Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Christmas Smackdown

I've been going through a lot of photos this week trying to pick some pictures for Dwija's 12 in 2014 link up, and in the process stumbled across some gems from Christmas pasts and started to realize how much progress we've made in the Christmas celebration department.  I figured the only way to know for sure was to do a thorough evaluation of the past few Christmases and see where we stood...so without further ado, I present: THE CHRISTMAS SMACKDOWN.

The Christmas Tree

2012 - Emeric was a new baby, and the girls were 2 and 3.  We decorated the tree, only to find it was routinely knocked over - sometimes several times a day.  We decided to remove all of the real ornaments and let the girls stick a few of their foam wreaths on the top.

2013 - As you can see from the photo on the left, we managed to keep the tree upright and mostly decorated and this year.  Except for the bottom 1/3, which were constantly being removed and hung on the window crank for no apparent reason.

2014 - The ornaments are never in the same place twice, but...they are ON THE TREE.  

WINNER: 2014.

The Advent Countdown

2012 - I found a photo of a paper chain leading up to a sadly colored picture of Jesus in the manger.  And red crayon on the wall.  And a bed without any bedding for some unknown reason.

2013 - I bought a bunch of used books on Amazon to do the "book a day" for Advent countdown thing.  I didn't get them wrapped, and just took one out of the box in my closet every morning.


WINNER: 2014

Christmas Cards

2012 - I threw the kids in some stripey PJ's and just rolled with the fact that there is no possible way to take a take a decent photo of 3 children 3 and under, despite what you may see on Pinterest.

2013 - The downside: I gave up on trying to photograph all the children at the same time and picked 3 separate photos.  The upside: I took advantage of my minions to do the stamping and addressing...

2014 - Lol nope.

WINNER: 2012


2012 - It would appear I let the girls help me with the peanut blossoms.  That or mama's been a little too deep into the holiday punch bowl.

2013 - Awww cutout cookies and a cute little photo was snapped.  What more can you ask for?

2014 - We only got to the peanut blossoms, mainly because they are my favorite.  However, it's worth noting that Emeric unwrapped kisses like a rockstar and didn't even eat them.  Ok, he might have licked one up a bit.  Not bad for a 2 year old, though.

WINNER: 2013

Gingerbread Houses

2012 - We basically spread some frosting on the roofs and let the girls sprinkle some confetti jimmies on top.

2013 - Not sure the girls contributed any more than the previous year, but we clearly helped them out with some icicle frosting.

2014 - I announced it was gingerbread making time, and the girls picked up their frosting and candies and went to town without assistance.  Which left Stephen and I free to make our own pretty spectacular little residence.

WINNER: 2014

Feast Days

2012 - I found this photograph of what I think is supposed to be St. Nick.  Made out of...bologna?

2013 - We started the coin in the shoe thing for St. Nicholas day, and attempted to make St. Nicholas cookies just like the ones Jessica's children apparently made by themselves and Stephen and I ended up taking over and they still didn't come out as nice.  (Who else thinks those photos were staged??)  I had books from the Advent countdown about St. Nicholas and Our Lady of Guadalupe, and printed some coloring pages for the girls.

2014 - We had coins in the shoes for St. Nicholas day.  We had books for the feast days of St. Nicholas and Our Lady of Guadalupe.  We did CRAFTS (!!) from Catholic Icing - and coloring pages for the feast of the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe.  I bought the Juan Diego DVD from CCC.  We made saffron buns FROM SCRATCH for the feast of St. Lucy (ok, there was no saffron in them...but they looked legit!!) and the girls made the appropriate construction paper head gear.  I was also determined to give the St. Nicholas cookies another go, but after about 3 frustrating seconds with the piping bag I decided "meeeehhhh...I just wanna eat these things."

WINNER: Cookie fail aside, 2014


2012 - We lived in an 1100 square foot apartment with 3 kids and figured they wouldn't remember much and had 0 expectations for Christmas so we bought like 3 things and wrapped them in newspaper from the recycling room.  As you can see, they are thrilled to the max.

2013 - We still lived in an 1100 square foot apartment with 3 kids, but thought they might start to have Christmas memories and also talk to their friends about what they got for Christmas.  We got some reasonable gifts and wrapped them in fancy store bought paper.

2014 - We decided to institute a limit of 3 presents per child (just like Jesus!!) and somehow the tree still ended up looking like this on Christmas morning (complements of family members who probably felt really bad for our children after seeing the photos from 2012.)

2014 BONUS - This was one of Emeric's gifts:

A rocking wooly mammoth that makes throes of death screams.  I'm pretty sure it doesn't get any better than that.

WINNER: 2014


2012: 1
2013: 1
2014: 5


We're getting there with baby steps, folks.  Just keep an eye out for an announcement about "The Jamie Gewand center for families who can't do the liturgical year good."


  1. In fairness, everyone was expecting the world to end on Dec 21 in 2012. Imagine our surprise when Dec 22 rolls around and we've got to get Christmas presents. I think newspaper-as-wrapping paper is pretty good given that sort of short notice. :)

  2. hahaha I love this! You win some, you lose some. ;)

  3. My husband and I were laughing at you descriptive comments under each photo. My favorite was the new paper wrapped gifts. I think we mostly laughed because everything reminded us so much of well....us ! Lol Thanks for sharing.

    1. Sorry for the typos. Holding a baby while typing nevers works well for me.

  4. I totally adore this juxtaposition of Christmas photos :) Might as well keep in simple when the kids are too little to remember anything! Now's the time to up our game :)