It’s A Wonderful Life!

Christmastime is upon us!!

Normally we buy a tree and kick of the Christmas season one or two days after Thanksgiving, but this year we had to delay a week and it was hard! But finally we have Christmas-fied our house!

On Thursday night we went and bought a tree, but we couldn’t decorate it until Friday night.

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree Decorated Tree

Isn’t it pretty?!?! I’ve always loved “traditional” Christmas trees, as I call them, with the multicolored lights and various types of classic and homemade ornaments. Last year in France we  had more of a red, white, & wood mountain-themed Christmas, which was lovely and totally fit the region we lived in. But this year I’m super excited to have a Christmas tree like we always had growing up. The last time we spent Christmas at my parents’ house was before we moved to France!

Per tradition, I also made Christmas cookies and then last night we watched one of my all time favorite Christmas movies, It’s A Wonderful Life. I laughed, I cried, and I felt all warm and fuzzy when it was over :) Such a classic!

The Christmas cookies I made were de-lish-ious. I did not make the recipe, but I’ll share it with you since I’ve had several requests :)

Hidden Candy Cane Kiss Cookies by Once Upon A Cutting Board

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They look amazing, right?!

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The recipe itself is actually super easy.

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My cookies came out a little different from the picture, but when you eat them straight out of the oven, the peppermint kiss just melts in your mouth and it is DELICIOUS.

The one problem I had with these cookies is that when I ate them the next day, they were too hard for my taste (but still yummy). I just heated them up in the microwave for 10 seconds and they were once again perfect.

I definitely plan on making these cookies again before Christmas, but I want to try adding some cocoa powder! Chocolate + peppermint = <333

Click here for the recipe!

What are some of your Christmas traditions? Do you have a favorite Christmas cookie recipe? I’d love to try it!

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Favorite Christmas Flicks

We made it safe and soundly to the States this week! It was a hectic last 48 hours in France, but everything managed to work itself out and here I am, sitting at my parents’ house getting ready to publish this post about my favorite Christmas movies!! I don’t know about you, but I need to get myself back into the Christmas spirit–before we left Tuesday morning, we had to take down our Christmas tree and pack up the ornaments. It’s a real tree, so fire hazard and all…but it really messed with me psychologically; I left France feeling like Christmas had already passed! Fortunately we were bombarded with Christmas decorations, lights, and music when we arrived in the airport here, but I wouldn’t mind watching a few of my favorite holiday films before the actual big day ;)

Rudolph

Looks like childhood :)

The Original Television Christmas Classics

Who doesn’t love these movies?? I loved watching them every year growing up. My two favorites were the stop-motion Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (I just wanna cuddle with Rudolph–he’s so adorable!) and Frosty the Snowman. Just hearing Jimmy Durante singing the theme song makes me happy. Sadly, for years I was haunted by the villain who locked Frosty up in that greenhouse. He was so mean! But I still love it :)

How The Grinch Stole ChristmasHow The Grinch Stole Christmas

I love Dr. Seuss, and The Grinch is such a classic story, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like to watch or read it. The old cartoon version is my favorite, but I also like the Jim Carrey version every now and again. And the Grinch song! So funny: “Mr. Gri-inch! You’re a three-decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich with arsenic sauce!” Yum…? ;)

Home Alone

“Keep the change, ya filthy animal!”

Home Alone

This will always be a Christmas classic :) Although the premise isn’t exactly realistic, does that really make it any less enjoyable?? My favorite part is definitely the “Rockin’ Around the Christmas” tree scene. I can’t explain why exactly, but I was always fascinated by the mechanics of it all. Wish I could have been that inventive as a kid, but then again…if my parents forgot me at home, I probably would have had a breakdown!

Jingle All the Way

“This is a sick world we live in! Sick people!”

Jingle All the Way

I think you had to watch this as a kid to be able to enjoy it as an adult, because if you decide to give it a chance now you’ll probably think it’s rather stupid. BUT, if you were like me and watched it repeatedly on VHS each December, you’d love to quote the lines every so often :) Plus, it’s bittersweet seeing Phil Hartman in his ridiculous character on-screen…

Elf

Elf

I loved watching Will Ferrel on SNL “back in the day”, but unfortunately I have never been a big fan of his films. Elf is the exception :) Besides all of the hilarious lines, there’s also Zooey Deschanel and Peter Dinklage (yes, I love him!) to enjoy. Plus, it has a wonderful soundtrack!

