christmas

How early is too early to decorate for Christmas?

The other morning I woke up and started my day in the normal way. But then, something odd happened: Jack Frost nipped at my toes!

Here in sunny California, we don’t wear socks for 9 months out of the year, so when I reached for my fluffiest socks, I realized something ridiculously exciting – CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!

I tried to hide my Cheshire grin, so my family wouldn’t see (and judge) the over-eager, trigger-happy Christmas Sherlock welling up inside my soul.

Fluffy socks are the first Christmas clue.

The first clue had been discovered, on that cold October morning.

But alas, I had to wait for the Christmas bug to catch on a bit more before donning my jingle bell earrings. The whole world doesn’t share my eagerness, and I know it can bring out some early-bird Scrooges if I’m not careful. But make no mistake, the magic of Christmas was already in the chilly fluffy-sock air.

I was patient…on the outside.

Cut to about a month later: as we all sat around in a Thanksgiving induced turkey coma, watching our annual family movie-a-thon. That little bit of glee started building again, as I recognized the second seasonal clue. Tomorrow is the day AFTER Thanksgiving!

Surely that’s soon enough to start decking the halls and sprinkling green and red glitter like it’s real Christmas magic…right?

But no, it’s still too early. Gotta get the hubby and teenagers on board.

Nobody was stirring from that turkey coma to get the staple gun and untangle the lights.

Okay. I’ll wait. I can be patient, right?

A full week went by as I “patiently” waited for my magic to be “acceptable” to the outside world – even though secretly in my heart we could totally have decorated for Christmas in August.

Then! While driving the boys to one of their many teenage activities, I finally spied it.

My inner Christmas Sherlock did loop-de-loops in my stomach (or throat or heart or somewhere around there). It’s heeeeere! Without even trying to contain myself I squealed, “Look look look! Don’t miss it!”

The teenagers, who regularly think I’m losing my mind, excitedly looked around for why I was freaking out. I gleefully pointed at the once empty field and exclaimed,

“They’re building the fence for the Christmas trees!”

This was of course followed by many teenaged eye rolls. Those come by the dozen around these parts. But those simple little beat up makeshift wooden fences signaled the start of something amazing, and nobody could deny it.

So, then I’m all in.

I started slowly at first (so as not to freak out the hubby too terribly much), and I played a Christmas song here and there. That went well, so I simmered some cider on the stove (here’s my favorite recipe). Then, I found the perfect Christmas wreath for the front door.

Slowly it all came together and the Christmas spirit started to grow in everyone around me. I saw eyes starting to sparkle and people starting to hum and wave at perfect strangers.

Until that one day happened – the one when you walk into the mall and then…BAM!

is it ever really too early to unleash the Christmas spirit.

It’s like someone yelled, “release the Christmas spirit!” We walked into the mall to be greeted with Christmas muzak being piped through the ceiling, and an entire Christmas village for Santa and his Elves.

Every surface had light-donned, ornament-topped wreaths.

Everyone had a red or green shopping bag – surely filled with Christmas gifts. A faint smell of gingerbread was in the air.

When I saw no fewer than four different people wearing jingle-bell clad sweaters, I knew that not even the teenagers could refute the Christmas spirit in the air.

My inner Christmas-Sherlock was transformed into Cindy Lou Who when I heard a mall security guard humming jingle bells under his breath.

That moment when Sherlock turned into Cindy Lou Who.

My husband and I looked at each other and knew that it was time to go home.

Our boys like to “surprise” us each year, and somehow we knew today would be the day. They still don’t know that we’ve caught on. The day we hit the mall for some Christmas shopping, they quickly pull out the tree and set it up.

They look through all of our dusty Christmas boxes in the attic, to decorate the tree with their very favorite ornaments. Each year, we see those old favorites and some new surprises as well.

We came home with hot chocolate for everyone and ooohed and ahhhed at the tree.

Isn’t it silly how family traditions just form themselves sometimes? And how they can pack so much nostalgia and togetherness into a seemingly unimportant series of clues.

Baby's First Christmas Tree Heirloom Ornament.

Shop for Baby’s First Christmas ornaments at Little Girl’s Pearls

So still now, each year, our boys find or make a new ornament to add to the tree.

We add the date somewhere on it, so we know which year it was added to our collection. Then, when they are grown and on their own, I’ll pack up all of their ornaments from over the years and present them with their own little box of special decorations for their very first on-their-own Christmas tree. Maybe I’ll keep a few for my own. ♥

And then, when the wonderfully delicious peppermint stick chaos of Christmas is over, I carefully take down ornaments from the tree and lovingly put them into the box for next year.

Wrapping them in paper and placing them gently in their little compartments for safe keeping. I reach for the big red Christmas ball and my boys start singing at me. I had bumped the little button that recorded them singing “Frosty the Snowman” so very many years ago, when their voices were tiny.

I cried…just a little bit.

Not with sadness, but because I realized the best part of Christmas was them – my family. Our family movie nights, our rousing card games and cozy soup nights, driving around the city with Grandma and Grandpa sipping cocoa and gazing at twinkling Christmas lights.

These are memories that we will cherish forever. ♥

I’ve had oodles of ideas over the years to create a special heirloom ornament for you to add to your collection. This year, I was finally able to bring the magic all together.

I’m so excited to introduce our very first Heirloom Keepsake Ornament.

Personalized baby and grandparent Christmas tree keepsake ornaments.

Shop Personalized Heirloom Family Christmas Tree Ornaments at Little Girl’s Pearls

It’s personalized with their name, the year, a special message – whatever you’d like – to make it extra meaningful just for your family. Because family is such a big and beautiful part of the Christmas season.

