A SIMPLE CHRISTMAS TABLESCAPE

a simple Christmas table decoration

Today I am going to share the final piece of my Christmas decor; my Christmas tablescape.  I continued my theme of a simple + modern Christmas into my table and I am really happy with how they came together.  It is clean and easy, which is just what I wanted this years Christmas table to be all about.

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I started with the same glass Christmas trees from CB2 that I used on my mantles.  I brought in some of the mercury colored ones on the table and I varied the heights.  If you have followed me for a long time, you know that I typically like long, low, spread out tablescapes, as opposed to one big centerpiece.  I like the people sitting around the table to be able to see each other.  These trees fit that bill perfectly because they come in three different sizes so I could mix and match them to vary the height. 

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While I used faux garland from Michaels on my mantles, I choose real garland for my table. I love faux snow and I just sprinkled it all over my garland.  Gives it a little extra touch and breaks up all the green.  I found some white jingle bell ornaments from Jo-Ann's and cut the ornament hangers off them so I could spread them around the table.  I also grabbed some silver ornaments and votive candles to put in the mix.  I love to light them right before we eat.  It gives the table such a pretty glow.  If you don't want to do real votives, you could also use the fairy lights I used on my Charlie Brown tree or the battery operated votives.

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I also got the grey and white ribbon and ornaments that I used on the place settings from Jo-Ann's.  I love that the grey and white ribbons ties in to the color scheme that I've used throughout the house.

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For the place settings I used my everyday plates on the table and I combined it with my wedding crystal.  I love the mix of casual and formal.  I laid the plates on a diagonal for visual interest and then just placed my ornaments on them.  Simple as that.

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SHOP THE LOOK 


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STUFF YOUR STOCKINGS

stocking stuffer ideas for boys

I don't know about you guys, but stockings are one of my favorite parts of Christmas.  I love thinking of all the fun little gifts that I can put in Steve and the kids stockings.  It is our tradition to open all of our presents first and then while breakfast is cooking we go an open our stockings.  I don't know if it is because it is the last part of the Christmas gift opening experience or the mystery of not knowing what is inside, but it is just the absolute best. 

stocking gift ideas for boys
stocking stuffer ideas for girls

Whether you give big stuff or little stuff, I have got you covered this year.  I have created THREE different stocking gift guides for you.  You will find everything you need for the kids, the hubby, and even your own stocking below.  These will be my last gift guides for this year.  I have had the absolute best time doing them.  Seriously, it is one of my absolute favorite parts of my job and I hope you all enjoyed them and found some goodies for people on your gift list...or to put on your own gift list. 

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FOR HIM


STOCKING IDEAS FOR YOUR HUSBAND, STOCKING STUFFERS FOR YOUR BOYFRIEND

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15


STOCKING STUFFERS FOR HER

STOCKING STUFFER IDEAS FOR YOUR WIFE, STOCKING IDEAS FOR GIRLS, STOCKING GIFT IDEAS FOR YOUR GIRLFRIEND

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15


STOCKING STUFFERS FOR KIDS


STOCKING STUFFER IDEAS FOR KIDS

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15

 

 

GIFTS FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY

Christmas gifts on a budget

If you know me, you know that I am a certified Marshalls addict. I absolutely love the thrill of shopping high-quality finds and get so excited whenever I am able to snag a designer item at a discount. I love just strolling the aisles and waiting to see what surprises are going to jump off the racks or shelves at me.  What you might not realize is that I also love doing some of my holiday shopping at Marshalls too!  Whether you are looking for something for your family, your favorite four-legged friend, your office bestie, or the special guy in your life, there is always something for everyone. The best part is that you can shop for all of those people without breaking the bank.

I was hoping to get a jump-start on some of my holiday shopping, so I stopped by a couple of my local Marshalls to see what all I could find. I am going to share one of my most important Marshalls tips with you guys. Consider it my holiday gift to you. We are lucky enough to have more than one Marshalls in Nashville, so I always try to hit up multiple stores whenever I am out. If you have more than one store in your town, I definitely recommend doing the same. The merchandise and selection can vary by location, so I am sure to find what I am looking for at one of the stores.

hostess gifts on a budget, Christmas gifts for the person who loves to cook

While I was shopping last week, I hit the jackpot and got some of the cutest gifts for family and friends. I know that we all think about Marshalls for clothes and accessories finds, but did you know they also have a great selection of hostess gifts? Everything from home décor and kitchenware to awesome finds like this adorable cutting board that was a steal! I love that I can create curated, personalized gifts that my fellow hostess friends will enjoy!

