December 19

Holidays Together: A Q&A About How We Spend Christmases Together

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With Christmas right around the corner, we thought it would be fun to go down memory lane and reminisce about our past Christmases together. You might remember when we did this Q&A for our 5 year wedding anniversary earlier this year and we wanted to do it again, but focused around the holidays this time. In this Q&A we touch on who is the better gift giver and receiver, our all-time favorite gifts from each other and our favorite thing to eat on Christmas, spoiler alert, we both love cinnamon rolls. I hope you enjoy today’s post, if you have any Christmas related questions you’re curious to know about, leave us a comment!


For your first Christmas together, where did you spend it? Was there any one detail or moment from that day that you’ll continue to remember for all Christmases together?


Julia: Our first Christmas was spent together when we were dating in college. Thomas asked me to join him and his family in their Christmas tradition of spending it on Little St. Simons Island. I remember being so nervous and excited to be with him for the holidays. Luckily I knew most of his family, so that was comforting going into it. We spent most of the days doing outdoor activities and I remember just loving seeing Thomas in his element- from helping me perfect my fishing skills (and teaching me how to flyfish) to going on long hikes and identifying/informing me of all the different species of birds on the island.


Thomas: We spent our first Christmas together with my family in coastal Georgia. On that particular day I just remember Julia’s amazement when she saw her stocking overflowing with gifts. The santas that year, me, my mom and my grandma were so excited to have Julia be part of the family that we all overcompensated with extra presents. When we were children both of our grandmother’s made us custom stockings, I remember our first Christmas together of having our stockings sitting side by side on Christmas morning.


Do you remember what you gifted each other?


Julia: I usually remember every gift I give someone, but for some reason I cannot! It must have been small, as we were both in college and didn’t have a lot of money. I’m sure I got him something around home brewing, which he was passionate about at the time.


Thomas: One year, I remember getting her a J.Crew sweater, I think it was gray, that had a skier, skiing downhill on it. I’m almost certain that was our first Christmas together.


Who is the better gift giver?


Julia: I am! I love gifting and I’m always thinking of something unique and special for the ones I love. There is honestly no better feeling than giving and I love the look on my family & friends faces when I know I got them something they are excited about. When I was little, I used to spend all my birthday money (which would be like, $50) to get everyone that would be attending my birthday party a gift as a thank you. I would spend hours in Target selecting a unique gift for each guest. I genuinely loved being able to give them something in return. My mom has always said that gifting is one of my love languages.


Thomas: Julia for sure. She loves giving gifts, she says it’s her love language and how she shows people how much they mean to her. She either doesn’t stop until she finds the perfect gift or all throughout the year, if something catches her eye, she’ll buy it. Come Christmas time, she’ll then gift it to the person it made her think of. Lately, she’s been spoiling our niece with presents every time we see her.


Who is the better gift receiver?


Julia: I would have to go with me, again. To me, any gift is precious. The fact that someone, or anyone, thought of me and went out of their way to get me something is always touching. My favorite things I own are the ones I have a personal connection with, and most of those are gifts. Whenever I use them, I’m reminded of the person that gave it to me, along with the thoughts and feelings from that moment of time. Thomas thinks gifts are rather frivolous and should always be practical, so if I get him something he doesn’t need, he will return it!


Thomas: Definitely, Julia. It’s sad to say and it completely ruins the gifting spirit but compared to cash, I think most gifts are frivolous and pointless. I appreciate the thought of a gift but I would hate for people to waste their money getting me something I don’t like, when I could have bought something I like more with the same amount they spent. 


For Thomas- What categories of gifting do you usually stick to when shopping for Julia?
For Julia- What types of presents do you usually stick to when shopping for Thomas?


Julia: Something tech-related, kitchen-related, camera-related or very practical is usually a win. It can be hard because most of those topics (like tech and camera) Thomas is the expert in. I’ve had to reach out to friends or online resources in the past to make sure I’m getting the right product or item, since typically I would just ask Thomas (but that would spoil the surprise!).


Thomas: I typically stick to bags, shoes or jewelry in her favorite colors. If I get her clothing it will either be a dress I know she will wear all the time or a fun winter sweater.


What is, hands down, the best present you’ve ever received from each other?


Julia: Oh, that is hard because I love everything Thomas has gifted me! I love seeing what he thinks I like, through his eyes. He’s always so proud to have found something, which I think is my favorite part of the whole thing. One year he got me a pink piggy bank. I broke my favorite one when I was little because I thought it would “bounce” on the floor, but instead it shattered. He remembered, found one and said that it was going to be the start of saving for our first home.


Thomas: A couple years ago for Christmas, Julia got me my watch. I had been talking about how I had been wanting to wear a watch but only wanted a digital one. Somehow she found one that both looked great and was digital. I wear it everyday so it always reminds me of her being so thoughtful in finding it for me.


What’s your favorite family activity or game to play during the holidays? Is anyone an undefeated champion?


Julia: We love playing Left Right Center- a game that’s simple enough for the whole family to enjoy together. One year, Thomas won three times in a row. All the kids under the age of 15 were up in arms and demanded that he couldn’t play anymore. We also love dominos, a game I picked up after meeting Thomas (his grandpa’s favorite game).


Thomas: The holidays are maybe the only time of the year where we can fit in a whole game of Monopoly. It wasn’t until Julia and I started dating, that I found my match as far as Monopoly competition. While I’m more strategic (using dice probabilities to factor into my decisions), she’s a vicious negotiator that preys on the weaker family members and she may or may not follow every rule. Anyways, I need to reclaim my title this year as she’s beat me the last few times we’ve played.


Do you have any Christmas morning traditions?


Julia: The first thing we do in the morning is heat up hot chocolate and cider on the stove and make cinnamon rolls. We then all head to the family room in our pjs and open up our stockings, going one by one so we can all see what each other got. Lots of candy and chocolate is usually devoured around this time, too.


Thomas: Normally we will wake up at a normal time, start some coffee, light a fire and put out baked goods like coffee cake or cinnamon rolls. Then once everyone is awake and ready, we will start opening stockings. Afterwards I’ll start on making a larger brunch for the family. To complete the morning after we are all nice and full, we will do something active like go for a walk or bike ride. Returning back home a little later to open gifts.


Do you have a favorite food dish to cook and eat at Christmas? One that can never be missing from the table.


Julia: The one item we never go without on Christmas are cinnamon rolls. Growing up, my parents made them every Christmas morning. I know Thomas’s family is the same, too, except they have “deadly buns”, which tastes just as amazing as it sounds. Basically sugar is our favorite dish on Christmas.


Thomas: I would say that cinnamon rolls or sticky buns are a staple for Christmas morning. Last year, we baked the biggest cinnamon rolls in my Big Green Egg along with a frittata. As far as the rest of the day, there’s nothing that I have to have. Last year I made pizzas. I wouldn’t argue against solidifying that tradition again this year.

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