 

While You Were SleepingWhile You Were Sleeping

Forget Christmastime…I can watch this movie any time of year. I love these types of 90s chick flicks: the simple yet entertaining plot lines, the lovable and relatable actresses, the ever-so-stylish high-waisted jeans (as seen on Bill Pullman here). But seriously, I love this movie :)

You've Got MailYou’ve Got Mail

Another 90s chick flick I absolutely adore. What’s not to like about Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks? I also love Sleepless in Seattle as well, but I think between the two, You’ve Got Mail is my fav, despite the fact that it is incredibly dated (I mean, I don’t even know anyone who uses AOL nowadays). And technically this movie isn’t limited to the holiday season, but it’s still one of those feel-good comedies I like to watch while I’m curled up with a blanket and a cup of hot chocolate :)

The Shop Around the CornerThe Shop Around the Corner

This is actually the movie that You’ve Got Mail is a remake of (and they’re both based on a Hungarian play). Classic black-and-white film, Jimmy Stewart, Pride and Prejudice type love story: if you enjoy any of those three things, you’ll love this movie. Personally, I have a huge crush on Jimmy Stewart, and when my friend told me about this film I went home and watched it that very night. If you’ve seen either this film or You’ve Got Mail, it’s fun to compare the similar scenes that are in both of them. My favorite is the restaurant scene :)

It's A Wonderful Life

“Buffalo gals won’t you come out tonight and dance by the light of the moon…”

It’s A Wonderful Life

While we’re on the subject of Jimmy Stewart, I might as well talk about my absolute favorite Christmastime movie: It’s a Wonderful Life. There are so many things I adore about this film. Our new tradition is, right after Thanksgiving, to set up our Christmas tree and all of our decorations, and then eat Christmas cookies as we watch this movie. It’s a bit of a tear-jerker, but I always feel so incredibly happy after watching it!

Love Actually

We’re here!” “Wow, that really was just around the corner…” LOVE THIS SCENE

Love Actually

One of the best Christmas movies ever made (and another one that I watch all year round) is Love Actually. I love so many things about this film (with a couple of exceptions, like Billy Bob Thorton…gross): I love the way Hugh Grant says “Natalie”, I love Colin Firth’s story line, I love Emma Thompson!, and I especially love singing Bill Nighy’s character’s ridiculous Christmas song (and I do sing it, every time someone says, “I feel it in my fingers/toes/etc.). My best friends and I love watching this movie late at night as we squeal over the cheesy romance and laugh at the ridiculous British humor. If It’s a Wonderful Life is my all-time favorite Christmas film, Love Actually comes in at number 2!

What are your favorite holiday films? Did any of yours make my list?

‘Tis the Season to Be Jolly!

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Last Monday (November 25th) we turned our apartment into our own personal winter wonderland! I know it was technically before Thanksgiving, and usually I always wait until after my favorite Thursday of the year before even listening to Christmas music, but this year I was aching to get into the holiday spirit! And besides, we had our Thanksgiving the Sunday before the actual day, so I wasn’t really breaking my own rules ;) Plus, we’re leaving for the States on December 17th, so we wanted at least 3 weeks to enjoy our Christmas decorations.

I am so happy we decided to decorate our living room with reds, whites, blacks, and dark browns, because it totally made it possible for us to put up a red-white-and-silver woodsy theme for our tree! The color red never used to be pleasing to me, but when I was a Junior in college, our apartment was furnished with this amazing red corduroy couch that I fell absolutely in love with. Ever since then, it was my dream to have one of my own, and when we moved to our new apartment, Matt found me one that even came with a matching ottoman! Major husband points :)

So last Monday evening, we went out and bought our first real tree together (last year we only had room for small, fake ones), and it’s so cute and adorable! French Christmas trees are pretty different from the giant and full ones I’m used to back in the States, but the one we found is perfect!

Tree

It’s always so hard to make a Christmas tree look as beautiful on camera as it looks in real life, but at least you can see most of our Disney ornaments from this picture ;)

Ornament

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After setting up our tree, nativity scene (‘crèche’ en français), and various Christmas decorations, we ate our Thanksgiving leftovers (which is half the fun of Thanksgiving!), and then curled up to watch It’s a Wonderful Life (my favorite Christmas movie of all time!) and munch on some tasty Chocolate Peppermint Cookies I whipped up. These cookies were so delicious I’m sharing the recipe I found with you (including my alterations):

Cookies

Mmm :)

I found the recipe here, but I made the following alterations:
• I did not use chocolate chips; instead I used 1 cup of Andes Peppermint Crunch baking chips (the peppermint taste was strong)
• Judging from the picture, you can also see that I did not make the glaze the recipe calls for.

The cookies were a blend of crunchy and chewy, and with the Andes chips I used, the peppermint flavor was strong, so if you make this recipe yourself be careful not to add too much unless you want your cookies tasting like toothpaste ;)

Hope you all are having a wonderful December so far :) Since we’ve put up our Christmas decorations, we have only had one calamity happen–Solo got so excited when we came home Tuesday night that he ran into our tree and knocked it completely over, which caused several ornaments to break :( But don’t worry, after a bit of a time-out, he was forgiven…

Tree

Our tree has since been restored to its jolly Christmasey self :)