On today’s episode, The Loverly Grey team is chatting all things Christmas. From favorite gifts, traditions and memories all the way to rapid fire of Christmas this or that!
HOLIDAY COFFEE FAVORITES
Grande vanilla oat milk latte with 1 pump of peppermint
Grande 1/2 Cafe Americano with steamed heavy whipping cream and 2 pumps of chai
Grande iced sugar cookie almond milk latte with 2 pumps of the sugar cookie syrup
Grande chestnut praline latte with 2 pumps of chestnut praline syrup
This podcast was transcribed using Descript. Please forgive any typos or errors.
Brittany: Hi friends. Welcome to life with lovely. I'm your host, Brittany Sjogren. I'm excited to share my heart with you beyond the 15 seconds we get on Instagram. Grab an iced coffee and let's do life together.
Hello. Hello, happy December, our first podcast in the month of December. So exciting. I feel like we came off of Thanksgiving and we were out of town. Now feel like truly in the Christmas spirit, I had a Target Christmas run to get a new wreath, Christmas trees for the girls and last minute things this week. I just felt so jolly. We've been having at the office so many conversations about holidays and what each person does.
Just in chatting in comments or messages on Instagram with you guys and hearing y'all's traditions, it sparked even more conversation in the office. So I thought it would be a really fun thing to bring the team on the podcast today and chat through some fun holiday things that we've done in the past.
So today we have Nichelle like normal, but also Lain and Maddy. Hello friends.
Maddy: Good morning.
Brittany: So excited to have some more voices on here today. I think it'll be really fun.
Nichelle: This is gonna be fun.
Brittany: We are all juiced up with our coffees. Maddy texted our group text this morning and was like, Hey I'm bringing coffee. What do you guys want? And so we all texted our orders.
Nichelle: Praise you, sweet child.
Brittany: Nichelle, tell us about your order because it was unique, and I think we all wanted to order it.
Nichelle: Okay. So we've been on the vanilla latte train with oat milk, cuz oat milk is the only way, and thought I'd jazz it up this morning, to get us in the Christmas spirit for the podcast. I added a pump of peppermint to the vanilla latte and it's hot, cuz I don't know that I'd do it cold necessarily. Peppermint needs to be warm.
Brittany: Yeah. I do love peppermint. My mom used to drink peppermint lattes and so for a long time, like when I first started drinking like Starbucks, that's all I knew. The only option is a peppermint cafe au lait, that's what she drank.
Nichelle: Oh, that sounds good.
Brittany: So then I started doing peppermint. I don't really like the mocha, but Lain over here is giving us the evil eyes.
Lain: I cannot get behind the peppermint mocha or just peppermint in general, like with chocolate or in my drinks. It's just not for me.
Nichelle: So is it peppermint in general? Can you do peppermint alone? Do you enjoy peppermint?
Lain: I do. I like peppermint. Okay. I like minty candy canes.
Nichelle: Got it.
Lain: Which I'm the same way with bacon, I don't like bacon on things or in things, but I like it by itself.
Nichelle: Bacon goes with everything does interesting.
Lain: That's what people say. But if it comes on a sandwich, I'm taking it off and giving it to a friend.
Nichelle: You're like, I need that a la carte. All buy itself on the side.
Lain: Yes. Exactly.
Brittany: That's funny, Maddie, what did you get to drink?
Maddy: So I am still hooked on the drink that you shared of your moms.
Brittany: The Chai.
Maddy: Yes. The Americano with the pumps of chai. I cannot. And I love love love peppermint, but I am so hooked on that right now.
Brittany: Yeah. So I had a sip of hers when we were in the car and I was like, this tastes like a Christmas cookie. I don't know if it was like because of the heavy whipping cream that's in there plus the chai wasn't overwhelming, and I think you like that too, because obviously you can get whatever caffeine you want, but you usually do half or decaf.
Maddy: That's right. Exactly.
Brittany: And that's how she is for her. She drinks her caffeine, first thing in the morning, and then anything after that is half caf.
Maddy: Yes. Decaf.
Brittany: Yeah. When I was talking about that on stories, I was like I think Maddy's gonna get behind this.
Maddy: Literally when you shared it, I immediately took a screenshot and then sent it to my mom and my sister who drink the same and I have ordered nothing else. I truly am like a chocolate peppermint. Love all those drinks from Starbucks, but I'm hooked on and it's not too sweet. Yeah. Which is good. It's like the perfect amount of sweet.
Brittany: That it making me wanna get that one again.
Maddy: I'm telling you. We'll share it again because I am hooked on this order.
Maddy: For sure. It's funny because Brittany shared it and then I think over the Thanksgiving break, I probably ordered about five of them. I was like, oh, a Starbucks. I should probably get another one.
Brittany: It's so funny, whenever we're driving around Collins now will be like, Ooh, coffee. Mommy, do you need a coffee? I'm like, no. Yes. I do we're not stopping on principle that you now know this.
Maddy: Yes, literally. They can't blow our cover.
Brittany: Exactly. What are you drinking over there, lain in your trenta cup?
Lain: That's right. It's Friday getting crazy. Mine is just an iced coffee with three pumps of classic and regular cream. So really got crazy today. Speaking of you saying that your mom's drink tasted like a cookie. Have you guys tried the sugar cookie almond milk?
Maddy: Mixed reviews.
Maddy: I don't know.
Brittany: Loves it
Maddy: Really? I hear people either love it or they're like, absolutely not. So I don't know.
Nichelle: It must not be too sweet if he loves it, right?
Brittany: Yeah. He also really likes almond milk.
Brittany: Which is, I feel like a thinner milk that's not gonna change the consistency as much as like an oat milk does maybe that's why, but I don't know you do you like it?
