A reader found them on Amazon for about $110, though.  Yes, I do think they run a bit small and narrow as some of the reviews state, but they fit me perfectly.)

Now I need to find some leggings and skirts to wear with them.  They’re a little too tight at the top for jeans.

I also got some pretty scarves, gift cards to Mod Cloth and Athleta and some cash to spend as well.  I went out yesterday and spent some of that money on some makeup products at Ulta.  I felt so out of my depth there!  I spent a lot, but they do accept returns if something isn’t working, so I felt a bit more relaxed about it and I know these products will last a really long time.

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One gift I’m really excited to “play with” is P90x3.  I pretended to cry when my husband gave it to me and asked him what he was trying to say by giving me such an insensitive gift.  Of course, I did have it on my list!  I really need a new challenge to continue to my weight loss and fitness journey, so I’m going to commit to doing the full program and hope it gets me to my goal.

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I just want to look like this…

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Is that really too much to ask?

Anyway, there was lots of Lego building and magic tricks and balls of wrapping paper on the floor.  It was a hustle and bustle day and I was about ready to collapse at the end of it.

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Our traditional Christmas meal is tenderloin steak, which as a vegetarian, I didn’t eat, so I made myself a crust-less quiche.  The sides are homemade hash browns, cheese grits…

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…roasted asparagus, rolls…

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…and a congealed fruit salad that was my great-grandmother’s recipe.  It’s so 1950’s retro, but I look forward to it twice every year at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  My great grandmother used to make it once a week and chill it in single-serving jello molds for her grand kids.  She was quite a woman and most of our family recipes come from her and her cook.

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I got to use some of my new ironstone butter pats at each place setting.  I can see why the idea was popular. I didn’t hear, “Can you pass the butter?” one time!

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 …and we tried taking family pictures while we were all together, which is always an adventure.

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 Here’s a picture of my lovely sister in law when her eyes aren’t crossed.

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She got me hooked on the word/speed game Banana Grams.

The boys are out of school until after New Years, but otherwise things are settling back into normal.  I took the tree down already and will start the post-Christmas clean up over the next couple of days.  I’ve set some deadlines for myself in January on a couple of big business projects I’ve been working on, so I need to start getting geared up to get back to work.

And I need to start working out again after all of that food!  I actually did this morning, but I need to get into a routine.

That’s a recap of my Christmas.  How was yours?

Christmas 2013 Recap

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54 Comments on “Christmas 2013 Recap”

  1. FYI The heading says 2014. 🙂

    Looks like a lovely Christmas and I will have to check out that smashbox stuff.

  2. I felt a little out of sorts this Christmas, too. Thanks for being so honest and true. (Didn’t intend this to be a poem, lol). Those boots are awesome and hopefully we’ll get to see you wearing them.

    I love how you always try to save for what you need. So many of us have to do the same, and it really is exciting when you can finally get what you saved for. I will be purchasing your book as a little present for myself with a gift I received. May you and your family enjoy the rest of the holiday and best wishes for a very happy, healthy and blessed New Year! Looking forward to reading your blog!

  3. Love your boots and I’m a bananagrams fan too! Have played it before, but just bought my own yesterday at a 1/2 price sale! I’m a word game freak and its hard to find someone willing to play with me. Hmmm….wonder if there’s an online version.

  4. One of the things I like about you is your transparency. I was just talking with a friend about the importance of taking that risk. You do it well!
    This Christmas held a special blessing for my husband and me, because my MIL (who is 95 and has dementia) was able to come to have lunch with us on Christmas Day. Although she could barely speak when she came, we seated her across from the window where our bird feeder is located. Soon, she was enjoying watching the bluejays fly in to steal peanuts and a huge flock of finches gathered around the sunflower seeds. For nearly 2 hours, as we ate and enjoyed the sight, God brought 3 species of woodpeckers, nuthatches, mourning doves, juncos, gold finches and red finches, and bright bluejays to entertain us. Mom was counting birds (out loud) and even remembering events from her childhood. And she, who has little appetite these days, was eating ham and fried potatoes and applesauce and home-grown sweet corn and lots of cookies. When it was time to go home, she whispered, “Good-bye”.