Christmas gifts for a tween or teen girl on a budget

If you have a fashion loving tween or teen girl, then you are going to love this next gift idea. I found the cutest pair of designer jeans and paired it with a cream sweater. To complete the look I picked up a cozy cream scarf and metallic edged beanie. Since the tween in my life is a music lover, I also found these gorgeous marble + gold headphones that I could not pass up. Did you know that Marshalls also has lots of great small electronics and gadgets like headphones, chargers, and phone cases? The best part is that this entire gift cost me less than $50.00.

 

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If you have a mom, sister, or sister-in-law that is a beauty lover then you are going to love the selection of brand name beauty Marshalls has in store right now. Marshalls is the perfect place to find things for the girly-girl on your gift giving list. I love creating my own beauty gift baskets, so when I found this gorgeous felted wool storage container, I knew it would be perfect to fill up with all sorts of bath and beauty items. I grabbed some make-up removing wipes, rose gold beauty accessories, bath products, and even a great hairbrush. I love that I can get all the wrapping needs that I have for the holidays at Marshalls too, so I grabbed some cute scalloped tissue paper, ribbon and a cute ornament to tie on the basket. It is the little touches that people remember.

Christmas gifts for your husband, inexpensive Christmas gifts for your husband

Next up on my list is my tech loving hubby. I have never spent a lot of time perusing the electronics section in the men’s department at Marshalls, but I was shocked at how many fun gadgets they had for the man in your life. Everything from drones and record players to speakers and cameras. Speaking of speakers, I found this cool portable speaker that I could not resist. Not to knock on speakers everywhere, but most of them are so ugly. I love that this one is something that I wouldn’t mind sitting on a shelf or a bed side table. I paired it with an extra charging cable and viola! I had a gift for only $16.00.

Christmas gift ideas for your dog

And last but certainly not least, we cannot forget all of the fur babies on our list. We have a precious yellow lab named Jack who is very much a part of our family. I am always looking for cute little things to pick up for him, and on this trip I made him his very own doggie gift basket. I used a cute dog treat container that I found for only $19.99 and filled it will all kinds of pet goodies for him. He got a new leash, stuffed animal and even some dog treats because he is such a good boy.  

Hopefully you will find tons of great items that allow you to check-off loved ones from your holiday gift list.


Thank you to Marshalls for sponsoring this post.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.  Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Living with Landyn possible.

WHAT TO WEAR : HOLIDAYS WITH THE GIRLS

what to wear to a holiday girls night out

Today we are going to talk about the importance of carving out time for your girlfriends this holiday season, and any time throughout the year.  During the hustle and bustle of the holidays unfortunately it is sometimes our relationships that take a hit.  It can be so hard to squeeze in that date night with the hubby or time spent with your girlfriends.  These things are usually the first things that get scratched off the calendar when the schedule gets full. 


WHAT I'M WEARING



floral maxi dress

Dress | Hat | Shoes | Bracelets | Necklace

Whether it is just a cup of coffee or a girls gift exchange during your lunch break, it is so important to spend time with the women who fill you up.  I am so blessed with amazing, beautiful talented girlfriends here in Nashville.  We are mothers, business owners, musicians, songwriters, the list goes on and on and I always gain so much inspiration and support from them.  They have all been so genuinely excited for me as I have grown my business and my brand and they are always willing to help me out when I need them.

I was so excited when my friend Jackie recently moved to Nashville.  Her husband and Steve both played at Michigan and we have known each other for a really long time.  She has an awesome TV show called Jack of All Tastes and is so incredibly talented. Give her a follow @jackiellong . Since she is new in town, I have been wanting to introduce her to my girl gang.  I figured a fun Christmas girlfriend gift exchange lunch would be the perfect time.  This is a great idea for working mom's or mom's with young kids who might be in preschool.  I mean everyone needs to eat, am I right.

