Christmas at the Vidal's

So while this is going on, let me back track to the beginning of our first Vidal Christmas...

It all started with the Christmas tree. We had to scratch cutting down a fresh one because the idea was actually a lot better sounding than the available trees themselves. We even tried Craigslist. At one point Jose believed a 9 ft could fit into our place. Then we tried Home Depot.

Jose was losing his Christmas spirit because he had spent at least 2 weeks looking online for tree options. Just the right size and just the right price. Fortunately, a mix up at Home Depot left us with a beautiful tree for HALF the price -- new!

We actually got this V (a freaking HARD letter to find at stores!!) for my brother Vladimir who flew to Phoenix with me to celebrate the holidays with us :)

After all of the decorations... our tree!!!

YEAH -- did you see that star?! We call it the Macy's Christmas Star. When we were looking for one, we thought they were really overpriced until we found this one at Pier 1 imports. It's actually a lantern but hey... a star is a star to me.

That is hanging from the ceiling if you're wondering. I love it!!

There's gifts!

Then I made our Christmas wreath from Christmas balls I collected from thrift stores. First I cut out a wreath cardboard.

Prepped my Christmas balls and hot glue....

TONS of hot gluing later..



While collecting Christmas balls at thrift stores, I also collected some items to decorate the table with as a centerpiece....

I had the teal containers from my wedding, got the vases and candle holders from Goodwill, and the gift box at Michael's for a dollar.

We found this beautiful tablecloth on clearance at World Market...

Finally painted the little red table from the thrift store!

More Goodwill goodies...

Including this frame! Can't believe it was just $2!

Our IKEA entertainment center... (you can see the tree's reflection!)

Is that The Price is Right? Why yes it is.

I also found this creepy toy at Goodwill. Creepy to Jose, pretty cool to me. Ya know, difference of opinions...

Ok. It is creepy. But still cool because it's made out of scrap tin!

More fireplace photos...

And a pretty awesome candelabra I found at my favorite thrift store -- Zinnia's.

Is is bad that our nativity scene consists of 3 penguins as our wise men?

They didn't make the 10 Smartest Animals list... but in the Vidal home, they are wise!

Then we moved on to another ambitious project... Christmas stockings.

So, behind closed doors, you guys don't know how crafty Jose is. This boy used graph paper to create templates for his stocking! I just don't plan it out that much -- but he made me. And I have to admit, somehow the template (as annoying as it was to make at first) made everything else so much easier.

Jose stitched all of his pieces on to his stockings. Y'all thought I was the creative one in the relationship. I stuck to my good ole' handy glue gun...

Mine, my brother's, and Jose's...

Beginning to look a lot like Christmas :)

Finally, our last, and most recent project that incorporated my brother: making gingerbread houses. From a kit. No shame in that!

We had 4 penguins. It made sense one re-located to the gingerbread village while the others made their guest-roles as wise men.

And that's it! I have to admit... it's been pretty amazing. This will be the first year I don't celebrate Christmas with my entire family, but I was really blessed with the chance to fly home the beginning of this month. My brother is also here and though I absolutely miss my mom, it's been a lot of fun acting like big kids eating dessert (almost) every night and staying up late watching movies or playing video games.

Jose asked me if we could keep some traditions from my family since he knows how "big" we celebrate Christmas at home (his family doesn't really make a big fuss of Christmas). Luckily my Aunt doesn't read my blog, but I told him I had no food traditions because I'm not a fan of the Honduran tamales we make every Christmas. BUT, my only request was to keep a very cultural tradition -- and that is to open gifts at midnight on Christmas eve.

I know a lot of American families open them Christmas morning, but what would remind me most of my family's Christmas is staying up late, having coffee, watching movies, and counting down to midnight. A tradition I'd like to pass down to our kiddos one day :) I mean, just imagine a house full of kids counting down to midnight -- the one time they can stay up this late and open gifts on top of that! A mad house!!

So what will our Christmas feast look like? Mmmmm. Let's see!:

Layered Black Bean Dip

Spicy Mac & Cheese (minus chorizo)
Crash Hot Potatoes
Roasted Ricotta Roma Tomatoes

Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins

Chili Rubbed Pork Tenderloin w/Apricot Ginger Glaze

Icebox Key Lime Pie (with chocolate crust :)
Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding (using Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies instead of vanilla wafers!!!) by Paula Deen

We'll see which of these will be keepers for next year!

I don't know what food or activity we'll repeat next year or even consider a tradition -- but this is definitely a Christmas I'll always remember. Do you have any traditions with your family? Are you a Christmas morning or Eve gift opener? :P Merry Christmas everyone! Thanks for being a part of mine :)