The holidays are some of my favorite times of the year. We get to spend a good amount of time with our families and friends, relax and eat a ridiculous amount of delicious food. This year was extra special because Andrew's sister, Lindsay and her boyfriend, Craig were in town from North Carolina for an extended stay both in Schaumburg and Madison.
As some of you may know, several years ago, with Andrew's family, we wanted to stop buying gifts for everyone. We were tired of buying "things" and wanted our holidays to be more special, so we decided to institute a rule that from that year on, all gifts must either be consumable, re-gifts or made.
Now as the years have gone by, our holidays have become even more unique. The first holiday with our new rule Patti gave Andrew and Lindsay some of their favorite childhood Christmas decorations, including Clowny, a beloved scary clown ornament, and Baby Jesus, a tree decoration with specific rules for placing on the tree. Some other favorite gifts from over the years include Linds' gift to Andrew last year of a mix CD of all of their favorite songs from their favorite movies and shows from growing up.
We started this year, as usual, with delicious fondue. As a tradition, Andrew's family, for as long as he can remember, have always fondued on Christmas Eve. With twice-baked potatoes, crescent rolls and an array of sauces thanks to Dan, our steak and shrimp fondue always is something we look forward to. We then share our gifts, one gift at a time, to really enjoy each and every moment.
Here are some favorites from the fondue portion of our eventing.
Our sauces (yep, there are 6)
We pulled out a bottle of wine from our trip to Italy.
The table set with 2 fondue pots (one for only meat because of my shellfish allergy- we make sure to set someone responsible, who will actually remember down at my end), lots of wine, veggies, meat, thriced-baked-potatoes and more.
To work off all that oil, food and wine and because it was a beautiful night, we took a walk in the snow.
This year we continued our same traditions, but as I mentioned earlier, it was extra special with Linds and Craig here with us. Here are some of the favorite gifts this year:
The makings for Hawkeye Crunch including DIY Hawkeye Bowl from Linds and Craig.
Koozies for the men: Iowa for Ange, Sailing for Dan (again from Linds).
Andrew and I painted a football-shaped bowl for the OSU fan. He was super happy about it until he saw the back. We couldn't spend HOURS on a plate like this and not pay tribute to our Hawkeyes.
Yep, you heard right...take a look at those bad boys.
Another good one: Dan has started to like Iowa football and has taken a liking to Marvin McNutt. Who wouldn't with a name like that, so we re-gifted an old Iowa sweatshirt with some DIY on the back.
Craig is a man of class and distinction. Linds proved that point with a book of pictures of Craig enjoying all types of meat.
We re-gifted a set of photo coasters and put some of Linds' favorite childhood movies with trivia on the back as the photos. Some of the movies included: Lucas, Adventures in Babysitting and Overboard.
Dan and Patti re-gifted some rewards points with a poem included.
Lindsay made Patti beautiful embroidered napkins.
And don't forget about the scarves I knitted as explained in this post.
As you can see it was another successful Christmas for the Sutton, Bessick and Dye clan. We stayed up late, ate ourselves silly, drank a lot, shared some special memories and squeezed 6 of us into Patti and Dan's for a not-so-good night sleep-but it was all worth it.
The next morning, we opened stockings, enjoyed some sticky buns and headed to my mom's for our Christmas with them. But not before we got a glimpse of our very own Clark Griswold.
The resemblance is uncanny, just trust us on this one...