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We went to Salt + Vine and met up with my sweet girlfriend Maile.  Maile is the blogger behind www.MaileMisajon.com / Mother is a Verb and is an amazing writer.  She is a must read and a must follow @mailemisajon .  She is also a mom to a beautiful little girl and twin boys, as well as a talented musician and songwriter. Basically a total boss babe. 


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studded black top and black jeans, perfect for a girls night out
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Top | Jeans | Shoes

I have been dying to try Salt + Vine and I am so glad that we went.  It is the perfect location for a girl's lunch or a cocktail with your girlfriends.  It is so light and bright and BEAUTIFUL.  It has a really simple, modern aesthetic and I really liked it.  It doesn't hurt that the food was delicious as well.  Maile and Jackie both had salads and I had a delicious tuna salad that was on special. OMG. So yummy. They also have a pretty stellar wine selection and they make to die-for charcuterie boards. Not to mention they have a killer happy hour where they do $5 featured wines and snacks.  If that is not an excuse to have a holiday girl's night out, I don't know what is. 

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Last week I swung by my local Evereve store to grab some outfits that would be perfect for your girl's night out.  I tried on so many great pieces, that I had a really hard time narrowing it down to just two. Man. If you are needing any outfits for your holiday parties or events, you have got to check out your local Evereve store or their website. I wanted to show you a great daytime look if you are doing a girls lunch.  The dress I chose is definitely a departure for me, but it is probably one of the most flattering dresses I have ever worn. I felt really comfortable and pretty in it. I paired it with a sock bootie and a hat and my look was complete.  Since the dress was more patterned then I usually wear, I kept my jewelry really simple.

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For my night look, I fell in love with this studded top.  I paired it with black coated jeans, but it would look awesome with this skirt that I wear all the time.  This top is a little cropped, so it would be great with high-waisted jeans. 

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GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN 


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Thank you to Evereve for sponsoring this post.  As always, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.  Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Living with Landyn possible.

OFFICE HOLIDAY PARTY ATTIRE

What to wear to a holiday office party, a chic and sophisticated dress for a holiday office party

Dress | Necklace | Purse | Shoes

Who has a holiday office party they are attending?  Or the party of a spouse or significant other that they will be attending?  These events can be pretty stressful.  Lots of smiling and nodding and talking to people that you don't really know.  Luckily just because the event is stressful, doesn't mean that dressing for it has to be.  Luckily you have Landy to the rescue to help you with all your dressing needs for your office holiday function.  I will make sure you are the most stylish person at the party and will have the outfit that sets the bar for your office holiday party attire.

what to wear to an office christmas party, printed floral pleated midi skirt

Skirt | Top (similar) | Necklace | Purse | Shoes

When it comes to deciding what to wear the struggle is real between wanting to look professional, but still look chic and stylish.  Luckily you can put your sensible pumps and twinsets away and I will show you what to wear no matter how conservative...or crazy the company you work for is.


FLIRTY AND FUN


What to wear to an office holiday party, fun and flirty skirt for holiday office party

I am in love with this first look.  I think it is the perfect for a holiday party that is a little more casual and perhaps more conservative.  This is also a great look because it is so versatile.  It is sometimes hard to justify spending a ton of money on an outfit that you feel like you can only wear once.  This outfit is basically the opposite of that.  It could go anywhere from the office party, to church or your kid's holiday program.  How is that for bang for your buck?

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This look is also something that you could possibly put together from pieces that you already had in your closet.  Pleated midi skirts are huge this year, so there is a chance that you might already have one in your closet.  If you don't, I have good news for you because the one I am wearing if only $40!  I love the print on the skirt, it definitely makes it feel a little more special and festive.  It also comes in red, if that's your thing.  Pair it with a simple black sweater and a chunky necklace and you are ready to party.  If you live in a colder climate you could pair it with this cute faux fur jacket.