Lain: Okay. So Erin actually got it the other day, but she always gets her drinks, like that drink normally comes with five pumps in a grande of the syrup. So I got it for her with two and tried it. It literally tastes like a sugar cookie. It's crazy. They to put red and green little sprinkles on top. Doesn't come with whipped cream, but the little sprinkles. It just felt so festive. So yes. Get it, but try it with less pumps. Then it might not be as overpowering. Those people that say they don't like it. Maybe they just haven't done it this way.
Maddy: Too many pumps. Could be.
Brittany: Yeah. One thing I've also noticed is if a drink is typically too sweet, we'll add an extra shot to get a little bit more coffee in there which I know doesn't necessarily work for everybody and if you're not trying to get jacked up on caffeine.
Nichelle: For those of you that don't live on caffeine, you have the natural caffeine, probably won't work,
Maddy: It is I over here.
Brittany: But that's always something I usually will do if I'm like, this is too sweet, but I actually want more caffeine. So I'll just cut it with a shot.
Lain: That's a good idea.
Nichelle: Even with the pumpkin cream cold brew, sometimes they could be too sweet. So I would ask for half the pumps on all of that.
Nichelle: I didn't this year, cuz it was just delicious.
Brittany: They re made it this year. That's why.
Nichelle: It was very different.
Nichelle: But last year it was lots of sugar.
Lain: That drink is so good though.
Nichelle: It is.
Lain: When it comes back, it's oh, it is here. It's almost as hype as the red cup, when the holiday cups and drinks are back.
Nichelle: This is why I was excited about this episode, because we get pumped about the little thing.
Brittany: Yes. You can imagine being in the office with us when we're like, oh my gosh, guess what? And then we're all like, chit chatting about it. It's great. It's so fun.
Maddy: It is.
Lain: Or who's going to get us to red cups, which location has the red cups.
Lain: The amount of trying that we had to do to get those red cups, so we all walked away with one.
Lain: Thank goodness for Sydney.
All right. So are you guys ready for some questions? Okay. So Rudolph says a toy is never truly happy until it is loved by a child, which brings us to our first question. What was your favorite gift you received as a child, which can be up to 18 years old.
Brittany: Nichelle take it away.
Nichelle: Okay. Wow. That was big. The first thing that comes to mind and this, so this isn't a specific thing, but this was my memory of Christmas was my stocking. Anything that came in my stocking. I remember when I was 16, I got a pager and it was in my stocking. Then I think my 17th birthday, I got a cell phone and it was in my stocking.
So it was like all of those gifts that were like, oh, so exciting were at the bottom of my stocking.
Lain: Wait, you didn't have a Clementine in the toe of your stocking?
Nichelle: No. And I've actually carried this tradition on we put really fun things in the stocking, so the girls always look forward to that too. My grandmother made ceramic, is what the word is, boots. There were Santa boots and that's what our stockings were. They were massive. So I grew up with my sister and I have been fighting for them our whole adult life. It was so much fun. So I don't know that it was necessarily a specific thing that comes to mind first. It was my stockings. It was always so much fun to open those.
Brittany: I like that. Wow. I remember vividly one Christmas where I got a boombox stereo, CD player. Wow. Silver, hot off the shelf at Best Buy. It was legit, and I feel like there were other things before that were really great and that I remember, but we, my dad used to set up this like video recorder on a tripod on Christmas morning.
Nichelle: Oh, I love it.
Brittany: I feel like so many of my Christmas mornings, I remember them so vividly because I've watched back those old videos.
Maddy: That's so fun
Brittany: over and over. So I remember that one time I was dressed up with a pink boa, but I don't actually remember that Christmas morning cause I was five.
But I remember it on VHS because my dad literally, it was like the big camera that you sit on your shoulder. No kidding. And go through. Then he would take it off and set it on the tripod. We would open up all of our gifts. Then he would save the video or whatever and box it up and maybe we would watch it again.
I don't know, but the first Christmas I remember not remembering from a video, actually remember like the feelings. I would sneak out of my room at five in the morning and I would go survey, this is probably something we're gonna get into, so I won't really say a lot, but our Santa presents were unwrapped. I would always be like, Ooh, what is all this? And then I would go back to bed and it was like, I needed to have my own surprise before everyone woke up.
Maddy: Before you're being recorded.
Brittany: Yeah and then I would wake up and be so excited to open up all the other gifts and stuff like that. That boombox has a special place in my heart. That's for sure.
Maddy: I love it. I love it, man. Talking about the boombox and the camera brings back so many memories that is so funny. I think my favorite was an Easy Bake Oven. I got that.
Maddy: Yes. It was like my world had been made. I had the Easy Bake Oven and I had my best friend Adrienne over and we baked that really cheap brownie mix.
Lain: Yeah you did.
Nichelle: Astronaut food.
Maddy: It was like, all right.
Brittany: But don't you remember thinking this is the best brownie I've ever had?
Maddy: Yes. It was in that little circular pan and it was so good. I think it's cuz you felt like an adult. You saw your mom baking and you're like I'm gonna go bake in my little oven. So it was really fun. I need to check back in with my mom and be like, it was probably cute watching us bake and copy all the things the moms do on Christmas, but that was definitely sticks in my brain. It was my favorite gift.
Brittany: How old were you?
Maddy: I feel like I had to have been probably like eight or 10 somewhere in that range.
Brittany: Yeah, I feel like that's around the same time. I loved an Easy Bake Oven. My brother would try to come in and be like oh I'm gonna bake too. And I was like, hands off.
Maddy: Step away from the easy bake.
Lain: If you want a brownie, I'll get it.
