Hi friends and greetings from Pennsylvania! I hope you all had a Merry Christmas. I can’t believe the holiday is over already, it always goes so fast! I still have a Christmas movie or two to watch and AJ and I will exchange our gifts tonight once we’re back in NYC under our Christmas tree. Thankfully there is still a little bit of a holiday vibe in the air with New Year’s coming up this week, it should help getting back to work tomorrow a little easier.
I was hoping to blog more over break, but of course that just didn’t happen! Here’s a little look at what I’ve been up to these past few days.
As I mentioned, I was pretty excited about our Christmas Eve meal and we spent the night feasting on clams, scallops, calamari, crab cakes, salmon, oysters, shrimp, Greek salad, cream cheese dip, punch, wine, and I know even more sides and snacks that I’m forgetting to mention!
It was a night full of visiting with family, eating, and gifts. One favorite gift we received that night was a Trader Joe’s gift card, which is basically gold.
When we all woke up on Friday morning we immediately headed down to the tree to start opening gifts! We got so many great goodies, and one of my favorites was an Elf inspired sweatshirt from my sister-in-law!
After breakfast, AJ and I set out on our drive to PA. I never seem to mind this drive all that much because the roads are pretty empty. We arrived at my aunt’s house around 1pm, just in time for our traditional Christmas lunch of ham, roasted potatoes, green bean casserole, vidalia onion casserole and applesauce. Afterwards, we exchanged gifts where I got a Trader Joe’s cookbook (!!) and a beautiful Kate Spade necklace and scarf.
Of course we got in our annual Daron family Christmas photo first.
After we finished gifts and enjoyed a few more Christmas cookies, we set out for my other aunt’s house. She always has a delicious meal of roast beef, mashed potatoes, pasta, salad, and more set out and even though I’m full every year I manage to eat a small plate. However, this year, I couldn’t even think about this next round of food! I stuck to this delicious salted caramel and chocolate martini my cousin made and called it a day.
My family has this tradition of doing a “Special Dinner” every year around Christmas. My mom makes her delicious shrimp scampi and we have twice baked potatoes, salad, some sort of veggie (this year roasted brussels sprouts!), and topped off with a delicious dessert.
My Dad always makes a fire in the living room and we set up our dinner table in front of the fireplace and tree. This has been a tradition pretty much my whole life and something we all look forward to every year!
As we’ve gotten older, we’ve added a White Elephant Gift Exchange to the night. We all buy a $10 (ish) gift and draw numbers to choose our gift or steal someone else’s. When AJ started coming to the dinner, he added a little dress up scavenger hunt to the mix. His gift always starts out with a hunt that requires the recipient to dress up as they find clues throughout the house that lead them to their final gift. This year my sister was the “winner” and dressed up as AJ’s favorite, Captain America before finding her gift!
She might kill me for this photo, oops!
We also did our family gift exchange where we got even more goodies (seriously, we can’t even transport everything back to NY!). We also decided to wear Christmas shirts to dinner every year, and here’s my new favorite sweater from my sis-in-law! Do you think I can wear it outside of the Christmas season? Because I will.
Sunday started off with church with the family before AJ and I headed to brunch to meet my best friend Amanda and her husband Jeff at the River Grille. Once again I was a bad blogger and completely forgot to get a photo with Amanda before we left, even though I kept my phone out the entire time so I would remember. Womp womp.
Amanda and I did get in a rousing game of Jenga while sipping on mimosas and chatting while the guys watched football. We always enjoy hanging out with these two, I just wished we all lived closer so we can see each other more. Amanda and I always say we’ve been besties since before we were born! Our moms were friends and were pregnant with us at the same time. Some of my earliest pictures are with this girl 🙂
After brunch my mom, sister, and I headed off to Art ‘n Vino with some of my aunts and cousins!
This was such a fun night, although it was definitely a bit harder than any of us anticipated. We all started off the night snacking, drinking wine, and joking around, but as soon as we had to get into painting the details the entire room got super quiet until someone would laugh or comment about how bad their painting was turning out. I think we all did a good job, though. Too bad I’ll have to leave mine in PA as there’s no room for a snowman painting in our NYC apartment.
AJ and I are now getting packed up and getting ready to head back to NYC this afternoon. We’ve had a great time visiting both of our families this past week but are excited to get back home and have our own little Christmas celebration tonight.
I hope you all had a great holiday!