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FUN + FLIRTY BOTTOMS


FUN + FLIRTY TOPS

FUN + FLIRTY JEWELRY


SOPHISTICATED + CHIC


Green Strapless dress, what to wear to a holiday work party

This look almost showed up to my husband's office Christmas party last weekend until I pulled a last minute wardrobe change.  When I was picking my dress for the CMA's last month I polled you guys on what I should wear.  I went with the black studded dress, but I had so many votes for the two green ones, that I went on a hunt for a green holiday party dress for you guys.  This one is PERFECT if you have a dressier Christmas party to attend.  It is still totally office appropriate because it doesn't cut down to low and it isn't too short or too tight.  All major no-no's for the holiday office party.  It does however have this cute ruffle and it is cut lower in the back than it is in the front.

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SOPHISTICATED + CHIC OPTIONS



A SIMPLE + MODERN CHRISTMAS

Simple and modern Christmas Decorations.

skirt (for 25% off use PRETTYTHINGS25)| top (marshalls) | shoes | earrings

Today is holiday home tour here at Living with Landyn and I am excited to share what I did this year.  Let me start with a little back story.  As you know, we are in the middle of a renovation right now and the attic space where I store all of my Christmas decorations happens to be right over the closet space that is getting renovated.  When the electricians were doing work in the attic they basically just threw everything in a big jumbled pile and left it that way.  Do not even get me started.  I literally can not find where any of my Christmas decorations are because it is such a mess.  Both Sandi (my mother-in-law) and I put our foot through the ceiling trying to find things and after that we basically just threw in the towel and gave up.

Landyn placing glass christmas tree on mantle

You are probably wondering why I am telling you all of this.  What it all boils down to is that the theme of this Christmas is simple.  I wanted a more simple Christmas this year, both in our decorations and how we approached the season and the renovation just helped me do that.  So less is more this year and I wanted to create a really beautiful, clean, simple, more modern Christmas look this season.  Everything is white and shades of gray with greenery providing my pop of color.  My inspiration piece was some white wood beaded garland that I saw at CB2 when they first released their holiday collection this year.

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THE CHRISTMAS TREE


White flocked Christmas tree with white and silver ornaments, a modern christmas tree

I guess the theme of this year's holiday decor post is backstory, because I have another back story on the tree.  This year I got a wild hair and decided that I wanted a fake tree.  I know.  I am a maniac.  I also decided that since I wanted a really simple and modern feel to Christmas this year that I wanted a non-traditional tree.  I ended up ordering the Alpine Balsam Fir tree from Balsam Hill when they were having a big sale.  My love for a Charlie Brown Christmas tree runs deep, so I fell in love with it as soon as I got it out of the box.  The only problem is that I have three other people in my house that are not in love with the Charlie Brown style Christmas tree and they freaked out. 

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Luckily, when I was stopping by my local tree stand to pick up some greenery I spied a beautiful flocked tree across the tree lot.  My local tree lot has real trees that they flock for you and set up in a stand.  You can even buy them with the lights already on them, if you want.  They are perfect because they are completely low maintenance, like a fake tree.  I don't have to water it, it doesn't shed, etc, but it still smells and looks like a real Christmas tree.  It is truly the best of both worlds. 

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Unfortunately they did not have a 9 foot flocked tree available at the lot, so I had to improvise.  I bought a 7 foot tree and when I got home I took a sturdy rattan basket and turned it upside down.  Since the tree was already in a stand, all I had to do was set the stand on the basket.  In order to hide the ugly tree stand, I got a yard of white fabric from JoAnn's and just wrapped it around the base of the tree.  Problem solved.

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I hit up Michaels with my 50% off coupons and literally bought them out of every size white glass ball ornament they had.  I wanted everything on this tree to be white and silver, so I also grabbed a couple packs of the large silver balls when I was at Homegoods.  I love doing large ornaments like these because they are great filler and make a huge impact.  You just want to make sure that you use an odd number when using larger ornaments.  I picked up the really modern wire star ornaments from World Market and called it a day.  I told you simple and modern was the theme this year.

