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Somehow we are already here- the weekend before Christmas! Friday’s are the day that I have childcare all day and my semester ended last week so it means that today was Hannah’s Christmas Spectacular. The goal was to wrap all the gifts, stuff, label, and stamp all the cards, clean the house, and pack to head to Kentucky tomorrow morning. Much of that got down. As always, there is the chance that our holiday plans could get derailed tonight if the government shuts down and James can’t travel, but I am hopeful. In the meantime, here are some festive things to close out your week.

We have been baking an insane amount of Christmas cookies this month thanks to this game-changing technique. No setting out ingredients until room temperature and then having to chill the dough for a year! No flour all over the workplace! Clean enough that a toddler can do it without destroying every last nerve! We made these gingerbread cookies last week and they have finally satisfied my desire for perfectly spiced soft gingerbread cookies. These butter cookies were another hit, especially if you want to bake cookies with only ingredients you already have on hand.

In the non-shaped cookie department, these were so easy and impossibly tasty. GINGER IN ALL THE THINGS is my December motto. I kind of wish it was my year-round motto, and there is this amazing dish that my college roommate and I used to make all the time involving lots of ginger in a cream sauce alongside rigatoni and spicy sausage – so good. Someday I’ll pay attention when I make it and share.

As I did all my Christmas prep today, I was pumped to watch some festive films far from the judging eyes of James. This list has great suggestions for all the best worst holiday flicks. Of course, this is my favorite awful Christmas movie of all time. And some info, in case you are new to these quality films.

We tossed around lots of Advent ideas this year as we tried to think of what to do to involve Henry. We ultimately settled on James and I reading this book individually, and then doing readings from this one together as a family. Yes, they are over his head. But they impart good truths that I need to hear and give us starting points to discuss. We then focus on a different carol, and we have stuck to singing the same 4-5 in rotation so Henry actually learns fragments. We also have a couple different nativity books (like this one!) we are reading so he sorts out the story. It’s a little bit of a hodgepodge, but it works.

This month has had a lot fewer formal festivities than usual, or as planned. Sickness, kid schedules, exhaustion, bedtimes – so many things got in the way of formal Christmas ceremonies. But there were lots of tiny festive moments, slow and steady Christmas anticipations throughout the month. Carols sung-shouted in the mornings. Cookies consumed by the light of the tree. Books read in Christmas pjs beside the fire. Every holiday train in town viewed and praised. Christmas explained and anticipated and celebrated in a hundred tiny ways.

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