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Monday, December 27, 2010

A Newlywed Christmas

I hope the Christmas weekend treated everyone well and hopefully you are enjoying this long weekend with another day off. Here are a few casual snapshots of our first Christmas together. Not the highest quality because I just took them on my slightly outdated point and shoot, but it's better than nothing. From my family to yours...enjoy!

Christmas morning...

We're newlyweds, and didn't quite get around to getting stockings this year. Instead we got creative...
My hubby filled a vase (I'd been wanting another!) with little doilies with a different "coupon" written on each such as date nights out.

The "stocking", with candy in the toes and a vase filled with date coupons. 

Whole Foods cookie? Now that's a coupon I won't have a problem using!

Christmas with the family... 

 What an adorable cupcake Christmas tree my mom had picked up especially for Christmas dinner. 
 I'm no fan of icing but this was too cute not to get a snapshot of!

Penguin rings off the top of the cupcakes.  Still a kid at heart.

 Dark chocolate cherry cordials are always a part of any Osborne family Christmas. Unfortunately I'm not a fan of cherry, but I'm a huge fan of dark chocolate (border line addiction I might add) so eating the chocolate and leaving the cherries was no problem for me. 

What an adorable gift bag! My brother in law gave us a gift in this. Next year I'm giving someone else a gift disguised as coal. 

A White Christmas...

 We woke up to this winter wonderland the morning after Christmas, a rare occurrence in the Carolinas. 
 View from our balcony.

Loved these picture because of all the texture with the wispy branches and thick white snow. 

Merry Christmas from the new Mr. & Mrs. Schneider!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Christmas Story as Told by Little Ones

I think it's often all to easy for us adults to get caught up in all the wrong things come Christmas time. While I was running around picking up some last minute groceries, dodging road happy drivers, passing the time in extra long lines, and trying not to crash my shopping cart into yet another holiday truffle display I became a bit exasperated. "Is this it? Is this suppose to be the Christmas that got me so excited as a kid?". Coming home I dropped my grocery bags on the counter, changed into some comfy sweats and Uggs and settled down to relax. Low and behold I came across this video, The Christmas Story as told by the children of St. Paul's Church and before I knew it I was reminded of what this season is really all about. Oh, and keep an eye out for the little one who plays the sheep in the stable- adorable- I wanted to take him home! 

"They called the baby Jesus. And they loved him."

And I agree, glow sticks and laughter really do make a party. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Advent Conspiracy

Pretty moving, huh? This video made it's way around last year, so chances are you've seen it once before. But did it still get you this time around? It sure got me. Especially that part about the gift card because in all honesty I love nothing more than a gift's like a magical pass to go shopping. For free. Glory!

All right, now in all seriousness my hubby and I have been very intentional about how we want to celebrate Christmas. This is our first married Christmas, which as I'm told, is the time to start defining how our family will celebrate for years to come. Traditional meals, activities, decorations, gifts- I've been asked many times this holiday season about how my new hubby and I are planning to celebrate. But in all honesty, whenever we talked about the subject, the only things I could come up with were that I wanted to relax at home and cook a meal together, spend some time with family, and maybe do something that would make an impact, no matter how small it might seem.

I became concerned that maybe I was somewhat of a scrouge- I wasn't really interested in decorating the house, getting a tree, or belting out the traditional holiday tunes. I wanted something...more. Decorating with holly, setting up a tree, and bursting forth in a rendition of Here Comes Santa Claus are certainly fine holiday activities. It's not as if I cringe at them. However, every time these "traditions" came to mind they just looked so empty for me, they just didn't "feel" like Christmas.

In short my husband and I headed out to get a tree the other night, but as the Christmas tree lot guy was dragging the tree out and screwing on an overpriced tree stand I could honestly only think of the faces of these children in Africa I'd seen on a clean water video a few weeks earlier. I. Just. Couldn't. Do.It. I pulled my husband aside and said that I was sort of freaking out, I just couldn't get a Christmas tree when I knew kids were going thirsty in Africa. And just like that we stumbled upon the first Schneider family tradition: Giving up something very intentionally in order to give something to someone in need. We decided that choosing something to give up, rather than just writing an extra check, would make the experience of giving much more meaningful for us.

This Christmas, instead of a Christmas tree we're getting the opportunity to give an individual living in a developing country who suffers from a physical disability the chance for a new kind of life by providing a wheelchair via The Free Wheelchair Mission. For just $59.20 FWM will ship, put together, and deliver a unique wheelchair made from a sustainable take on traditional plastic white chairs and bicycle parts. By using bicycle parts for these wheelchairs, repairs are made easier as bikes parts are available in almost any country. Did you know that without such a wheelchair these individual's life spans are just in their mid twenties?

In closing, I'm not against Christmas trees, hanging holly, or screeching out an off-key Santa themed ballad. Rather, I'm beginning to realize that the happiness we find in Christmas has a lot more to do with giving than receiving. It's an age old adage, but only because it's proved true time and again.