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flocked Christmas tree branches
Silver and White Ball ornaments on flocked Christmas Tree

THE MANTLE


Gray and White Modern Christmas Mantle

As I mentioned above, the white wood garland was my first inspiration piece for my Christmas decor.  The next thing I found were these awesome gray and white stockings by Sugar Paper at Target.  They came with blush and white pom-poms on them.  Obviously blush wasn't in my color scheme so I just cut off the blush pom-poms and left the white ones.  That is a good tip.  Don't be afraid to modify something you find if it is not exactly what you want it to be.  You don't have to settle for something you don't 100% love,  you just have to make it your own. 

Simple, moderns Christmas mantle with gray stockings

I actually broke with tradition on my mantle greenery and went with faux greenery this year.  I know, I know.  The greenery sprigs I found were just so realistic and pretty.  I just wired together several individual sprigs to make the garland.  I must admit, it is kind of nice not to have evergreen needles shedding everywhere.  I think since so much of the main floor is a constant mess because of construction this year, I just could not handle one more thing to clean up.

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To anchor my simple, modern mantle, I found these awesome glass Christmas trees from CB2 and I knew that they would be absolutely perfect.  They really are a great example of the overall look that I am going for in my Christmas decorations this year.  They also are a good choice because you could leave them up through out the winter because they don't scream Christmas.  A good bang for your buck!  They come in four different sizes and three different finishes.  I would definitely check them out.

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THE KITCHEN


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I always put a second tree in my kitchen.  It is our family gathering spot and the room we walk in when we come home, so I like it to feel festive too.  For years, I put my awesome flocked tree from Walmart in the kitchen.  This year since I had a real flocked tree in the family room, I convinced the family to let me keep my Charlie Brown tree and use it in the kitchen.  I will say that the family has warmed up to it some and says it looks better now that it is decorated.

White geometric ornament on aspen balsam fir, simple modern christmas decor

The kitchen tree is usually where we put all of our family and sentimental ornaments.  Since I wasn't able to get to any of those this year, I went ahead and continued the theme from the family room and used white glass ornaments.  Since the branches are really spread apart in this tree I did not want to use the traditional Christmas lights because you would really be able to see the wires.  I opted for the wired LED fairy lights on this tree and I love how it turned out.  I must admit I am completely obsessed with these lights.  You can use them for anything, mantles, tablescapes, I even used mine on the white logs in my family room fireplace.

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For the mantle in the kitchen, I wanted to keep a very similar look to what I did in the family room so I used the same gray stockings that I had in the family room in the kitchen.  I paired it with a faux fur stocking that I picked up at HomeGoods to give a little extra texture.  I also used the same glass Christmas trees and faux garland that I wired together.  You will notice that I also incorporated the twinkle lights into my garland.  I love the glow that it gives to the mantle.  The best part is that they are battery operated so they do not require any wires or plugs.  Perfect for mantles and tablescapes.

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AROUND THE HOUSE


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MY SIMPLE + MODERN CHRISTMAS DECOR


HOLIDAY GIFT WRAPPING

GIFT WRAPPING TUTORIAL

top (different cut) | necklace (similar) 

Wrapping the gifts is one of my favorite parts about Christmas.  I spend hours agonizing over the colors and theme for each years gifts. I usually start with an inspiration piece, whether that be my tree decorations, a specific roll of wrapping paper, a ribbon or a gift tag that has caught my eye.  This year I have gone very simple with my Christmas decorations, which you will be seeing tomorrow, with lots of white.  I decided that I wanted to stick with neutrals, big surprise, but bring a little contrast to the trees so I am incorporating a lot of grey and silver into my gift wrap. 

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I found a lot of my Christmas wrap at The Container Store this year.  They always have such a beautiful selection to choose from.  Of course I also had to hit up Target to check out their Sugar Paper collection, and they did not disappoint. Plus a few stops at my local JoAnn's, Michael's, HomeGoods and TJMaxx. I put together four different looks using a combination of gray, silver, gold and white papers and accessories and I am loving how they turned out. 