Maddy: They had the commercials too. That was the time of all the commercials, so you would watch the commercial, the easy bake oven. All the toys you wanted.
Nichelle: Oh yeah.
Brittany: Times have changed.
Lain: They sure have. Okay. So mine of all time happened when I was 16 and it was actually my dad's best friend who gave me this present. I would always like circle American girl catalogs like it was my job. This is everything I want.
Nichelle: I love that.
Lain: But never, literally never got anything. Yeah. And I thought that just like circling, it would be enough. I never truly asked for an American girl doll. So I was telling the story to my dad's best friend and that Christmas, he was like, hey, do you mind, had asked my parents, he didn't wanna step on any toes.
Can I get her an American girl doll? So when I opened it up, I was sick. Like I remember sitting on the couch, not feeling well. He came over and as soon as I unwrapped it, saw the star.
Brittany: Oh my gosh.
Lain: It's fine. It's fine. It's fine. Whew. Everything's fine. Saw the star and literally just bursted into tears cuz I couldn't believe I finally got my American girl doll that I wanted to look just like me. I was obsessed with babies also, so that's very important. This was like my real baby.
Nichelle: Oh yeah.
Lain: I wanted her to have blonde hair and blue eyes and eyes that closed when she laid down, and he remembered all those details and even said that when he gave it to me.
Nichelle: Oh my gosh.
Lain: So that was definitely my number one. It's even more meaningful cuz he ended up passing away that summer after.
Nichelle: Oh wow.
Brittany: My gosh.
Lain: So then it was like, oh my gosh. Not only did I finally get this childhood gift I always wanted, but then it was even more special.
Nichelle: Oh yeah.
Lain: He even got ones for my sisters in January just because he was like they also need American Girl dolls. It was a whole thing.
Nichelle: Oh sweet.
Brittany: That is a good best friend, oh my gosh.
Lain: Yeah. He would always come over for birthdays. He was at Thanksgiving. He was at Christmas, come over for poker nights or family game nights. He was there. So yeah. Who made Christmas the most magical for you as a child? Think also grandparents, cousins.
Nichelle: That's the first thing that comes to mind for me is my grandparents. My dad's side, they were there every holiday. They made it a point to come out. Any holiday that celebrated us. We were their only grandchildren so a little special.
They listened. And I think about that now as an adult, they listened throughout the entire year about what we loved and their presents. I remember hitting home. I was like, oh my gosh, I wanted this. I don't know, Cabbage Patch Kids so much. My mom wouldn't take me to Cabbage Patch Land, but man my mama who brought it for me, she went and got it herself.
I would say it was my grandparents because they made us feel. They're the ones that I remember the magic of Christmas. That's what I really try to instill in my girls too. So yeah, definitely them.
Brittany: I think I would say both my parents. My mom is from Canada. My dad is from Oregon and they met, they both went to college at the University of Georgia and then have just stayed in Athens ever since. We didn't really have all this other family around my mom's cousin, she actually came down to visit her when they were in college and ended up staying and marrying one of my dad's close friends, so they are still here. I feel like our families always did stuff together. My parents' anniversary, is actually Christmas Eve.
So we always would do a dinner or do something to celebrate them and then do a Christmas party with our cousins or go for Christmas Day. We never really had the like big multiple cousins and family and grandparents always at Christmas. I feel like that's one reason Chris and I have started just doing like Christmas at our house and anybody's welcome to come, but we wanna have that intimate time in the morning with the girls.
I would definitely say my parents instilled that and wanted to start all these traditions and would start decorating on Thanksgiving after or black Friday. I guess we would start decorating for Christmas. Then it just seemed like there was always something. They were taking us to a light show, a Christmas play really wanting us to experience everything because it was just us.
We didn't have additional family to go do stuff with, but now it's cool because my mom is like I can't wait to bake Christmas cookies with the girls. I'm getting all the stuff and my nephew Levi, he lives here too. So it's the three grandkids, she's got all the stuff planned for them.
I feel like when I think Christmas, I just think of our intimate family because that's just what we always did.
Lain: Love that.
Maddy: I love that. That's so fun to think just, or hear about all the family traditions and everyone getting with their family. Mine is so similar, but I come from a big Italian family, but we're all dispersed. Everyone during growing up was in Buffalo, New York. As soon as we were done with school, we would just load up the minivan and bungee that VHS TV into the center. We are like full speed down memory lane right now. We would load up and we would drive to Buffalo and we would stay there for the two weeks or however long we're out for school.
But looking back I totally commend and so thankful for my parents that they just loaded us in the car. We just went up there so that we could be with family at the time. It was really just us who had moved down to Georgia. I look back and I'm so grateful. Now I wanna do the same thing.
I think we're all still a little bit dispersed across the country, but just being so intentional about getting together for the holidays and spending that time with family.
Brittany: And it's interesting. I feel like there's this line between wanting to create new traditions for your own intimate family, but also still having that desire to spend time and be intentional with others and with your other family.
Maddy: Yes. It's what does it look like doing that?
Brittany: And like how to make it so that it works for you, but your kids or your family also gets to experience the holidays together?
Brittany: I don't know. Maybe this is just adulting I don't know.
Maddy: I know it is. It's combining families and different traditions and maybe some years look different than other years, which is also totally okay. It's fun though.
Lain: Agreed one of my sisters when she got married she thought they wanted to start their own tradition and do their own thing. So normally all of the kids even as grownups would stay at my parents' house on Christmas Eve and spend that time together and then have Christmas morning.
It's different now that they have kids. When Krisi first got married, she was like I just wanna have Christmas morning at our house. Then she was in tears cuz it was so quiet, and I'm one of six kids, so we're used to having noise constantly. So she was like, okay, never again am I doing that. I didn't wanna make my own new tradition. I didn't mean it, mom.
