Our 2015 Christmas Cards

Sending out Christmas Cards is my favorite tradition to kick off the holiday season. Last year, I had a specific idea in mind that I couldn't find anywhere, so I designed them myself (see our 2014 Christmas Cards, here). This year, I found a design that I loved  from Simply To Impress. There are so many great resources out there for Holiday Photo Cards, but I love how affordable the designs are on Simply to Impress. They look much more expensive than they are! And with my spreadsheet of addresses growing every year, that's very important!

This year, we went with their "Brushed Christmas" design. I love the simple gold and green design on the white background and I thought it paired really well with this shot from our Anniversary/First Home photoshoot with Savannah Smith Photography.

We also kept up the tradition we started last Christmas of sharing the highlights from year and our goals and wishes for the new year. I got the idea from a friend who sends a family newsletter every year. With it just being me and Anthony (and now Chloe!), we just don't have enough to fill a whole newsletter but I thought we could at least give an update that fills the back of our Christmas card! Our card design got great reviews from our friends and family last year and it was fun because at the various Christmas parties we attended, people would ask us about the different goals we had set for the next year. Here's what we wrote on the back of this years card:

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2015 Highlights - Became Homeowners weeks after turning 24, Anthony started an indoor soccer team, Travelled to California with friends, Adopted our first furry child, Chloe Storck, Made 2 trips to coastal North Carolina, Anthony started his new job at Red Lion Grain, Celebrated our second wedding anniversary, Welcomed trick-or-treaters for the first time, Hosted our first Thanksgiving dinner. 

2016 Goals - Anthony starting part time classes in January, Welcoming our first nephew in February, Fixing up the porch & starting a garden, Tackling a DIY "Mini" Kitchen Remodel, Following Dave Ramsey's Financial Baby Steps, Celebrating 10 years together in October.

Disclosure: While I was not paid to write this review and the opinions are 100% my own, I may earn a small commission if you purchase from Simply to Impress using the links above. 

Vintage Green Glass Christmas Centerpiece

Christmas is another holiday that my mom has bequeathed me all decorating duties! Here you can see the champagne table runner and plates I bought for Thanksgiving mixed with some other things I found around my parents house.

I used a striped red tablecloth from holidays past to layer with the lattice/morroccan print Champagne table runner. I thought this was a cool mix of patterns and the sheen definitely gave the table a glamorous touch! I found these awesome green champagne flutes in my mom's cupboard and accented the table runner with two simple crystal candle holders that my mom has had for ages.

To bring in the Christmas Green, I went around the house gathering old (and new) green glass bottles. My dad is kind of a collector of basically anything old and cool looking. Our whole mudroom looks like a mixture of Cracker Barrell and a country flea market. There is everything from old liscence plates, to pitchforks and old tools hanging on the walls. There's a shelf that lines the perimeter of the room above door height, and that's where he keeps a lot of the cool stuff I use for decorating. My mom is also a crafter, so I perused her ribbon collection until I found the perfect red and white ribbon to "tie" (haha) my color scheme together. As a finishing touch, I went outside and clipped branches from our holly bush for some fresh greenery.

This is my lovely sister, Frankie (left) and her friends modeling in front of my other project-a Christmas Card Wall "Wreath" Display, that I made just using blue painters tape (to protect the wall) and taping all the christmas cards sent to my parents in a wreath pattern. I think it turned out pretty well, and it definitely worked to dress up the enormous blank wall in the dining room that my mom just hasn't found the right art for. I also lined the glass doors of our wooden hutch with a beautiful red and white damask wrapping paper, but I couldn't find a picture of that...I'll have to keep looking.

Decorating Our Thanksgiving Table

One of my favorite parts about Thanksgiving is that my mom has pretty much given up asking me to help cook. It's not that I don't like to cook, I'm actually trying to get better at it. It's just a very high pressure situation on Turkey Day when there is 4-5 people in the kitchen trying to cook. This year I contributed by defrosting the sweet corn we had frozen during the summer. Other than that, my only other Thanksgiving responsibility is decorating! This year was even more fun because my mom let me go shopping for a few things...

First the table runner and the candle holders I got at Ross. It's one of my favorite places to shop for decorations, because they usually have nice stuff and a good price. I chose the Champagne colored table runner because I could picture it going with many different color schemes on many different holidays. The lattice/moroccan style pattern gives it a nice texture and sheen and is also a pretty classic pattern that is really trending right now. I thought the candle holders were great because they have more of a fall/winter theme than anything specific to Thanksgiving. My mom doesn't let me go shopping for her very often, so I wanted to get things with versatility. Speaking of versatility, the cream table cloth and red runner on the table in the front were bought a few Christmases ago, but fit nicely with the color scheme of the dining room.

My biggest purchase were the plates, and I think I scored a home run. My mom has beautiful china that was handed down to her from my great grandmother that we usually use on special occasions. But, the pattern on these is a white and pink dogwood with gold rims--pretty limiting as far as color schemes go. My mom is not a plain white plate kind of person, but after seeing what I've done with my white plates in table settings, she wanted to give it a try. I found these amazing Pfaltzgraff Basket Weave pattern plates at Christmas Tree Shops for 1.99 each! They are simple, but the basket weave design on the rims give them just enough texture to make them special. (My next assignment for shopping for my mom is to find awesome sets of patterned salad plates so she has options for holidays, dinner parties, birthdays, etc!) As sort of a place card/activity, I cut out 4 different types of cardstock leaves to place in the center of the plates.

For the activity part of the leaves, I asked everyone to write one thing that they are thankful for on their leaf, and then place their leaves inside of an awesome turkey shaped basket (2.99 at Christmas Tree Shops) for us to share after the meal. I don't think I have any pictures of the basket from our Thanksgiving, but it looks just like this:

After dinner, we followed with another family tradition: shooting clay birds!