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Yankee Swap and Other Christmas Traditions

November 19, 2020

Dearest friends, 

Is it too early to decorate for Christmas? Yes. Am I going to start doing it anyway? Also yes.

My husband is one of the easiest going humans on the face of the planet (this is the single most important factor to the success of our marriage).  For the most part, he lets me do whatever I want. However, he draws the line at decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving. I don't know why this is a hill he has chosen to die on but apparently, "there's rules."  He used to try to make me wait until December 1. Many years ago, after a long negotiation, we agreed on the day after Thanksgiving.  And that has been our tradition ever since.  Thanksgiving day, we watch football and stuff our faces. Friday, I pull out ALL THE THINGS and Christmas officially begins.   

But this year, the rules are out the window. I have been cooped up in this house with my children almost 24/7 since March.  MARCH.  So anything that brings us all a little more joy, a little distraction, a little fun, is fair game. All bets are off. 

This isn't the only thing that will be different this year. I have a lot of family all living in my same town, and we normally get together for one big Christmas celebration and do what we call a "Yankee Swap". Each person who wants to participate puts together a gift with a $75 max value, and then we take turns opening and stealing each other's presents. It's a lot of fun, and we usually start planning our gifts much earlier than December.  This year, we decided to add an extra stipulation to the game because again, "there's rules." With everything that has happened this year, we really wanted to focus on what matters, and we saw this as an opportunity to support small businesses. So the rule is, all gifts must be purchased from small or locally owned businesses. No Amazon or department stores. 

Erik and I decided to go with a kitchen theme, and we found all of the above pictured items at a Farmer's Market in Vail, Colorado (when we were able to sneak away for 2 nights for our anniversary in September) or at one of my favorite shops in downtown Colorado Springs, Terra Verde.  We've got 3 Swedish dishcloths which are basically reusable paper towels (really cool!), a pack of reusable food wraps which replace plastic wrap (and I can tell you they work way better), some local honey, a cheese board and a really pretty tea towel.

  You'll also notice a Colorado theme because we are Colorado natives, as is our entire family, and we are really snobby about it. I won't apologize for it. 

I don't know that our "Yankee Swap" is going to work out this year as it normally does. I suspect it won't. I have a suspicion I will end up leaving this on one of my relatives' doorsteps, and they are going to be stuck with it whether they want it or not. Although why wouldn't they want it? It's an awesome gift basket!

But I'm looking forward to this holiday season, just the same. I am looking forward to keeping our traditions going, even if it is with some modifications. I am feeling truly blessed that my family is safe and healthy. I hope that you all are getting into the holiday spirit early this year as well. Send us your favorite traditions, and tell us if you discover any new ones this year!

As always, stay safe, stay healthy and stay the course.