Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sharing Christmas: 2010

Welcome everyone!! I feel like I should warn you, because if you came here for cute decorations, fun recipes and other inspiration.....well....we’re sadly lacking in that department. You see, this year we Bowdens have opted out of much of the traditional Christmas “stuff”. Not entirely on purpose....I wish we could say that we’re taking a conscious stand to reduce the commerciality and stress of it all, in favor of savoring the simple beauty and meaning of the season. But really? We just got tired. I struggled with this same thing last year....Working in retail can really suck the spirit out of you. But truly I’ve enjoyed our version of the Christmas season. We might not have done all the typical stuff, but we've had a good time together. Here's what our Christmas looks like this time around...

Instead of pulling out all our decorations....we cleaned up our house and purged a ton of stuff we don’t need. (Merry Christmas, Goodwill!) We've still got a lot to do, but it feels so good to have less, in a season that is usually about more, more, more. Plus- you have to make room for all the presents right?!

Instead of cuddling up by the fire...we bought a new boiler. Yep.... turns out ours had reached its limit, and no longer responded to our thermostat commands. That meant for a lot of cold nights- and a fire wasn't exactly a long term solve. So while I never wanted to be one of those couples that skipped gifts to each other in favor of buying something for the house....sometimes its necessary. We'll still get each other some small things- but elaborate gifts just aren't in the cards this year. (And please forgive us if your presents are more on the “frugal” side this year....heat isn’t cheap!)

Instead of cuddling up by the fire (I know...you're starting to think we hate cuddling...) We've been watching a lot of “Yule Log” on Comcast's OnDemand. We've had our Pandora Christmas station on heavy rotation too but for some reason, I just can't get enough of that crackle noise, and HD sparks. I even won an "Ambient Fire" DVD in a White Elephant exchange....and it's even more awesome than it sounds.

Instead of experimenting with complicated recipes and homemade gifts....we enjoyed take-out with friends, brought bottles of wine to parties, and went with good old fashioned store-bought gifts. Typically I love to try new recipes...especially for parties...And I don't think there's been a year in recent memory that I haven't made at least one gift. But this year it was all about streamlining. I always get myself in over my head, and while I'm sure people appreciate the effort, I don't think they have the same expectations of me as I have of myself. As long as gifts are thoughtfully chosen, and given with love, I don't think the origins matter. And I can assure you no one complained about the so-easy-it's-ridiculous chips and dip I brought to the potluck this year. Good is good.
So instead of slaving over each individual gift detail, I spent time making the wrapping fun and festive! Ever since my days as a “wrapper” at The Buckle, I’ve loved this part of Christmas. I’m happy with how our simple gift wrap theme turned out this year. (And these faux-bows sure do travel well!)

Instead of trimming the tree, and decking the halls, we've been pouring ourselves into projects that have been neglected the rest of the year. So the seasonal decorations have stayed in storage, but we've tackled more permanent decor projects like finally filling frames with art....picking paint swatches for our foyer...organizing and storing our DVD's and a few other why-didn't-we-do-this-a-year-ago type things. It's amazing how many projects I can start, and how long it can take to finish them. It's been fun to finally check a few things off that never-ending list. Oh- and skipping the decorations meant I had more room to make a complete mess in the process! (I suppose I could skip telling you we haven't had a traditional meal in the dining room this season....)
Instead of making a snowman, we made snowman sweaters for an Ugly Sweater party! No sense in slaving in the cold for a temporary sculpture when a trip to Big Lots, a stop at Goodwill and a half and hour of sewing can get you these babies:

(This is when I realized my perception of effort might be a little skewed....I told a friend, “That girl bought her sweater on ebay...she’s way more hardcore than me.” My friend replied- “Um, you made your sweaters....”. Perhaps I shouldn’t give myself such a hard time.) But it was totally worth it. Who doesn't want sweaters that can kiss?!

So we didn't exactly do it up in traditional fashion, but it's only the 22nd....and we've already eaten more than our fair share of Christmas treats, danced the night away to Christmas tunes, acted as a Secret Santa in an exchange, and taken some pics for our better-late-than-never Christmas card. (check back for that in a week or two....it could be my favorite part of this season so far!)
But more than any of this stuff I've shared, I'm looking forward to actual Christmas. We're headed for a busy few weekends of packing, driving, working, car scraping, unpacking, and more traveling...And in the crazy mixture of stress and fun, it's easy to get bogged down in the busyness or to get too mindlessly caught up in the the festivities surrounding the holidays. But I really just want to be in a warm home, with friends and family, talking, laughing, giving, and loving. And that is a tradition we'll never skip.
P.s. don't worry....I did find the time to paint my nails for the occasion.

What? That’s not a tradition at your house? Then tell me what is....go share your Christmas!!
Thanks Megan for "hosting" and forcing me to record some of the small and silly details that make up our small and silly (but wonderful) life.


  1. Ok the hard part is now remembering everything I wanted to say when I can't see the post anymore!

    Courtney thanks so much for sharing your Christmas. You have a gift with making things like cleaning and purging and organizing seem fun and special! It's like you're Tom Sawyer getting everyone to paint the fence for you (I'm sitting here thinking about putting up the Comcast fireplace) :)

    I love how you and Dustin are enjoying and celebrating Christmas despite the lack of decorations and baking. You seriously make it sound like the better choice and I am envious of how relaxed and enjoyable your Christmas season has been!!!

    Have a wonderful Christmas- I"m off to sit by the fire ;)

  2. i love all of your non-traditional and handmade touches to your holiday celebrations. merry christmas! :)

  3. OH yeah - the Christmas sweater - how could I forget to comment on that!!! They are awesome and I can't believe you just went and made them. (and that it was no big deal - that would have taken me forever and I would have given up)

  4. i love this! i love how y'all are celebrating Christmas this year and just embracing it. it's wonderful. and i adore your nail polish. new tradition? yes please.
    i adore your bows on your presents (for serious - totally copying) and your sweaters are amazing. best ugly sweaters ever. so creative!! :) thanks for sharing! merry christmas!

  5. courtney, i LOVE reading your posts and getting a glimpse into your lives!! Especially this Christmas... seems so incredibly enjoyable and simple... really love it. Thanks for sharing. Love the sweaters!!! love your wrapping paper, love the purging, love your nail polish. love you guys. Merry Christmas Bowden family!!!! xoxo

  6. Amazing Christmas sweaters! How do you come up with this stuff??? Merry Christmas!

  7. First, my apologies for not getting here sooner. Everytime I would read the post, I would have the comment screen up forever and not get typed what I meant to type before being pulled in a new direction.

    Can I just say I think you guys totally are the coolest people I don't know? Its not many who can pull off not going all out to celebrate the holidays yet celebrate it with the same flair you guys have done!

    Love the homemade gift wrap and the ugly sweaters. Ambient Fire sounds like my kind of movie on a cold, snowy night!

    You two totally had the right idea this year. Way to go! Hope your holidays were merry and bright and very blessed!

    And hey, maybe, just maybe I'll meet you at a meeting of a certain society-ish type club someday and you'll be one of the coolest people I do know!

    Happy New Year!

  8. better late than never is my motto. I love your "non trad" Christmas, Court! I especially loved the sweaters and the hand-drawn bows on the packages. Super snazzy!

    I LOVE that you photo boothed, too. I love that I know someone who will do that. you're too much fun!