Christmas gift wrapping ideas, gift wrap ideas

LOOK ONE 

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LOOK TWO

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LOOK THREE

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A LITTLE HOW-TO 


  • try to buy paper with some weight to it and avoid the flimsy stuff that tears easily.
  • unroll paper on a flat surface, dining room table or kitchen counter work best. Wrapping on the floor makes it harder to create a clean crisp package. 
  • roll paper out and flip box over so that the seems are on the bottom on the box. 
  • measure out just enough paper *the secret is NOT using too much paper, which causes the bulkiness and sloppy folds. Ends should just overlap a few inches on the sides of the box.
  • pull paper tightly, folding cut edge underneath to create a clean closure. 
  •  use sharp scissors or rotary cutter to cut paper. 
  • secure with clear tape or double sided tape for a clean look.
  • for the sides: flatten the paper against the high part of the box.
  • You'll create two little wings that stick out, take each wing and fold against the box to create a triangle, using your fingernail to crease the sides, so that it looks clean and crisp. Fold over and secure in place with tape. 
  • Repeat on other side.
  • Flip box over and it's ready to embellish with ribbons, fresh greens and ornaments.
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 WRAPPING PAPER I LOVE



 EMBELLISHMENTS + TOOLS 



CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS: A FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT

CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS, MAKING CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS WITH A FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT

Lily's Pajamas | My Pajama Top | My Pajama Bottoms | Luke's Pajama Top | Luke's Pajama Bottom

I get asked a lot of questions about various holiday traditions we have as a family.  I did a post last year about one of our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day traditions and today I am going to share another fun family tradition.  We love doing a family movie and game night with the kids.  We make a big palette on the floor and watch all of the seasonal TV specials and Christmas movies we can handle.

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Top | Pants

My kid's favorite part of this tradition is that I make something they call "kid nachos".  You can make these any time of the year and add a seasonal twist to them depending on what you are celebrating.  Since we are in the holidays I added red and green M&Ms and sprinkles to make mine a little more festive.  This is such a fun and easy dessert or snack recipe to make and your kids will go absolutely bananas for it.  I know mine do.


CHRISTMAS "NACHOS"


Christmas Nachos, easy christmas deserts

WHAT YOU'LL NEED


 

  • 1 bag of Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps 
  • I bag milk chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 bag white chocolate chips, melted 
  • m&m's 
  • assorted sprinkles
  • candy cane pieces
  • mini marshmallows 

WHAT TO DO


  1. Spread pretzel crisps on a parchment lined tray or serving platter. 
  2. Melt chocolate chips according to package. Each one in a separate microwave safe dish. Usually on low power setting in your microwave, stirring every 30 seconds being careful not to burn. Until chips are melted. 
  3. First drizzle milk chocolate over pretzel crisps.
  4. Quickly add a layer of mini marshmallows, you don't want the chocolate to dry before you add the toppings. The chocolate acts as the glue that holds it all together.  
  5. Drizzle a little more milk chocolate, then sprinkle m&m's.
  6. Next drizzle melted white chocolate over top and repeat layers of candy + toppings. 
  7. Allow to harden before serving. About 10-15 mins. 

*Good luck not eating it all before it's ready to serve. 
Xx
Landyn

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Unicorn Onesie

Do  you guys remember that adorable unicorn onesie that I put in the gift guide for tween girls?  Well here it is live in living color.  Isn't it so cute?  I promise that your girl will love it!  Lily is pretty tall for her age, so she can wear women's clothes but an X-Small should fit most tweens just right.  If you need it in bigger sizes than an XS, I found it here and it is available in all sizes.  And I just need to have a mom moment for a second, but I love this picture of Lily.  She looks so grown up, but still like my little girl all at the same time.  It captures her personality so perfectly.  Excuse me while I go lock myself in the bathroom to cry.

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Pajama Pants | Top

And oh this sweet boy.  I looked back at the pictures from our Christmas post last year and I just can't believe how much he has grown in one year.  That is one of the great things about blogging.  It forces me to take pictures and document some of the things that are important in our life.  He is getting so big and handsome, but is still my tender-hearted little boy in so many ways.  I love that he still has so much belief and enthusiasm for Christmas.  It is going to be a sad day when he gets to big for all of this Christmas hubabaloo.


