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Thanks for visiting Joy42. Follow along on my adventures as an American Expat. I hope to encourage you to seek out the little joys in your life.

Christmas Bucket List

Christmas Bucket List

Thanksgiving officially over. We hosted our Thanksgiving dinner (Friendsgiving, obviously) with a few friends this weekend and it was so much fun. But that also means that Christmas can officially begin! I created a list in the spirit of my Autumn Bucket List of 10 things I want to do this Christmas season. As a bonus, I also want to add "Make homemade egg nog" because Luke said it's not so readily available here in England and it's my favorite holiday beverage.

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1. Decorate sugar cookies. It's a Christmas tradition! We always decorate sugar cookies on my dad's side. I'm not sure that I've gotten any better over the years, but I still love it. With all the information out their about icing techniques, maybe this year will be my year, but I'm not holing my breath. Still, there's nothing better than putting on some Christmas music or a great Christmas movie and frosting some cookies. (And seeing how many actually make it out of the evening uneaten.) Also, this melting snowmen cookies are on of my Christmas staples.

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2. Visit the Christmas market. This is probably the thing I'm most excited about for my first European Christmas. We have small Christmas markets in the States (like the one my sister and I were at while in downtown Denver for the Parade of Lights), but they're a much bigger deal here. Originally, I was going to plan a trip the weekend of Luke's birthday to Austria, which has great Christmas markets and would be a fun little destination, but we decided it wasn't the right time for us to travel, so we'll have to do it next year. Still, Birmingham has already had their market up for a few weeks and it looks pretty great. I can't wait to go!

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3. See The Nutcracker. Last year when Luke came to Colorado for Christmas, I planned a night out in Denver. We stayed at The Brown Palace, an historic hotel downtown and we went to see The Nutcracker. Afterward, we went out to a champagne bar and had champagne, oysters, and truffle fries. It was so much fun. We decided to dress up too to make it even more special. Luke already owns a tux and I rented a dress from Rent the Runway for the night. We decided to make it a tradition that night. 

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4. Make cream cheese braids. My mom always makes cream cheese braids as part of our Christmas morning brunch. (She also makes mushroom pie, fruit salad, and something else that I'm forgetting.) They're my favorite part of Christmas and I could easily scarf one--or two--down myself. I'm excited to be able to carry on the tradition across the pond. I think it means I've officially grown up though. See, as long as I can remember having cream cheese braids for breakfast, I remember my mom working hard in the kitchen to get them ready on both Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. I guess I've made the transition from kid on Christmas to adult on Christmas.

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5. Watch 5 new Christmas movies. I already have them in mind: Arthur Christmas, Home Alone, Miracle on 34th Street, Die Hard, and, of course, It's A Wonderful Life. I know, I know. How is it even possible that I haven't seen those movies? (Maybe Arthur Christmas is a bit more forgivable though.) This year is the year I'm going to see them all! They're classics and it's honestly just embarrassing that I haven't seen them yet!

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6. Make holiday treats for the neighbors. If you haven't already figured out, I love baking. I just don't always love having cookies and cakes on hand. In the last few years, I've put together boxes with some of my favorite things to make: gingerbread people, sugar cookies, candy-coated pretzels, toffee, and more. I also love making gingerbread cake. Besides, nothing goes together better than peppermint ice cream and gingerbread cake.

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7. Set up a hot chocolate bar. I've been doing this for a few years now. I think it started in 2011 when I had a bad day at work in early December. I just decided to pick up some things from Michael's and such and it definitely made me feel better. (I'm pretty sure I was inspired by Pinterest, because that was the heigh of my obsession.) I've set it up year after year and even though I don't drink a ton of hot chocolate, you never know when the mood will strike and it comes in handy while hosting.

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8. Buy new Christmas jammies. Last year I picked up some PJs for both me and Luke at the J.Crew Factory Black Friday sale. We still wear our pajama bottoms on the regular and my Christmas socks have become my living room socks. I mostly want to continue this tradition so I have another pair of pajama bottoms in the mix. And Luke recently tore his other pair.

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9. Find a great holiday scented candle. I know it seems like a stupid goal, but we don't have Bath & Body Works here. We can't even order them online! (I ordered four fall candles during a sale and had them shipped to my parents' house in CO, but when my step mom tried to mail them to me, it was over $100. Luckily my mom was visiting a few weeks later, so she brought me 2 in her carry on.) Anyway, I have to find another candle store here. They've got to have great labels and of course great scents, and hopefully be reasonably priced. Any suggestions?

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10. Host a craft night. I usually manage to get together with some friends for Christmas crafts once before Christmas. Two years in a row, my friend Stephy hosted me for some crafts. I still use what I made with her in my Christmas decor! A few years, I went to a paint your own pottery place with a large group of friends. The place in my hometown let's you bring in snacks and wine if you reserve their party room. This year, I already have a few people in mind because we've been talking about having crafting and baking nights for months now!

I got my crate last week that has all of my Christmas decor in it. Last year I decorated the house the night before Thanksgiving because I was depressed and we weren't eating at my house so no one would notice until after Thanksgiving anyway. (Maybe I'll do a home tour, Christmas edition post later this month...) Anyway, the house has now been decorated and we are in the Christmas spirit!

The night of Thanksgiving I did a poll on my Instagram story about Christmas. Here were the results: (I bolded my answers. Let me know in the comments what your's are!)

Do you decorate before or after Thanksgiving?
Before 14% | After 86%

Do you shop on Black Friday?
Duh 17% | Hell No 83%

Do you put up a real or fake tree?
Real 44% | Fake 56%

Do you prefer Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?
Eve 47% | Day 53% 

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Christmastime in London

Christmastime in London

December 2017 Goals

December 2017 Goals