It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... and not just because the final Haynes Christmas cards with all three Haynes girls' signatures/photo have been sent out, although they have.

Boom, done.
I will now officially be in charge of my own little family's Christmas cards.
I've already started planning. Bring it, Christmas 2013 ;)

But actually, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas because I've done a little apartment decorating. And by "decorating," I mean "hanging white twinkly lights and lighting every frosted peppermint snow candle in the whole town."

Once upon a time, that window was framed with an elaborate paper chain that resembled curtains, also known as the "wedding countdown chain." Do you see what is left of that chain? Is this real life?

Little knickknacks have found their way onto my shelves:

Even the thermostat is celebrating the season... a comfortable 75 degrees, nonetheless ;)

Old dorm room Christmas decor has made a reappearance:

And new pieces have been added to the collection as well:

A man at my church made this (incredible, right??) and gave it to me and Zach while we were in town for our wedding shower. Zach hasn't stopped talking about it - I'm pretty sure he likes it more than every kitchen appliance we now own.

Speaking of new Christmas decor pieces, my parents and grandparents got me the Willow Tree Nativity & Shepherd/Stable Animals set for my birthday, and I'm loving its place on the half wall in my entryway:

And then, there's the Christmas tree.

The Two Golden Rules of Christmas Trees According To My Mother are:
1) Thou shall not have a fake tree.
2) Thou shall not have the tree up when the ball drops on New Year's Eve.

End of story. Personally, I am a huge supporter of these two Christmas rules. However, my last day of work before heading out for Christmas/the wedding/our honeymoon is December 21st... meaning I would have to take the tree down on the 20th. I wasn't about to haul a live Christmas tree up to the third floor and get him decked out, only to have to clean the whole thing up a couple of weeks later.

So I compromised:

And I'm loving it :) Perfect for my first (and only) year all by myself in my apartment.

Plus, it's not like I had an abundance of ornaments when I moved in (although that has rapidly changed):

My sister called me from the beach back in September & told me she had stumbled across an oboe ornament (I played the instrument for 7 years). She then told me that she would buy it if I blogged about it. I don't think my sister reads my blog (actually, I don't think anyone in my immediate family reads my blog), but let it be known that Katherine gave me the oboe... and even got a Starbucks ornament to go with it :)

A lady in my church gave me 20 different ornament that she made herself. My crafting inspiration has reached a new level.

• • • • •

This is my third Christmas season with a blog, and it's crazy to see how much has changed (and how much hasn't)! December 2010 was defined by art projects and my grandfather's extended stay in the hospital. December 2011 was defined by term papers, my parent's 25th anniversary, & Zach's return from Afghanistan.

And now?

I think it's safe to say that December 2012 is pretty well-defined by wedding planning.

Wedding planning and a Charlie Brown Christmas tree ;)