Maddy: It didn't work.
Brittany: I'm sorry.
Lain: Yeah. Which definitely for Christmas, my parents obviously created the magic and that was also my mom, for sure. That's just how she is. Wants to make sure everyone has something they need and plenty of what you want, especially with the grandchildren.
But also my dad, how much he loves Christmas shopping and that's his time. He was always the one that would say no. But mom would get us whatever we asked for. And that was really his time that he would be like you know what Lain asked for an iPod. That's what she's getting this year.
That was his time to just go crazy for us. So definitely mom and dad.
Brittany: And he probably loved that too.
Lain: Oh yeah.
Brittany: He was probably like I say no all during the year so that I can save all my yeses for everything I want right now.
Lain: Or be like I'm going to, he worked in Marietta, and he'd be like, oh I went to the Micro Center.
It was kind of like Best Buy. So that also was the place that he would get any electronics we wanted. He was not going to Best Buy. It was like, no, I'm gonna go to the Micro Center on my lunch and get whatever for my brothers. Oh my gosh.
Brittany: I love that.
Lain: We went into this a little bit, but what was your like favorite childhood Christmas memory?
Nichelle: I have a memory. So really quick try to visualize this. We grew up in one of those split level house where it's like the living room and kitchen are on the left and then you go up the stairs to the right.
And all the rooms are up there above the garage. So living room when you first walk in and you have to walk straight towards the back and the kitchen and dining rooms all back there, right? You have two doors. You have a single door to go in one side and a double door to come out the other side. So it's like a circle if you think about it. You can just walk in a circle around downstairs. All right. The sneaking downstairs like you were just saying, like taking a Gander what's going on surveying the territory. I went down, it was probably three o'clock and I had to be a teenager at this point.
So maybe 13, 14. I don't think it was any older than 14, tiptoe downstairs with the creaking. trying not to do the dogs. I walked into the kitchen immediately as I hit the stairs. Cause I didn't want my mom to peek out of her room and see me go downstairs.
And I'm like, okay, I gotta go around the other side and see what's going on. So I went around through the kitchen and dining room and I saw the Christmas tree cuz it was right inside the living room where the dining room was. I heard something and I was like oh somebody heard me, so I tried to hustle back through the kitchen.
So I could at least hide behind the door. I saw a shadow on what was the garage door, which was close to the stairs, and I had to sit there for a minute. It was somebody with a big belly that was really big and tall. And I was like no, it can't be Santa. Yeah, absolutely not.
I was literally frozen in my tracks because I was like, is it ?
Brittany: What if he sees me?
Nichelle: Is it not? It was the middle of the night, it's nowhere close to when we need to be waking up. Then I remember tiptoeing back towards the Christmas tree that I heard it again. And I was like, oh my gosh, I don't know what to do.
I'm scared. What if it is? And okay, if you have kids in the car mute for a minute but I was like, there's no way I know better. You know what I mean? This isn't Santa.
Brittany: But you're thinking, is it,
Nichelle: Guys, I don't know if I've said this before. I truly believe in the magic of Christmas. So this was one of those moments that I was like, But maybe I kept going back and forth in this U shape, trying to avoid the series because that's where the shadow was. And I'm like, where is the shadow coming from it? I was probably down there for 15, 20 minutes and I ended up walking all the way around, didn't see the shadow anymore.
And I'm like, where did it go? It's so silly.
Up the chimney
seriously, but how did he get past me?
Brittany: The magic. Elf dust. And he was on his way.
Nichelle: Seriously. That memory is so vivid for me, and I tell it to my girls all the time. I'm like Santa was there. He was in the middle dropping off stuff and I caught him. Don't ever do that. You'll scare him off. Yeah. So learn from my mistakes. I have so many memories, but that's the first one I think of whenever I think of like fun, memories from Christmas.
Maddy: Magical memory. I like that.
Brittany: So while we mostly stayed at home for the holidays, there was maybe one year that we went to Oregon for Christmas and spent Christmas with my dad's family. I remember my brother and I were so concerned, would Santa be able to find us because we weren't gonna be at our house. And we were gonna be across the country.
Maddy: Makes sense.
Brittany: My parents assured us that Santa knew where we were going. They had made a special call and he was aware. And so while we were there, it was just such a different Christmas experience because we usually were always at home. I remember we did so many fun things. We went snow skiing.
Obviously we're not snow skiing in Athens, Georgia. So that was a really cool experience for us. And then doing Christmas differently, I feel like that's the first. Fun different Christmas experience that we had. I always think back on that, cuz we don't really see that side of the family that often and whenever I think of them, I always think of that Christmas and going skiing and making this big Christmas dinner at my uncle's house.
Maddy: That is fun. It's fun that you can have the memory of the magic being all different places. It's like the Christmas tradition just follows you around, which is sweet.
Brittany: And it makes me think how creative are our parents?
Brittany: On the spot when you're like, Hey Santa isn't gonna be here to come up with this elaborate story, and then it making sense. I could just picture my parents, behind our backs being like, oh, that was a good one. Like fist bump, because that story was good.
Maddy: That's why we need to keep watching all the Christmas movies to keep getting all the Christmas things engrained in our head so that when our kids are like Hey, what about this? We're like I have an answer. Yes.
Lain: Because this happened in the Santa Claus.
Maddy: Yeah, exactly.
Lain: In 1990, whatever.
Nichelle: We have a reference.
Maddy: Yeah exactly. I'm trying to think. The one that comes to mind was that we always put out Christmas cookies, but one year we put out Christmas cookies and carrots for the reindeer.