    1. Kat, What a special Christmas with your MIL! I can just imagine her sitting, watching and counting each bird. Got a little choked up at the end, and so I went to light a candle for her. Thank you for sharing this lovely story!

    2. Kat,
      That is just beautiful! God blessed you for including your mother in law in your celebration despite her age and condition by giving you such a treasured memory.
      Thank you for sharing!

  5. I love the idea of butter plates. My grandmother used to set out a bunch of little salt and pepper shakers all over the table. She also made a jello that was green and had fruit and sour cream in it we all loved it but none of have the recipe.

    I just the other day notice the picture of the white cow in your header. Was that a flea market find? I love her!

    Happy New Year to you and your family.

    1. Colleen, I wonder if my family’s green jello salad is the same as yours. As well as the ingredients you mentioned, mine includes diced celery, and pecans and the fruit is maraschino cherries and pineapple.
      My mother would make it at Christmas and I always loved it. Very few of my small gathering cares for it, but I make it and enjoy it every year.

  6. Marian, I, too, love your transparency. Thank you for sharing aloud what so many of us feel at the holidays, but are too afraid to speak. I always feel sad, even though I am surrounded by my children and other family. While I am try to be grateful, I always feel guilty (and not just a little) about how blessed I am when there are so many with nothing.

    And I agree, the little ironstone butter dishes are so sweet and so very practical. I love it when beauty and function merge!

  7. For years and years it was just us 4, my hubby and two sons who are now in their 30’s. Well, 2013 brought us a daughter-in-law, a 10 year old grandson and a “probably our DIL in 2014” lovely young woman. We had a houseful and so much fun!! Thanks for sharing your day.

    PS: I always seem to want to know this stuff, but please tell me the manufacturer of those butter pats. Love them!

  8. Love those boots, Marian!
    Oh, and I would love your recipe for crustless quiche. I am not vegetarian, but I am gluten-free, so I have to pass on anything with crusts.

    Our Christmas was quiet – just the two of us and our English Setter, and it was white too. We didn’t have any fresh snow, but plenty was left over from the snow storm we got the previous week. All three of us went out for a Christmas morning walk around our neighborhood, and it was so pretty and quiet. We only came across another couple walking their dachshund. It seemed like everybody else was still asleep.

  9. Your grandmothers congealed fruit salad looks divine…would it be possible to share this old
    time recipe.??? From what I can make out….I love the cherries and pineapple in this. Not sure what else is in it. I’d love to have this recipe …please.
    Thank you.

  10. Marian, Thank you for sharing your Christmas with us. I felt out of sorts on Christmas morning because my husband and I were alone; all the kids are grown with growing families doing their own family things. But once I got lunch underway for us to share with my mother, I felt better.
    I miss the times though with extended family where we would just play and goof around as you and your sister in law were in the photo. It is nice to see someone post a photo of just good, clean, harmless fun. I am sorry that someone that is obviously so politically correct that she had to criticize that fun in the comments.
    So glad you had fun!

  11. This is a tad embarrassing but I feel I should tell you. I was about to remove your blog from my inbox after only a couple of weeks. I’ve only skimmed them after requesting the emails, which I signed up for because of your being mentioned in some other blogs I followed. I am sick of blogs seeming ‘hoytie toytie’ (?lol) showing all of their wonderful homes, furnishings, and awesome lives. The Christmas tours of others houses really tee’d me off in other blogs. And buying the highest priced items for their DIY ‘crafts’ ? I do not want to see that when I’m a DIYer out of need, not fun. But your blog today slapped me in the head. As you can probably tell, I’m a bit depressed this time of the year also. With you and especially Ellery Flynn today, I have opened my eyes and heart once again and realize how judgmental I can be. I’m sorry I jumped to that conclusion and I WILL be keeping your emails coming 🙂 (and reading all of it 🙂

  12. Truly loved the pic of you and your beautiful sister-in-law. Its nice to know our family is not the only one that gets a little crazy at picture time. My poor mom can never get a straight faced shot from any of my six (6) kids!

  13. Love the boots. They are so cute would wear them all the time. I also am a big cherry fan. Happy holidays.

  14. I haven’t been on your website much this year–probably just after Christmas last year. I just want to say you look fabulous. Maybe you’ll inspire me to be more regular about exercise this year! Congratulations!