My heart’s desire is to offer a new ornament each year, so she can collect them for when she has a tree of her very own.

So pop on over to the shop & let me know how you’d like your very first special LGP ornament to be personalized for your family, from me and mine.

pin it for later

3 heirloom keepsake Christmas tree ornaments for grandparents and baby.

Shop for heirloom family Christmas tree ornaments

I currently have a limited number of these heirloom personalized Christmas tree ornaments, so head on over to the shop right now.

Wishing you the most magical Christmas. Now pass me the cider…and maybe some Kleenex.

~ Julie

Spread Joy Like Glitter Phone Wallpaper

It’s heeeeere!  Winter and the holidays are upon us.  It has already been a whirlwind around these parts, how’s it going around your house?  The trees are up & covered with decorations and beautiful sparkly, glittery things.  I have a giant Christmas red peony surrounded by eucalyptus branches in a vintage blue ball jar sitting on my desk.  Life is good, my friends.  Life is good. ♥

I just wanted to send you a little reminder to spread joy this holiday season (and always).  Joy is contagious!  Spread it around like glitter.  Let it fill in the dark craggy parts of your soul & let it shine bright.  I am wishing you the merriest, most lovely, joyful & glittery holiday season!  Celebrate with this free gold glittery “spread joy like glitter” phone wallpaper. ♥

If you love this little wallpaper, could you pretty please share it on Pinterest?  That would make my little heart pitter patter!!! ♥

Follow me on Pinterest for more goodies and lovely things!

Easy Thanksgiving Activities to Keep Your Kids Entertained While You Cook

Your family probably already has a few traditions of your own for Thanksgiving. Maybe you have a special routine for saying what you’re thankful for, or maybe everyone looks forward to grandma’s signature pie all year long. Thanksgiving is also a great time to start some new traditions, particularly if you’re looking for fun activities that kids will love to take part in.

1.    Succulent Place Cards
This is such a fun and easy activity for kiddos during the holidays!  While the house is a big hub of craziness and activity, you can send the kids outside for this quick and easy Thanksgiving or Christmas craft.  Littles and bigs will love making place cards for everyone around the holiday table.  Then all of the guests can have a sweet little succulent planter to take home after the delicious dinner.  Head HERE for full step-by-step photo instructions to show you how to make them.

Step-by-Step photo instructions to make succulent place cards for your holiday table

2.    Get the Kids Involved with Foraged Bouquets for the Table
The hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving can get overwhelming for kids.  Everyone is excited, the house smells amazing, family and friends are ringing the bell…chaos is sure to follow.  One thing our boys love to do is head outside in the fresh air to get some energy out.  Send an older kid or an adult with the kids to pick a bouquet of “foraged” leaves, flowers and sticks (or several small bouquets).  Then they can put them in mason jars or vases on the Thanksgiving table.  Fun, festive & it gets the wiggles out!

foraged-thanksgiving-bouquets

3.    A Thankful Book
Instead of simply saying what you’re thankful for around the dinner table, how about having each person write it down? Then save the notes in a scrapbook or binder. It’s fun to set out a blank book or paper with pencils, crayons, stickers and markers for everyone to write down their thankful list while dinner is cooking.  It keeps the kids busy, and you can look back on it together every Thanksgiving.  Erin over at Home Literacy Blueprint made the cutest thankful books with her kiddos!

Idea and adorable photo from Home Literacy Blueprint

4.    Pin the Feather on the Turkey
If you have a lot of young kids in your family (or teenagers who like to be goofy like mine), pin the feather on the turkey is a great game to keep them entertained and get them in the Thanksgiving spirit. This is just like pin the tail on the donkey, except you’re using a paper turkey and feathers of different colors. For added fun, have each kid create and decorate their own feather out of card stock, stickers, pens, pencils…whatever you have lying around. They can write what they are thankful for & it makes the turkey so adorable when they’re finished!  Make sure you take a picture as a memento!

precious graphic from Living Well Mom – head on over there for instructions

What fun family traditions or kid activities does your family do for the holidays?  I’d love to learn some new ideas! ♥

Follow me on Pinterest for more goodies and lovely things!

Easy Succulent Place Cards for Your Holiday Table

I’m always looking for fun things to do with my boys that gets them involved in the holidays.  These sweet little succulent place cards are perfect for kids (and adults) and will brighten up your holiday table!  These would even be adorable for a rustic outdoor wedding.

With just a few “ingredients” – most of which can be found in your back yard, you can make sweet little name cards for your holiday or wedding table.

  • small votive holder (or other small container – a tiny mason jar would work well, too)
  • sphagnum moss (I found a bag of it at Home Depot)
  • twigs of greenery from the garden
  • a stick
  • a tiny clothes pin or clip
  • a succulent rosette – or really any succulent sprig will do
  • a small name tag – or slip of paper

Wet your sphagnum moss & pack it relatively tightly into the holder.

Using your finger (or a pencil), make a hole down the center of your moss for the stem of your succulent.

Carefully place your succulent stem into the hole.  Add a bit of extra moss around it to secure it into the little container.

Add your stick.  If you don’t have a stick from a tree or bush, you can use a popsicle stick or even a skewer.  Make sure the stick is high enough to allow the name tag to show above the succulent.

Use your tiny clothes pin (I gilded mine with a gold-leafing pen just for fun) to clip the name tag and the greenery to your stick.  Set them on the table as place cards & you’ll have a beautiful holiday or wedding tablescape!  The best part is that your guests will have a great little gift to take home with them.  {so much fun}

What will you use it for?  I would love to see your version!  Be sure to use #littlegirlspearls, so I can find it!!  Have fun. ♥

Follow me on Pinterest for more goodies and lovely things!

%d bloggers like this: