Saturday, December 26, 2015

A Merriest of Christmases

These past two days have been unusually relaxing and quite peaceful.

Ryan and I spent the day wrapping up the last of our gifts, setting the table for brunch on Christmas morning, and tidying the house before we headed off to church for the evening.

I didn't have much time to share with you the rest of the house, and that's okay.

I did however enjoy playing with the boys and snugging on the couch as we read the Christmas story. I enjoyed chatting late into the night with my handsome husband as we laughed and stuffed stockings.

And I enjoyed a few too many delicious Christmas cookies.

I love Christmas day.

I love hosting Christmas for my family. For the past number of years, we've hosted a late breakfast on Christmas morning. My sisters and parents all come over after we've each had some time to do our own gifts with our families. We enjoy a big brunch, and exchange gifts with each other.

It's especially nice because it means that we never have conflicting Christmases. Breakfast is always with my family, and dinner is always with Ryan's.

As you can see, the table wasn't quite finished. Some of the napkins we in the wash still, and again, that's okay.

Everything was laid out the day before and prepped in the fridge so I could spend as little time in the kitchen as possible and as much time as I could soaking in each moment and watching the boys joyfully open their gifts.

I love watching them on Christmas morning.

Breakfast has become the same each year. When you find a good thing, why change?

We enjoyed cinnamon buns from the store, citrus salad, bacon and sausages, french toast with maple syrup and our favourite, eggs Benedict.

After gathering the piles of paper, and relaxing for a while, we headed to Ryan's parents for our traditional Christmas turkey dinner - and it was amazing, as always.


And now the boys are fast asleep, and presents have all been opened. The house is quiet and peaceful and it's hard to believe that another Christmas has come and gone.

But really, that's the best part about Christmas - it's never really over. The greatest gift is always patiently waiting to be received. Our Saviour is always waiting, longing for us to come and sit and rest and be loved and welcomed as we are. The lights come down, but His light is always shining brightest, even in the darkest of times. And the gifts are opened and the tree is bare once more, but the greatest gift, the gift of life eternal is always found at the foot of the cross - the tree on which the perfect baby we celebrate at Christmas time hung for our sins. So that we, we who are broken and lost and hopeless, can be made perfect, and welcomed in and given the only sure hope - eternal life.

It's the most perfectly beautiful gift. And it's ours if we want it. And who doesn't want to be loved unconditional and welcomed as we are, and given life and joy and purpose and washed beautifully clean and made holy by his perfect blood, shed for us?

He gives us the gift of Himself, and the gift of finding Him in everything we do each day. We simply have to choose to open it or not.

Wishing you the most wonderful of Christmases today.

With love, 
the Heikoops

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Fireside Gathering

We've had quite a full weekend of gatherings - it's that time of the year. Christmas parties from work, a dessert open house with friends, and family dinners...

But one that was a little different the year was a simple get together in the afternoon with some friends.

We made a little fire pit in the back yard, set up a table with lots of festive drinks like hot cocoa for the kids (with all the fun toppings), eggnog, and warm apple cider, and had a tray of things for smores by the fire.

When it got too cold outside, we came in for big pot of soup, with bread and meat and cheese.

The night ended inside by the fire, with a glass of Port and a record playing in the background.

What kid doesn't want to make their own cup of cocoa with piles of marshmallows, peppermint sticks, and chocolate shavings? 

It's funny because most of us are in that young family stage. But usually, Christmas parties don't include the kids, or they have to go to bed when all the fun seems to be going on downstairs. But I've really tried to include them this year, and this party was actually fun for them. They loved it.

And for the adult party? We moved the TV to their bedroom, and they got to have a pajama party in their beds with Christmas popcorn. They didn't mind staying upstairs one bit! 

Today, as it's raining outside, and all hope for a White Christmas has been lost, I've been unpacking the last of my Christmas parcels that have arrived in the mail and am double checking my Christmas list before I finish up the last of my shopping.

Ps. That beautiful green table above? That is going to be my coffee table. It's a beautiful antique farm table that will be cut down and hopefully stripped, or, if I decide I prefer it, painted.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas in the Living and Dining Rooms

Only four more days until Christmas.

There isn't much I've added to the living room for Christmas, just some greens tucked here and there.

I did have a large garland draped over the mantel, but it was real, and it dried out so quickly. I couldn't deal with the mess. So I just removed it and replaced with my my larger glass cloches with nests under them, and some simple greens tucked around them.

You can also see the backs of the wreaths from the outside windows, and even though they are the backs, they are still pretty.

I used an old salvaged window and ceiling tile to hang some boughs from on the old pine cabinet. It adds some height and character.

I love the beautiful patina.

The simple decorating continued into the dining room - it just has so much character itself, I don't feel the need to add much to it.

I hung a garland over the doorway in the kitchen. It just looks gorgeous draped against the stone work. It's also not near the fireplace, so it's stayed fresh enough.

Just a simple painting on the mantel. We've had a few gatherings and people are always congregating around the dining room table, so it just doesn't work having much on here. It just gets in the way.

I did put a potted tree on the buffet in this gorgeous basket I recently purchased. I used an old linen towel to hide the pail and then tucked a few gifts and pine cones around it.

 I'm looking forward to setting the table for brunch on Christmas morning.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Our Christmas Tree

I can hardly believe that Christmas morning is less than 10 days away.

I'm ready, and yet it's still coming much too quickly.

I've so enjoyed having the house decorated again.

I love how, during the Christmas season, each room becomes more inviting and cozy with fresh boughs tucked on the shelves, and potted trees adding the fresh scent of pine and soft glow of their lights.

Everything just swells with comfort and invites one to slow and linger.

I've even managed to start wrapping my Christmas gifts. I still need to add some finishing touches and tag them, but they add some charm underneath the tree.

I don't have a fancy tree skirt, just some old linen tucked around the tree stand.

Most of the gifts are tucked in an antique basket.

I love curling up bedside it on the couch, in front of the fire.

And actually, this is just one of our trees. 
We have a few...

I will share those soon.

Ps. Notice the bare spot in the middle left of the tree? My simple solution was to just tuck a bird's nest on those boughs. I forgot to take a photo of it, but it worked perfectly.