The next morning we came down, of course the cookies were nibbled on. Thanks dad. . And but what he did was he ate some of the carrots, but then he took some of them out and put 'em on the back deck. So we went outside and he was like look the reindeer must have dropped some of the carrots on their way out.
I just remember thinking to myself oh my gosh, they actually ate the carrots and the cookies. I envision them going off the roof and carrots flying out of the sleigh. It was just such a fun memory. Which looking back now, I'm like ew carrots flying outta their mouth, but at the time it was so magical. So I feel like that's the one that comes to mind for me.
Brittany: I feel like Chris is gonna be the one who is purposely go throw carrots loudly. So then in the morning when the girls are like, I heard something, he's gonna be like, I found carrots.
He will for sure take that roll on.
Maddy: Yeah. Chuck them up at their window or something.
Lain: Yeah you have to have one at least that. So my dad's dad had this ring of jingle bells that were legit bells, and that's what he would like ring in the middle of the night when my dad was growing up. So now my dad also has bells that make the sound. But mine definitely would be in my dad's dad and stepmom came down to Atlanta. Our family, we moved from Michigan. So a lot of our relatives were still up there. This was close to when we had just first moved down to Atlanta.
And so we didn't get to spend the Christmas with them anymore. They came down for Christmas and we did all the Christmas things. I remember like putting up our tree with them and having Christmas morning with our grandparents that we normally didn't get to see a lot.
Speaking of the reindeer, it was my first time we put out oatmeal in the front yard for the reindeer, which now I'm like, huh? How did that not make instant oatmeal?
Nichelle: They use rolled oats or something.
Lain: I'm like, wait a second. How come that worked, and it didn't foam up for anything but I would say that one and in 2002, we went up to Michigan for Christmas. My mom's one of 15 kids. It was all of our aunts and uncles and cousins that went back to Michigan for Christmas.
Lain: And we all made our own red and white classic stockings with puff paint. And we also were like, but how is Santa gonna find us? Guys, where were the presents? We stayed in a hotel. Yeah. How'd they get them there? So many things. It was like, wow, this is so magical. They were probably in my older siblings hotel room.
Brittany: For sure.
Lain: Okay. Do you guys eat a specific meal on Christmas Eve slash day morning?
Lain: Your face looks like you're about to be like, no.
Brittany: She's like let me tell you.
Nichelle: I'm about to get judged so on Christmas Eve, every year we do Chinese.
Maddy: Yum, nothing wrong with that.
It's just been a tradition.
Literally. I remember Madi being just old enough to eat regular food. So she's probably two and we've gotten Chinese every year since then.
I love it.
Nichelle: Then of course we'll do some kind of Pinterest casserole on Christmas morning. It's been like a French toast bake or a breakfast casserole of some sort. Chinese is the fun we look forward to it every year I was like, Ooh, is Tani Thai open this year? 'll just have Thai instead of Chinese, really switch it up.
Brittany: So my parents' anniversary is on Christmas Eve. Then my cousins have a Christmas Eve party at their house. So we would usually go to dinner at there's like a handful of restaurants that are open on Christmas Eve here, and we would go to dinner at one of those restaurants and then go over to our cousins Christmas Eve party and do dessert and have a drink or play games or whatever. Then on Christmas morning we do the breakfast casserole, mimosas, cinnamon rolls. Chris' mom actually always did cinnamon rolls with them on Christmas day.
We added that one in when Chris and I got married, I was like let's bring some of your traditions and our traditions so we'll do cinnamon rolls and the breakfast casserole. We start with cinnamon rolls to get some food in our stomach to open presents.
Then we do the breakfast casserole for brunch. Usually we do a ham or something, we always make my grandmother's dressing on Christmas too. It's funny cuz I feel like on Thanksgiving my mom will make it and we're all like, this is so good. We need to make this more. Why do we only make it on Thanksgiving?
Nichelle: It's so true. We wait for the best thing.
Brittany: We've always incorporating it into christmas dinner too, and my dad loves mashed potatoes. He and I share our love for mashed potatoes. This year on Thanksgiving, not to go backwards, but my mom used a different sour cream that had chives in it.
And we were both like, I don't know. I don't think we can do this for Christmas. We're very ready for our mashed potatoes on Christmas Day this year.
Lain: A nice little redo. Redemption of the potatoes.
Maddy: I didn't know that about you about mashed potatoes, but now I know that.
Brittany: I love any type of potatoe. The other night we ordered dinner and I was like, Ooh, can I get a loaded baked potato to Chris was like, all right, girl.
Nichelle: Can I get a baked potato on this side? He said, you want it loaded? Yeah.
Maddy: Good to know. All right.
Lain: How about that baked potato that I got from McAlister's that was literally the size of a football, It was ginormous.
Maddy: It was.
Lain: I didn't even know potatoes were that big.
Brittany: Literally. I think they do two potatoes. It's actually two, but they opened them up and mesh 'em together and then put all the toppings on.
It was the biggest potato I've ever seen.
Lain: It was took up the entire Togo container side to side.
Maddy: Literally, I'm trying to think. We every Christmas morning, my mom makes an egg casserole, so we'll get up and we'll do the stockings, get the coffee, and then that will bake. Then we'll eat the egg casserole while we open gifts. My dad loves to cook. We usually either on Christmas Eve or on Christmas day will host everyone.
One year we literally hosted, I think, 40 or 50 people. At this point, we were just going to the neighbors and being like, Hey, come on down, big feast. Cuz my dad that is his love language. He loves cooking, loves doing that. And then my mom loves to host, so she was setting up all the tables and doing the tablescape and everything like that.