  15. OMG! thanks for shopping for me. I have been on the lookout for a pair of boots, black though…for two years. They are perfect! I scoured the Internet, with no avail like the bargain you received, but I did find them in black on Amazon for $109.00! Yahoo! Just ordered them. They have fab reviews. I also appreciate your comment about moving through the holidays. I often hate all the commercialism in Christmas, and therefore want it to be all over, yet love the festivities and many other things that go along with it. Love your blog and read it daily. You are talented and have such a humble style.

  16. I love Christmas and everything about it! It was really nice to know that I wasn’t alone this year with not feeling into it! However, I am grateful that I was able to finally get into it. (Not real sure why I felt that way this year). Anyway just wanted to say thank you for sharing your holiday experience with us and hope that you have a Very Blessed and Happy New Year!!!

  17. Hi Marian, I’m trying to locate the boots and needed to know the store location. They are adorable! I looked at some of the reviews and a comment was mentioned that they ran a little narrow near the toe. Do you agree? Thanks so much, Kenda

  18. love those boots! also fyi there is a bare minerals at the outlet in hagerstown- they always have great deals on their gift sets so i buy those and buy the ones with the pieces i need and then get fun bonuses with the packages and end up spending less than i would on just the pieces i need.

  19. Marian, I want to apologize for the reader who told you to get rid of the nose ring, that it is too distracting. Jesus does not mind that you have a nose ring and we should not either. It is just you expressing a part of you. My dtr has a nose ring. At first I did not care for it and only focused on it when I looked at her. But I do not even notice it now. She is a beautiful creative and lovely Christian young lady. The nose ring does not define her but is a part of her creative expression which I now readily accept. .I thank you for opening up your life to the blog world. You are sharing your life to thousands of people who do not always realize that it can be a vulnerable place to be – open to jealousy, criticism and judgements. You have to be a pretty secure and adventurous person to do that and I applaud you!!!!
    FYI I received your book for Christmas and am excited to read it. Been following your blog for over a year and am addicted.;) .Have picked up lots of ideas and tips for my vintage booth!!! Thank you!!!

  20. well, darn…those boots are $149 at macy’s now…but maybe I’ll check out amazon for the black ones like Kim O said.
    Those cherries look divine ! who doesn’t love a good cherry? we planted cherry trees a few years ago and it’s been so exciting to have them even if we only get a bowl or two.
    I was thinking of you last night as MMS Milk Paint is featured in this magazine I’d never seen before called “American Farmhouse Style” – was so excited to see it was your milk paint!
    Best wishes for a wonderful new year !

  21. Like you and so many of the other ladies, I felt a little out of sorts with the Christmas spirit this year, too. ~ Like I hadn’t done and given enough or felt appreciation for what was done. Thank goodness that feeling got kicked out the door Christmas Day. So, yes… thank you for your honesty. And I know you don’t know this, but we have coffee together every morning! Continue to spread your joy. 😉 (p.s. I got a kick out of your makeup names… ‘Photo Finish’ and ‘Camera Ready’!)

  22. Marian, thank you for giving us a snap shot of your Christmas holiday. I also love the Christmas season, but this year has been a tough one. Christmas Eve morning, I took very ill with the flu. I wind up spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day sick in bed alone home. Despite the flu, I kept the spirit of Christmas in my heart.

    Thank you for sharing and being honest. It’s important to stay true to yourself!

    P.S. Love them boots too!

  23. Marian, You are so honest and real and it’s just so refreshing. I too had trouble getting into the holiday spirit this year – it seemed to be going around for some reason. Thank you for showing us your true honest self on a regular basis. It’s far too rare these days, especially in blog land. Stay strong when faced with negative comments. Why people choose to judge (you or anyone else) so harshly I will never understand.

  24. Marian, I don’t comment to much on the blogs that I follow, just needed to tell you how much I have learned from your post. The other night I got such a blessing listening to you and your husband singing………thank you. Missed my chance to met you on Pike Road but I wasn’t feeling well. Don’t change, be who you are and be proud.

  25. Marian-I hope you like your Bare Minerals make-up as much as I do-I have been wearing it for about 10 years now-I just love it.
    I read a lot of “I need” in your post and that makes me feel that you put too much on yourself, and perhaps that is what caused your lack of enthusiasm for Christmas this year. Try to do more of just BEING at this time of year and give yourself a break of all that you feel “you need” to do. Maybe it’s time to pull back a little. You have taken on A LOT in 2013-and accomplished SO MUCH-and that is wonderful! But in the process, time is passing and your kids are growing up so fast-and maybe YOU are just fine the way you are! Just ask your husband and kids-I’m sure they’ll agree that they love you just the way you are-now love yourself that way!

  26. Marian, I made a point this Christmas not to be too sad. Last year I lost my daddy, so last Christmas was hard. This past March I lost my mama, and was not looking forward to Christmas. But, I know my mama and daddy would not want me to be sad. I prayed really hard that God would help me focus on Him and not my loss. I wanted to feel the Christmas Spirit. I always like to help spread God’s love and wanted Him to show me who needed my help. Four days before Christmas He did just that! A mother of 3 who three years ago lost her husband to cancer. She is working after being home for 18 years and is doing all she can, but was still not able to afford Christmas for her children, nor get a tree. A group of us worked together and were able to get about $500.00 for her to buy gifts and we provided a Christmas meal and even a gift card just for he to use on herself. We all took it to the family and we basically stood around crying at how God is so faithful. Driving home I cried all the way home with joy! This family was a blessing and helped me to not think of my loss, but to focus on others and how I could be a blessing to them.! Thank you for always being a blessing to your readers and inspiring us!

  27. I always joke, saying my husbands family only trust me to make the jello salad! Mine is lime with pineapple, walnuts, cream cheese whipped cream and a pineapple pudding top, and it wouldnt be a holiday without it. I was also feeling a little humbug, feeling like i do it all and feeling unappreciated. After stalling for a week or so, i gave myself a good talking to, dug in and did what i need to do to get ready for christmas. On Christmas morning my middle son gave me a beautiful gift, but the card was what made me cry-“when i was a child, i didnt fully realize that you were the heart of christmas, the comfort of home, and my courage in the world”. Its funny how one little thing can make all the crazy worth it. Ok, now I am crying again.

  28. I love that your so honest and genuine. Those boots will look amazing on you.
    If you like the make-up your purchased will you review it for us?
    Looking forward to all that 2014 has to offer.

  29. Marian, I think it was a bit of a weird year for a lot of people this year. Sickness seemed to have hit every family so I understand your having to work at getting into the spirit but ya know what… you pushed through and many others would have given up. 🙂 I used to make a rule for myself that I had to start in June selecting gifts for everyone and I had to have them all wrapped by Thanksgiving. It was WONDERFUL… why did I stop that? maybe 2014 is the year to move myself back into a stress free Christmas. Having confessed all of that I must say that God really showed off his goodness and mercy THIS year and we worked through babies in hospital etc.etc and HE made it all happen in the end. There’s nothing better than pajama days with babies watching Hallmark movies.
    Blessings to you and hugs and kisses for a Happy New Year.

  30. I was not in a Christmas mood this year either, and it was an odd Christmas. I wanted to have separate time with my son and his wife and baby from everyone else, plus our own ‘personal’ family time, so since ,more family was coming on Christmas Eve, we opened presents on Monday and Tuesday, which was really weird.
    For some reason, I was not in the mood for Christmas this year, we didn’t get a tree, I didn’t decorate much, just the mantels and a couple of signs on inside walls and some outside lights. I never felt that ‘magic moment’ that felt special. The closest was watching my grandson open presents, tearing off teensy bits of paper at a time. (He is a toddler and kept getting distracted by the design on the wrapping paper).
    The good part was just being with family this year. That made it nice, but I never did get that ‘Yay Christmas’ feeling I usually do. I am grateful though, for my family and for Jesus.

