The holidays so far (& Friday Links)



Last year we spent the first part of the holidays in New York City (seeing the Santa at Macy’s and visiting old haunts), and while we had packed our makeshift advent calendar in our suitcase, we never really stuck to it.

The plan was an experiential advent calendar, and this year we followed through: Each day Hudson checks to find a couple of m&ms (which he carefully turns over to see the letters and then stares at impatiently while he has to wait to hear Aron or me read that day’s seasonal activity off a slip of paper. We’ve had a few holiday movie nights already, but lots of other fun things, too.

These have been some highlights so far…



Davis is such a sweet town. For the annual tree lighting ceremony, everyone gathers at the Food Co-op for hot cocoa and candles and walks together to the tree downtown. Then there are horse-drawn carriage rides, carolers, and free showings of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas at the Varsity theatre.


One Saturday morning was spent at the California Railroad Museum (always pretty at Christmastime), and followed by a stop at Sacramento’s Good Design Market.

Psst: Don’t tell Hudson, but he was supposed to get to ride the Railroad Museum’s Polar Express last night. We’d tried to get tickets last year (unsuccessfully) and reserved tables months in advance this year. But we wimped out over warnings of flooding and the like. Blame the pineapple express.





We paid a visit to Sileyville tree farm (though we chose a pre-cut Fir this year), and trimmed the tree—Skyler’s first. I love getting to play Christmas music without reservation.


Hudson and I painted peanuts to make some snowmen ornaments for the tree. (They ‘re awaiting colored scarves, here.)


And we hosted a S’Mores gathering in the backyard with friends.


(Look! A star and an angel up top!)

What are you up to this weekend? We’re going to have breakfast with Santa, check out the Remodelista Market at Heath SF, and have a turkey dinner. And maybe, after all this rain, we’ll check out the snow!

Some links if you’re in the mood… 

This book (or this one) would make a great gift for anyone with kids. Seem like resources you’d turn to before every birthday party or rainy day. Playful seems good, too!

I gave a little interview over on the Estella blog about traveling with kids.

Learned from Jenna Lyons that Holiday magazine is being reissued. I have a small collection of these and the imagery is always beautiful.

Brio train sets are so pricey! But Hudson would flip for this. (Via coos & ahhs.)

I’ve talked before about Bruce Feiler’s The Secrets of Happy Families and the emphasis he puts on traditions (recall this post about half-birthdays), but I’ve yet to read the entire book despite having been lent it by a friend. Jenny’s post about the “Do You Know-scale” and twenty questions for the dinner table has re-inspired me to pick it up. (And I love the thoughtful first comment on Jenny’s post.)

I have at least three restaurants in my fantasy development file for Davis (there are some surprising gaps), and any of these “minimal bohemian” interiors would make me happy. Truthfully? I’d like a version of Shed to come to town.

Did you realize just how much of the IKEA catalog is CGI?

Talking to kids about sex.

Despite spending all that time making these gift guides, I still haven’t finished my own shopping! Here are some good sales at some standbys if you’re in the same boat:
Anthropologie: 25% off all sweaters
Gap 30% off with code SHOP 
50% off at JCREW Factory this weekend (and 30% off at JCREW with code GIVETHIS)
Madewell: Up to 30% off with code GOFORIT

Have a good one! 

P.S. Highlights from last year’s holidays. (Definitely establishing some traditions, advent calendar or not.)

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