It was fun cuz we just turned our house into this mini restaurant. There were just tables and chairs everywhere. It is just like a food fest, which is probably also why I love the holidays. It's the best time ever. I am just fed well, and it's great. That's usually what we're doing, but we're doing a lot of food cooking new meals.
It's never the same. It's always one year we did tamales. Every year we do something different. It's never just turkey and ham. It's some different type of cuisine, which is fun. It's cool.
Maddy: It's cool tradition.
Brittany: Then your memory of that year can be stuck with oh, in that year we did this meal and that was this year's gift. I don't know. I feel like.
Maddy: Yeah, that was the year of, we made a mole I'm probably saying this wrong a mole sauce. We forgot to put the lid on the blender and the mole sauce went everywhere, ceiling, floor. So that was the year of the mole sauce. And it was so good.
Nichelle: Year of the mole sauce.
Maddy: Literally. Truly, I think we found sauce for the next four or five years to like in random place. There's a little bit of the mole.
Brittany: Isn't it green?
Maddy: Yeah there's a green and a red. Felt very festive.
Brittany: What is this stuck on the ceiling mold or mole sauce?
Lain: That's hilarious. That's funny. It's the year of the mole. Wow. Love that. So every Christmas morning we have baked French toast and whenever my mom tries to be like, oh, I think I'm gonna do this instead. No, baked French toast or bust.
Now we even started doing it on Thanksgiving too, to be like, okay, let's have this delicious meal twice a year, at least. Now my sisters when they are not there on Christmas morning, they make their own French toast the night before. So everyone still has the baked French toast, even if you're not eating it at the castle.
And then my dad also loves to make skillets on the grill using a cast iron skillet. So we've also incorporated that. Now we really have the sweet and the salty.
Brittany: Love that.
Lain: Always have a Christmas bar. Of course can't make it through the Christmas day without. Bloody. Mary's going to mimosas. You just never know. You never know what's going to be in your glass. My poor, my oldest brother because he was a bartender in New York and all over fun places. He's always put in charge of that. Guys, I don't want to only be making drinks for you guys.
Cause he'll use fresh ginger and make this syrup. He goes so extravagant with his drinks where you also could just use like the simple syrup from the store. We don't need to make it, but that's always fun. The Christmas bar, of course. Okay. Now, what is your favorite thing about Christmas as an adult?
Nichelle: My favorite thing is honestly
Lain: the red cup.
Nichelle: I really like it. It's a close second.
Brittany: Really into the coffee related holiday things.
Nichelle: My favorite thing as an adult, honestly, that it hasn't gotten old. It's so much fun. I look forward to it. I refuse to give up what is the magic of the holidays? Let's be real. I've been through the ringer when it comes to the holidays, and I refuse to let the hustle and bustle and all of that. Bring you down. You let it bring you up. I don't know. It's so fun. It's so magical. I hate that it's so short, which was like six months out of the year.
Brittany: Yeah, truly.
Lain: That's why we put our trees up in the beginning of November.
Nichelle: That's exactly why. October 30th mine went up. Yeah, I just love the magic of what it is.
Brittany: I agree. I feel like in December there's something about it hitting December one and there's so many fun things you can do. Restaurants are offering holiday specials, Christmas lights. There's so much you can do that you don't have to spend money onto experience the cheer. Also something that's really nice is there's so much to offer and there's just happiness everywhere you turn.
Even if it's these big inflatables in people's yards or people starting to put up their Christmas lights, it's Ooh, like I'll never get tired of seeing that kind of thing. So I would piggyback off that if we're not talking kids yet.
Nichelle: I know.
Maddy: Yes. I agree.
Brittany: I love, I am such a gift giver. I love giving people gifts. That's one thing I always really like is thinking okay this is what I'm gonna get my dad, because he's going to use this and being intentional in those areas. I don't really like when we have done pick the name from the hat. Cuz I'm like I really wanted to get my mom this and my brother that, and all these people. That's just me personally.
Maddy: So this year is the first year. Now that Brittany said Christmas inflatables that we have a Santa inflatable and it is bringing me a lot of joy. So I just wanna throw that out there.
Nichelle: Listen. Being a parent at the holidays, changes that a little bit.
Maddy: It really does.
Nichelle: You learn to give into things you normally wouldn't.
Lain: It all starts with one.
Maddy: It all starts with one.
Brittany: I know Maddie sent our group chat the other night with a picture of this giant inflatable. That's literally half the size of your house. It's looking into the second story truly.
Maddy: He's on a hill and he just looks gargantuan. It's so funny cause I have a two year old and she can barely even see over his little, not little, his boot . So it's I don't even think she knows that it's Santa. I don't know what she thinks. And it's so funny, but I it is, it's fun.
It's fun to do that, but I think a large part of it too is just you're rounding out a year and everyone's just in this spirit of giving and joy , and you're just gearing up for a new year. It's a fun place to be in, and I think that's what the holidays evoke that feeling with everyone.
It's fun to see people giving and reconnecting with family and all of that. So I think it's just that feeling that you get when it's the holidays and I can breathe and just enjoy. It's fun to witness and it's also fun to experience.
Lain: Wow. Love! Mine definitely gets close to Nichelle still believing in the magic I think is such a huge part of I think why we all love Christmas and the holidays and the hustle and bustle gets us more excited. People are opening the door more for people they're just saying hi to Salvation Army people ringing the bell outside of the store.
Everyone is just I feel like coming together in the holiday spirit of Hey, maybe I don't have cash to put in the bucket, but I can say hello to you and ask how you're doing and wish you a wonderful holiday season. It's fine. It just brings that cheer, like you were saying, just spreads it, sprinkle your cheer everywhere.
Brittany: Yeah, it does.
Lain: Okay. So now what do you love most about Christmas with your kids?
