So... Yeah. When this first began, I started writing a few of the days' posts, then saved them to come back & finish later... Well we all see how that turned out! Anyways, here goes the first three days!
Day 1: Christmas/Holiday Traditions
Our family never really had anything we referred to as "traditions" per se, but there were definitely a few things that we did every year just because that's how it was done!
The Sunday after Thanksgiving is when we would get out all of the decorations. We'd turn on an Elvis Christmas record (yes, actual vinyl!) and listen to "Blue Christmas" and "Here Comes Santa Claus" while we decorated the big tree in our living room. (The old vinyl has been un-playable for years, but I bought it on cd, and we use it instead!)
On Christmas Eve, we all pile into the car(s) and drive around looking at Christmas lights. I love it so much, I always try to make B drive so I can focus on the lights instead of the road!
One thing I've started with the girls is The Elf on the Shelf. I found it last year at Barnes & Noble, and we all have had a great time with it. When I was little, we had an almost identical little green elf that had been my mom's and aunt's when they were kids that we would hide in the tree... So I just had to have this when I saw it! It's a lot of fun, and keeps the "magic" of Santa alive a little bit longer.
Day 2: Black Friday/General Shopping Tips/Tricks
I am a horrible holiday shopper. I procrastinate until the 19th/20th or so, then I usually knock it all out in one day. That being said, I know all about getting it done quickly & efficiently!
First off, you want to dress comfortably. Leggings, Uggs, long sleeve tee, and a chunky sweater, maybe a scarf. Cute, not too bulky, yet warm enough that you won't have to drag your coat around inside the stores. Also, don't carry a big purse. I have a mini crossbody purse that I got from Nine West strictly for times like these. Second, eat something before you go! Also, caffeine is a must! Starbucks, Diet Coke, whatever. Get you some. Always have a list of what you're looking for, for each person you're shopping for. If you can't pin it down, at least have it narrowed down to two or three things. Then map out which stores you're going to. As far as the mall goes, I always park at one of the anchor stores, do whatever shopping I need in there, return my bags to the car, then head back to the specialty shops.
To keep spending in check, I carry cash when I'm doing a lot of shopping. It helps me to keep from the "One for them, three for me" mantra out of my head. Also, keep in mind that 'tis the Season, and this Season is all about Him. Christmas presents are nice, but also try to think of ways to spread the love without spending too much on "things"... And instead look for ways to use that money to glorify Him!
Day 3: Most Meaningful/Best Gift You've Ever Recieved
Well... This one is a toughy. I cannot lie... I have been spoiled rotten my whole life! Growing up I didn't want for much... And even now, if I mention wanting something (or even just liking it!) it'll usually end up waiting for me under the tree. The gifts I remember the most were really nothing extravagant, I just wanted them really, really bad! There was this one blue shirt from Abercrombie that I almost died for, then had to wait all month for since I'd put it on my "list" and couldn't go and buy it for myself! The Timberland boots were also a goodie... (Yes, back in 1996 I thought they were the shiz.) But the piece de resistance would have to be the UT Starter jacket when I was in 5th grade... All the cool kids had one, and I was so excited when I opened up that box and found that (throw up) orange jacket! And Lord have mercy I wore that thing to death. (I was a young, naive child. I had yet to be exposed to what SEC football really is all about! Go DAWGS!)