Christmas cookies aren’t my favorite.

But, Christmas fudge is! (We’re getting really deep and philosophical here folks.) I didn’t have time to try a second batch after my first attempt flopped, but I’ll keep trying next year. For this year, John’s aunt gave us some. It was delicious.

It’s okay not to do the big tree.

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We have a small living room and a curious 14-month old, so we skipped the real, green tree that I love so much. Instead, I just used my 4.5 foot fake tree. I didn’t even put the ornaments on until Christmas Eve. At 22-weeks pregnant (before Christmas), this simplicity was a gift to myself. This seems to be a theme with motherhood for me, I wrote this post last year with a three-month-old:

Finding Rest: When to stop decorating for Christmas.

Simplifying my Christmas expectations = more Christmas joy.

In January, I am enjoying having a fake tree instead of a real one. Usually, it is URGENT to take down the tree ASAP after Christmas, because it’s getting so dry and messy. Fake has benefits, I’m still enjoying the tiny tree with no worry about lost needles!IMG_3656

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Dishes make a great gift.

We registered for fiesta ware for our wedding (instead of China) and received a wonderful collection of dishes for everyday use. Since then, our family has been kindly adding to our collection with serving pieces. This year, we got a loaf pan, utensil crock and spoon rest. My dad also gave me a cast iron dutch oven that will be fun to play with. Domestic bliss!IMG_3718

A shipping trick.

I sent almost all of my gifts home with my sister when she drove back to Missouri. However, I mailed two gifts, one of books and one package of clothes and books. When I shipped the books, I mailed them using the USPS “media” rate. I remembered using this with the Wild Man books. It’s literally 1/3 of the price of regular shipping.

So my trick: If it is an appropriate and thoughtful gift, ship books for a gift! It is cheaper, easier to wrap nicely, and unlike the above gift I mentioned — dishes — books can’t be broken in the mail.IMG_3709

Apparently, new Christmas PJs are a thing.

What’s with all these adorable families and friends opening new (sometimes *MATCHING*) PJs on Christmas eve on Facebook? Is this a tradition I was not aware of? I really love it. I’ve even heard of a few families where it is specifically Daddy’s job to procure the PJs.

How sweet is that? This is another thing to consider for next year, along with the fudge-making.

Second pregnancies fly by.

I have a regular appointment in mid-January. After that, I’m down to the two-week frequency rather than the four-week frequency. What? Already? How did that happen?

My sister Schyler made a cute week-tracker for me. I’m enjoying not having a pregnancy app and going “old-school analog” on this one rather than “modern digital”.

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1,000 Gifts Book

This month, I was reading 1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp of A Holy Experience blog. It’s poetic, good and perfect bath tub reading. I’m learning that to write like Ann, I should, ‘drop my articles’.

I can change my blog topics. No permission needed.

I’m not sure why I didn’t do this sooner! Check out my new post on the new content that will be shared here. Such as, this recent post, with fun links…For Your Weekend or this one with two book recommendations.

I’m looking forward to January!

**This is my first “What I Learned Post” inspired by Emily P. Freeman and many other bloggers who join her!**

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