WHAT WE'RE WATCHING


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We love a good Christmas movie over here (and yes Night at the Museum is not technically a Christmas movie, but we really love it so it is always in the mix) and I wanted to share some of our favorites with you.  Our two absolute favorites are Elf and Home Alone, probably like 99% of America.  We also love The Holiday and Love Actually (well Lily and I do), A Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation, Polar Express and The Santa Clause.  So many good ones to choose from.  What are your family's favorite Christmas movies?  We are always looking for new ones to add to our list.  Leave them in the comments below.

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Hopefully we have inspired you to set aside a night or morning...or entire day and make that palette on the floor and snuggle up together.  I am really trying to be more intentional this holiday season and simplify some of the crazy so that we can just spend time together.  It doesn't take a lot of money, it doesn't require a lot of effort, but these are the memories that I hope my kids hold on to and remember when they look back at our Christmases.  My hope is that some of the traditions that we have established as a family, they will carry into their own families one day. 

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PAJAMA'S FOR MAMA



PAJAMA'S FOR GIRLS



PAJAMA'S FOR YOUR LITTLE MAN



EVERYTHING YOU'LL NEED


ELF ON THE SHELF HOW-TO

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Do you have an Elf?  Do you wake up in a cold sweat the entire month of December because you forgot to move your Elf?  Are you dreading the day that your friend from the North Pole arrives?  If you have answered yes to any of those questions, then this post for you.  I have been in the Elf game for a LOOOOOONG time.  Some might say too long based on the age of the kids.  Those some, would be me by the way.  If you remember, last year I gave you a round-up of all my Elf on the Shelf ideas from years past.  I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I consider myself a bit of an Elf expert. If you need some more ideas and want to see last years post, click here

After last year’s post, I got a lot of questions about how I make Lanny + Holly do certain things.  How do you position his arms? Where did you find all of the props? How do you make things stick to him?  Today I am here to share all my secrets with you so you can make all of your kids Elf dreams come true.  My top 3 tricks are wiring the arms for poses that stick, glue dots to allow your Elf to hold things, and miniatures for your props. Keep reading....

How to wire an Elf on the Shelf's arm for positioning
how to use glue dots to position your elf

I thought it would be easier to show you how to do some of these things rather than trying to explain them to you, so I filmed short video showing you some of my tips and tricks.

As I said, I have been in the Elf game a long time and when I started they did not make all of the accoutrements that they make now.  My go-to sources for all of the props that I use are local craft stores like Michaels or Hobby Lobby, Etsy and then just regular retailers like Target.  If you are shopping at your local craft store, then hit up the dollhouse or miniatures section and you will find all kinds of awesome props.  I am going to source some awesome props and kits for your Elf, but if you really just want to not have to worry about anything, you HAVE to check out this Elf in the Shelf complete activity kit.


HOLIDAY DATE NIGHT IDEAS

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Kimono | Skirt | Tank | Shoes | Purse

The hustle and bustle of the holidays is really about to pick-up.   Between kids events, holiday parties, holiday shopping and just the normal stress of day-to-day life it is really hard to spend some quality time with your sweetie.  Date nights are a huge deal in our house and Steve and I really make a priority to try and carve out time for each other regardless of what time of year it is.

Christmas date night ideas, what to wear to holiday parties, what to wear to holiday date nights

The fun thing about the holidays is that it opens up a whole slew of date ideas that are so much more fun than a dinner and a movie.  Today I want to share with you some of my favorite holiday date night ideas.  I know it is crazy.  I know you are tired.  I know you are stressed.  But I promise just one night out, or even an afternoon away from the kids, will totally be worth it.  I hope you find something fun for you and your sweetie to do.


HIT UP THE CHRISTMAS LIGHT DISPLAY


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This is such a good one because just about every town has a local Christmas light display.  Maybe it is at the zoo, maybe it is at your botanical gardens, maybe it is in your city's downtown area.  Regardless of where it is, this is such a fun date night idea.  I think it is so romantic to hold hands and stroll through the lights.  It is also nice to be able to do it without the kids, so you can actually take your time and enjoy the lights without having to chase kiddos all throughout the display.  The light display that you can not miss here in Nashville is at Cheekwood.  They have over 1 million lights on display, real live reindeer, s'mores pits...and they even have hot toddies and alcohol for sale. If you are coming in town for the holiday's, then you must stop by and visit this display.