Nichelle: I love seeing the excitement in their eyes on the morning of, and even just leading up to it, like right now, they're so excited about what are we doing that day? Are we gonna go to the movies that night? Is everybody coming over?
Who's gonna be here. Are we gonna take pictures with the dogs under the tree? They're so excited about it, and I want that to continue. I think that's why again, the magic of Christmas, I will say that for eternity. I just that's what it is. But I wanna keep that special.
When my oldest was like, yeah, I knew about him three years ago, but I didn't wanna ruin it for you or for Bryn. And I'm like, thank you. I'm so proud of you, but she was like, I felt it was probably time I told you. She still even says from Santa I would love this, and if you and dad can do this, that'd be great. Seeing the excitement in their eyes and them believing that's one thing I've always told them too. I was like, The Polar Express, when you stop hearing the bells, you stop believing. The magic is gone when you stop believing.
Lain: Forever. The Josh Groban song Believe. It's up there.
Lain: You didn't cry when you saw that in the movie theaters.
Lain: I don't know if you have a soul. It has snow on the screen. Wow. What a moment.
Brittany: Top 10 moments ever. So we put our Christmas tree up in the foyer and where the second floor, landing is and the stairs, we walk past the Christmas tree with the girls in the morning and the night. Every morning since we've put up the Christmas tree, Collins will walk out and she'll say, good morning, Christmas tree. And then Hazel mumbles it a little bit.
And it's so cute. This is why I set the Christmas tree up early so they can experience this joy and be excited to see the lights and all of that. I think with them too, like they're one and two, so they're still just learning, they don't really fully understand Santa's gonna bring you presents Collins just keeps saying I wanna pink present for Christmas.
She doesn't fully get it yet, but seeing their face light up when they see the ornaments on the tree. I think just like starting these traditions with them is making it so fun for us. So that's what I love, but hearing them in the morning say tell the Christmas tree, good morning, or at night when we'll walk up the stairs and Collins will be like goodnight Christmas tree. See you after my nap sleep good. As if a Christmas tree is a person. I just love it. It's literally the sweetest.
Maddy: So I'm in the similar place with you. Millie's only two. Last year was her first Christmas, but I think that this year we introduced the elf, even though she doesn't understand the concept of it , but she loves the elf and wants to sleep with it in her crib.
She just loves carrying it around, which I'm also like, should I break this now? Because the elf is supposed to be watching her bad behavior
Lain: . My eyes are huge. Absolutely. You cannot touch the elf.
Maddy: But she loves him so much.
Lain: Okay. Tip from Erin put it in a plastic cup, so then they can carry it around, but they're not touching it. So Erin's elf went with them last year to Christmas pictures, so they would behave, but it was in a plastic cup. So it was like, yeah, Torch is watching literally right here.
Maddy: Well it's on the mantle now, so we've moved it to the mantle. So don't worry. We wrapped the fake presents for, of course the looks. But every day when I get home, Millie is usually unwrapping them, which is fine cuz it's really cute to see her pulling at the paper and stuff. Then she'll shake the empty Amazon box. I think I'm like excited to start to watch her do all that and
Brittany: I feel like because they're so young right now and it's what are you thinking about this tree that we've brought into our house?
Maddy: Yeah. And like the books
Lain: I thought trees were outside.
Maddy: And that felt tree. That is amazing.
Brittany: Literally the girls can stand and take the ornaments off. Yes, we'll put a link for this felt tree in the show notes because if you have kids, you need this. Basically you just we use a command hook on the wall. It's Velcro ornaments that like stick on this felt tree so they can take 'em all off or you arrange. Keeps them busy for hours does. And they don't touch the other tree.
Maddy: Exactly. Because we did know ornaments on the tree this year, because it just was not working. Too much of a temptation.
Lain: All rules are out the window.
Maddy: We're doing the rustic theme this year with just the trees.
Brittany: Very classic.
Lain: Oh my gosh. I love that. So my favorite thing with my nieces and nephews is they all have matching pajamas, not with their fam, but they have cousin pajamas, which is so cute.
Can't get over that. Cousin Christmas is what we call it. So we always get a picture of the new addition too. So it's oh my gosh, this year we added one, this year we added two. So that's really fun.
Brittany: That's so sweet.
Lain: Also, I would say from teaching, I did have an elf in my classroom and that really elevated it. I feel like for my kids to be like,
Nichelle: That was really smart.
Lain: Even Ms. Eikey has an elf wow, it's not just kids. So it helped out with that.
Brittany: Your kids parents were like thank you.
Lain: I'm like, we gotta go all out. This is where we live, but we are getting a puppy the week of Christmas this year, we will be sending out a new year's card so that we can include our new addition. It's so ridiculous. I didn't want dog stockings, but I wanted like cute classic, regular stockings. And I was like, oh, I'll get their names embroidered on these. Will's like Lain they're dogs they just want the bones. They have to have a stocking.
Nichelle: They absolutely do. Do you know that? I have five. Five for my five dogs.
Lain: You need another mantle.
Maddy: Busy mantle.
Nichelle: So I use the railing of my stairs coming down.
Brittany: Before we had kids, we had a stocking for Birdie and this furry kind of one. So Chris and I had ours and then we had the furry one and that was, or the faux fur, and that was Birdie's was the dog one.
Maddy: They get treats and stuff.
Brittany: We always get her something. Chris is always we can't forget about Birdie. Like she needs a new bone toys and she unwraps them.
Nichelle: What is better than a Christmas puppy?
Lain: I don't know.
Maddy: That's so fun.