  31. I don’t know what it was about Christmas this year. So many people that I’ve talked with felt “out of sorts”. I was supposed to have a house full of family Christmas Eve. Luckily everyone was bringing an appetizer so I didn’t have to do any cooking. The house was spotless – another good thing. I went to church at 4:30 and when I came out at 5:30 it was snowing so hard I could barely see the road. I called everyone and said don’t come. I live on a little hobby farm and the drive wasn’t plowed or anything. So I sat home all alone. Wah!!! I’m a loner anyway, so on one hand, it was ok, but on the other, it was kind of sad. Christmas Day, however, I was able to travel to my sister’s and got together with some of the family at least. Here’s to a rich, blessing-filled 2014 for all of us!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  32. Hello!! So glad to read that you have a nice Christmas… I’m a new retailer for MMS Milk Paint. 🙂 I received my initial shipment Christmas Eve, and it was all I could do not to dive into all the boxes right away. I had a house full of company, so I put it off until Christmas Day. 🙂 Merry Christmas to me!! I’m really excited to bring your milk paint to Tulsa, Oklahoma.

    Happy New Year!!!

  33. I do not see the comment about the nose ring. Was it removed? I am amazed at how thin skinned so many of you out there are. If you have a blog with any name recognition at all you are going to get few comments that are less than “fuzzy”. Recently a well known blogger got a comment about one of her bows and it sent her into a tizzy. I’m just curious, do you not face anything more traumatic in your lives? And this is not meant to be unkind but in the scheme of things this all seems very childish to me. And let’s think about something here. I read the relentless chatter about the perfect home or the perfect craft and what everyone is looking forward to acquiring in the same sentence with the words GOD and CHRISTIAN.
    None of this really seems God centered to me.

    1. I did remove the comment, not because the comment about the nose ring, but because of other things the reader said. After four years of blogging, I’ve acquired a pretty thick skin. I almost always leave up “negative comments”, but this comment thread was quickly becoming about the negative comments and people taking sides, so I decided to remove it.

  34. Marian,
    You made my day! That congealed fruit salad brought back so many memories of Christmas Day dinner at my grandmothers. Ditto on what you and many other readers have said about being kind of out of sorts this Christmas and not as much in the spirit. I personally think its because we have so much commercialism centered around Christmas now we cant enjoy what matters most.

  35. I hope you will post the recipe for the fruit salad. I think it is something that my grandchildren would love.

  36. Christmas Eve I spent using MMS Hemp Oil on my Grandmother’s desk, Grandmother in law’s dining table and my Mom’s hope chest – I can’t believe the difference – they look great. I was having a hard time “finding Christmas this year” – my Grandchildren brought me some smiles – I did a small 50’s rocking chair in blue and the family loved it! That was one gift for my youngest grandson, Easton – my favorite to give this year.

    Marian, thanks for your support this year and Merry Christmas!

  37. Merry Christmas, Marian!!! Finally I get a chance to reply as my iPad was not able to even upload all the comments in the latest posts (that I read tonight) so I’m going to comment many posts here, ok???
    LOVE the use of your ironstone in your table settings! I love butter dishes, that’s a great idea with the individual ones! The boots are awesome and totally match your style! Too funny the P90X !
    You made me CRY with the Christmas song!!! you two are adorable and you both sing very well!!!! LOVED IT. Thank you, for that! You are an inspiration to me and I was so touched that you were so brave to put yourself out there like that. Again, you inspire me!!!! no wonder you are so blessed, you are a gift to us (readers and fans) and I’m sure God is so proud of you!
    And the other post I wanted to comment on was about what speaks to me. You wrote about a movie and your heritage. I’m from South of Brazil and we have many European immigrants there (from first and second wars). Lots are from Germany and Italy, so Brazilians from the South are a mix. I’m a mix of Italian and Portuguese. My first husband family is German and Portuguese. There are cities where manly German immigrants settled and we used to visit and I remember the buildings, the white houses with the brown beams… The huge afternoon coffees which we call “colonial coffee” which consists of different kinds of breads, sausages, cakes, cheeses… Yeaaaahh!! anyway, what speaks to me, is similar to what speaks to you… A sense of nostalgia… Things from the past… Things that remind me of my childhood, too. Simpler times.
    Wishing you a wonderful and blessed year, full of HEALTH and success! Hugs, Claudine

  38. We had a fun Christmas with my Dad, brother and his family. My Mom passed away on November 30, so it’s our first Christmas without her. The first of many firsts without her. I also received/bought a pair of boots for one of my gifts, my first pair of Uggs. Have not worn them yet, as it hasn’t been that cold or dry yet. Thanks for sharing all the cute photos and your Christmas story.

  39. Just tried those same Smashbox items from They were samples I received with my order. Really like them! Blessings for the New Year!


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