Before we actually get to Valentines Day, I have one more thing to say about the Christmassy holidays. Since Christmas is always in the midst of finals and travel for us, we haven't done much in the way of traditions--even though I come from a long line of tradition police.
We aimed high this year, asking Ellis' dad to email us their advent liturgy so we could do it every day. That liturgy got as far as our inbox and so we're hoping next year to take that leap and maybe print it out, haha! In the midst of the traveling we were determined to have our own family Christmas, so we managed stockings and wrapping gifts this year, but no wonderfully starchy Christmas breakfast.
However, we DID establish one tradition which we loved. A couple weeks before Thanksgiving, one of my FAVORITE blogs, Young House Love, posted about the Thankful Jar they had etched.
Kinda like the Thankful Tree, where you write what you're thankful for on leaves every day and put them up on the tree (did anyone else besides us do that growing up, haha?), they wrote what they were thankful for on scrapbook paper every day and didn't tell each other what they wrote until they opened the jar on Thanksgiving Day and read their cards to each other.
So we STARTED our Thankful Jar on Thanksgiving Day. I'd love to etch a jar just for this like they did, but this year we kept it simple and used a pretty glass vase a friend gave us just for this purpose. Every day from Thanksgiving till our private Christmas, Ellis and I wrote down something we were thankful for.
And it was SO awesome! Instead of focusing on what we want (like a job!), it helped us focus on what we already have, and not only remember what we had to be thankful for, but when we dwelt on it, it made us enjoy it all the more!
Revealing them to each other was really fun too! It helped us get to relive some of the events of the past month--like getting into Friday Night Lights together (favorite show EVER--you need to watch this), finals, Papa's funeral, me finally starting to cut Ellis' hair at home so we could save the $15 each month, my new camera!
It was funny to see the differences in the way we thought too--a lot of Ellis' were general--like "hurricanes" and "art," whereas mine tended to be really specific, like "for my camera" or "for thoughtful friends that give unexpected gifts like recipe cards."
So yeah, even though this is sorta a Thanksgiving post, it can really be used any time of year. I mean, we did it more as Christmas...it would also be fun for Valentine's--every day writing down a new favorite thing about your favorite person! Or the quirky unique things they do that are kind of annoying, but mostly endearing--like the fact that despite being the cleanest, most trash-taking-out hubby around, Ellis always leaves empty packages in the fridge/pantry, so I am thinking all day about the granola bar I'm going to eat, only to find out....there is no granola bar!
Oh, well, it's just a granola bar--it doesn't matter. It only matters when it's the heavy whipping cream for the coffee! Having to switch to milk is a huge downgrade, but hey, I guess if it's a choice between heavy whipping cream or Ellis, I'll take Ellis. ;)