I’m not crafty or particularly Pinteresty. Our Elf on the Shelf doesn’t make cute messes and sometimes hangs out in the same spot for days in a row. I don’t really bake and my Christmas tree is no more than a step or two beyond Charlie Brown.

But I try.

I was just telling a friend this week — I’ve GOT to get a better handle on OND. (Or October/November/December.) October is such a hard month for my family, and it blends right into November, things start heating up for the holidays, and then December is a blur and before I know it I’m sitting at my computer on one of the final days of the break without having shared a single one of our pre-Christmas stories. That’s the bad news. The good news is that we really, truly had a ball in December. Even when October’s gray threatened to bleed into the rest of the year, I managed to feel some genuine holiday cheer.

christmas tree decor with Becky
Decorating the tree with Aunt Becky

I knew I needed new lights for our tree this year and figured I would just go with all white. Easy. But Colt had a vision and insisted we needed multicolored lights. I was skeptical and pictured our little living room as a rainbow mess, but they were perfect. Becky came over to help and we spent the afternoon telling stories with each ornament out of the box. Lately, Colt has loved hearing stories about when he was a baby or when Jeff and I were kids, and though some details are sharp and others fuzzy and fading — he loves to listen.

The list of must-see Christmas movies seems to get longer each year, and I knew he wouldn’t have much little-boy patience for more than one so I chose wisely. I picked him up from school one afternoon and announced I would be introducing him to one of the funniest Christmas movies out there. He gave me the side-eye.

Mommy: Buddy! It’s hilarious. I promise you’ll love it. And you will laugh SO. HARD.
Colt: Wellll, I kinda laughed a lot at school today, soooo…
Mommy: *confused*
Colt: Maybe I can watch it with you and just not laugh.
Mommy: Uhh. Sounds like a plan to me.

The minute we got back from Silver Dollar City for the first time this summer, we wanted to go back and planned to go during the holidays to see the lights. Eileen and I stalked the weather for a warmish weekend in December and made plans to take the kiddos. As planning in December tends to go — the day we could go to SDC was the same day as Wreaths Across America so we decided to eat our Wheaties and make it a DAY.

Eileen and Scout, my sister Becky, and the Coussoules met us at Fayetteville National Cemetery for one of my favorite ways to kick-start the holidays — Wreaths Across America.

Wreaths Across America | Fayetteville National Cemetery
Wreaths Across America | Fayetteville National Cemetery

Wreaths Across America

A beautiful Fayetteville day — look at the kids wearing short sleeves! — and a special time to honor and remember.

After a quick lunch, we packed the kids into the car and headed to Branson. As it turns out, a warm-ish Saturday in December is the perfect day for Silver Dollar City — and we weren’t the only people to have the idea. It was PACKED. Just the traffic into the park was enough to make the kids start to get cabin fever in the car. It was dark by the time we were inside the gates, but we weren’t deterred. The lights were amazing, the kids were excited, and the moms were committed to a low-maintenance, no-drama adventure.

Colt, Scout, Sarah, Eileen | SDC 2014
Colt, Scout, Sarah, Eileen | SDC 2014

We had coats but didn’t really need them, we shared something called a “tater dog” for supper, and enjoyed the light parade. Then we bought way too much fudge, visited the blacksmith, and rode Thunderation! This kid is my roller coaster buddy!

Rollercoaster Buddies!
Roller coaster Buddies!
Silver Dollar City | Christmas 2014
Silver Dollar City | Christmas 2014

That morning, making plans to come back home the same night instead of find a hotel sounded like a swell idea. We brought caffeine, I tried my best to think of things to babble about to keep Eileen awake and alert on the way home, and the kids conveniently slept right through a little incident involving blue lights in our rear-view mirror about 20 minutes outside of Branson. (Just a warning! Slow down in Kimberling City, folks!) It was after midnight when we made it back to Fayetteville, but we had an amazing day.

Christmas-prep wouldn’t be complete without a trip to visit Santa, now would it? I’ve never met a kid who agonizes like he does over a Santa visit, but he was ready. Legos, Santa! We love Legos!

Colt and Santa | Christmas 2014
Colt and Santa | Christmas 2014

And one final stop before we left town for our Christmas visiting — the downtown Fayetteville square. The place we go every Saturday in the summer for the Farmer’s Market is gorgeously decorated at Christmas with thousands of lights. And a local church offered to take our photo and email it to us — what a sweet idea, right?

Next stop: Christmas.

Lights of the Ozarks | Fayetteville Square
Lights of the Ozarks | Fayetteville Square

3 thoughts on “Christmas 2014 :: the pre-party

  1. Oh Kimberling City.

    It’s always a wild time with EBJ!!

    1. That EBJ… never a dull moment.

  2. Brian Smith on I was in Raleigh visiting old freinds. We had a decent dinner there during Raleigh’s Dining out week. The food is good, … on The Well at Five Points is re-opening on August 30th.deb in raleigh on North Raleigh really needed Sola Cafe! It’s clean and homey and get the TANGERINE AND GINGER ICED TEA.

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