Christmas with the Chaneys

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

It was my first Christmas as a Chaney!

I'm a big fan of the Christmas season - I don't think I go overboard but I love just about all of it. It starts with the radio station that switches to all Christmas songs right before Thanksgiving. You just can't be in a bad mood while listening to a Mariah Carey chart topper. Perfect for listening during my commute to and from work. Then, it's the decorations, upstairs, downstairs, and outside. Nothing over the top but I would feel remiss if I didn't have holiday decorations up. After that, wrapping gifts, looking at lights, and general merriment round out my December.

Somehow I married a man that's more Grinch than Buddy the Elf.  It just isn't his thing. Nor is celebrating his birthday. Such opposites I tell you!

But being that it's our first Christmas as a married couple, we wanted to try and make it feel more special. So we decided to host our families for our first ever Christmas dinner.

I was a little nervous. While I love to plan and prepare for events, the stress is inevitable. Have you seen the YouTube video called, "Company is Coming"?

While I'm not quite on that level, we kept joking through our preparations so we (I) didn't lose my cool.

We even had time to take advantage of the amazing December weather (before the rain and floods) and walk Candy Cane Lane.

Candy Cane Lane is just a couple of blocks from our house. It's a pretty big deal in St. Louis - the houses on a couple of blocks of one street all work together to create a light display for people to visit. The Mr. Potato Head was in our friend's yard.

Christmas eve was spent at my parent's house. My mom always plans an appetizer bar that never disappoints. We also do a secret santa gift exchange. My cousin got a selfie stick as a joke but it turned out to be pretty useful.

Christmas morning was pretty low key. We slept in and I made Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls. I halved the recipe and made the dough the day before, otherwise there wouldn't have been enough time for them to rise before hanger set in. My first baking project from scratch. NBD.

Side note: We got a new oven! It was one of the first wedding gifts we purchased for ourselves and we love it. It is great being able to cook again!

We opened presents in front of the tree. I got Chris a new winter coat - not really a useful present yet considering that most of December has been around the 50-60 degree mark. Hoping that winter shows up sometime soon. Chris got me a new sweater and a new Blues hat. I've already worn both and love them!

The rest of the day was spent preparing for dinner. It is a Christmas tradition from Chris's side of the family to feast on lasagna on Christmas day. So I learned to make lasagna from Chris's stepdad, Gary. While lasagna can easily be thrown together, Gary makes his own sauce and came over to show me the way. I'm always amazed by people who can cook without following a recipe (I'm getting better at it the more I cook). We would add spices to the sauce, let it simmer, and then taste every couple of minutes or so until we we're happy with it.

It was heavenly. The cheese was so gooey and the sauce had just the right amount of basil and oregano. I'm going to make more this week for my friend who just had a baby. Hopefully her family will love it just as much as we did.

We ate, we drank, and opened more presents.

We were pretty exhausted after everyone left. It was definitely tiring hosting a gathering but I'm so glad that we did it.

How was your Christmas? Did you host your own celebration or did you travel over the river and through the woods? What traditions does your family have? Would love to hear about them in the comments!

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