HEAD TO A CHRISTMAS PERFORMANCE


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And I mean a Christmas performance other than your kid's holiday program.  If your husband typically balks at more cultural experiences, the holidays is a great time to get him to try something new.  Head to the ballet to see the Nutcracker, hit up your local symphony to hear their Christmas concert, or check out your local community theater's holiday production.  This is a great time to convince your hubby to do these kind of things if he doesn't normally like them because the performances are normally fun, the music is typically familiar, and who knows, maybe you will convince him to become a renaissance man.


EXPLORE A NEW PART OF TOWN


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This is such a fun way to get out of the rut of going to the same restaurants in the same part of town.  Steve and I were actually going to head to Cheekwood when I was taking these pictures.  Unfortunately I didn't do my research and they had not opened their Christmas display to the public yet.  It actually ended up being a happy accident though, because I was driving around looking for places to shoot and I stumbled upon the cutest neighborhood that I didn't even know existed.  Even if you have lived in your town your whole life, chances are there are areas you haven't explored or don't head to frequently.  The holiday's are a perfect time to try a new restaurant and then hop in the car and drive around the area looking at Christmas lights.


GIVE BACK


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In this season of shopping and spending, it is sometimes easy to loose sight of the true meaning of Christmas and what is really important.  In order to reconnect with not only your spouse, but your local community, you can have a date night that focuses on giving back.  Pick an angel off the local angel tree and you and your spouse can go shopping for items on their wishlist.  Head to your local Walmart or Target and pick a person or two and surprise them by buying the gift or gifts they had in their cart.  Serve dinner at a local homeless shelter.  Spend time at a local nursing home.  There are so many opportunities to give back to people who may be hurting during this holiday season, so share the love you and your sweetie have for each other with everyone else.


CHRISTMAS MOVIE MARATHON


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This is a great one because it is something that you can do at home if you can't get a babysitter and head out.  We are huge Christmas movie lovers over here.  In fact, stay tuned next week because I am going to share some of our family's favorite holiday movies.  Anyways, once you get the kids down for bed, snuggle up on the couch and binge watch some of your favorite Christmas movies.  You can make some hot chocolate and grab a copy of A Christmas Story and Elf and make a night of it.  I found this hot chocolate recipe on Pinterest and it looks delicious if you are looking for one.


WHAT TO WEAR


what to wear on holiday dates, holiday date night ideas

Now that we have tackled what you guys are doing on your date night, now let's tackle what you need to wear.  I know it will vary depending on what activity you choose for your date night, but some of these suggestions require a little more effort going in to them.  I think the holiday's make a great excuse for getting a little more dressed up or putting a little extra effort into what we are wearing.  I also like to use it as an excuse to maybe try something a little different that what I normally wear.  That is why when I saw this velvet kimono on Sole Society's website I had to snatch it up.  It is not normally something that I would wear, but I loved the dressier feel it had paired with my favorite skirt and a simple black tank. Sole Society always has the best scarfs, ponchos and kimonos.  This kimono would also be perfect for a holiday party.  You could dress it up or down depending on the occasion.  It would look perfect paired with black jeans and black cigarette trousers.  

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I love a good ankle strap heel.  I wear them all the time.  In fact, if you recall, I loved them enough to wear them for 15 hours straight at my live show and lost feeling in my toes for almost a month.  Luckily all that feeling has come back and I am back on the high heels band wagon.  I love these velvet ankle strap heels from Sole Society because they are a dressier version of my classic stand-by.  As you know, Sole Society has some of my favorite shoes and I have a feeling these are going to be in heavy rotation this holiday season.   

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Regardless of where your are going or what you are wearing, take a little time out to truly enjoy this season with your spouse or significant other.  Spending that quality time together is a gift that you give to yourselves and each other.  Hope I have inspired your to call that babysitter or rent those holiday movies!


WHAT I'M WEARING



Thank you to Sole Society for sponsoring this post.  As always, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.  Thank you to all of you who support the brands that help make Living with Landyn possible.