Lain: So excited. We didn't think that we were going to have him in time. Originally we were like, wow, we're gonna have a new dog for Christmas, and then when the puppy was finally born, we're like, oh, that's out the window cuz we thought the timing would be off. Then, the lady who were getting the puppy from took a picture of all of them. There's eight puppies underneath the tree. Oh. And was like they'll be ready to go home for Christmas.
So prepare yourselves.
Brittany: All the text messages.
Lain: I need to get a velvet collar, yes.
Maddy: So much to do.
Lain: There's so much to do so little time just kidding, plenty of Christmas time.
Brittany: So I have a question before we go to our next question. For you guys, your opinion on the elf, I have been like when should we start that with the girls?
Brittany: Can I go get an elf still and start it like today or tomorrow?
Nichelle: They don't know the difference between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the time between it. Okay. You could start it now. It could even be for the week before Christmas, because it's right there, but you, that's where you get to instill all of the behaviors and the naughty and the nice.
And this is what Santa looks for. This is what they're going to communicate back to Santa. We don't touch. All of those, read the book to them. Read like over and over. Oh, it's so much fun. They've them as long as it's been out. The girls have. I'm so bad. They haven't made it to our house yet this year.
Brittany: Do we think that there are still elves available?
Lain: There are.
Nichelle: I saw some.
Maddy: Walmart still has them.
Lain: Walmart is coming through.
Maddy: That's another reshare cause that is another one that people are having a hard time finding it.
Nichelle: I will say Target's had the accessories, but they have no elves.
Maddy: I saw them at Walmart over the weekend, okay.
Brittany: You know where I'll be today? Walmart.
Lain: You could also write a note with the girls asking Santa for an elf. That's the thing to do and then the elf comes, but what's really fun now that they are so little is they just will find the elf every morning.
. You think of Collins being like good morning, Christmas tree, it'll be like, good morning, like Elfie or whatever you end up naming it. That's oh my gosh. We have to find where she is today or he, if you get a boy to come. You can start, you don't have to do all the crazy like here's a snowball fight. Now they're making a zip line. It's just, let's find it can to yourself.
Brittany: Yeah. Also props to the people who created these elf kits. They sell them on Etsy and it's like ideas of what to do. Literally. I'm like, I need to go ahead and buy that for when we get to that point in a few years.
Nichelle: That's brilliant.
Brittany: So we will also search for a few of those and link them as well.
What are your elf's names?
I don't. I honestly, I need elf 1 0 1. Lain is looking at me right now.
Lain: Yeah, I got you girl.
Maddy: I am so behind, but yes. So I don't know, TBD.
Lain: So mine is named Cheeky because of course they have the big cheeks. What's yours?
Nichelle: So the OG ELFS were Marshall and Ernie.
Lain: Wow. Love strong names. Yeah.
Nichelle: So Ernie he was recruited back by Santa. Okay. One year he had to retire, so he ended up getting an executive position with Santa. He was no longer in the field. We ended up getting Jesse. Jesse was sent by Santa and took Ernie's place.
Lain: Ernie must have been pretty old, like 170.
He was. He was turning. Getting he's fading to gray and all kinds of stuff to retire.
Brittany: Executive position with Santa. That's pretty legit. He's thriving up there.
I know he sent a little bitty note with his little bitty writing on it and told Madi what happened.
Maddy: We have a lot of work to do Brittany. Wow. I am very behind.
Brittany: But not for long.
Lain: That's right. Don't worry guys. We'll get them right. What do you like dislike or what's the most stressful part about Christmas with kids?
Nichelle: Stressful wise? I think even as they're getting older, figuring out what to get them. They're at this point where they're like, tell me, I don't need anything. I'm like, bless you. What do I get you . So just figuring out what to get them and making sure that they still it makes them happy.
Brittany: I think it's for us, it's figuring out like a good balance of not trying to do every single thing or feeling we have to start all these traditions and do all these things because everybody else is doing it, and in today's world, it's so hard to not look around and be like they're doing that. We need to be doing that. Really figuring out what works best for your family and saying no, if that means like it's gonna be a little less stressful or creating your own traditions. So I think trying to figure out that balance, especially cuz they're still so young and they don't like fully understand.
So I think adding in going to a light show and then taking them to a parade and working that around their schedules and what works for them, but not trying to force. Now we're going to bake Christmas cookies today. We have to today. This is also me giving myself advice that it's okay if we only do a few things. That's until they really get like older and they're wanting to do all this stuff, cuz they are aware. I feel we only have a few Christmases left where it's really make our traditions special. How we wanna make them.
Maddy: For sure. I definitely agree. And I think at this age too, I mean she, wouldn't know if I wrapped a book in her nursery or if I, got something from Target. I have to remind myself that it's less of get this toy or get this thing and more of just the experience and opening everything together and just what is Christmas about? Then as she gets older teaching her about giving too, because so much of this season is about giving and how can we give back? And so that will just be really important, as she gets older and we keep going through Christmases together.
Brittany: I saw something on Instagram the other day that was this picture and it had a Tupperware, it was a Christmas tree. And under the Christmas tree was an empty Tupperware. And there was a note that said before Santa can bring you new presents. We need to take some of the presents that you don't play with, or that some of the toys you don't play with anymore and put them in here so that we can give them to children in need.
The parents had their kids thinking about, what am I not playing with anymore? What do I not use that somebody else could use, and then they put it all in the box and gave it to other kids in need. So I thought that was cool too. Sometimes we're just adding on and on. Figuring out a way to teach your kid to give back or I thought that was just a cool thing.
Maddy: Yeah. I like that.
Lain: That's really cute.
I will say, I think how you were saying that things that you're doing and the traditions you're starting are more important than okay, I got you all 20 things you asked for oh you saw this at Target. You must really want that toy and this toy.
I think that's where it can go a little bit overboard where it's like asking someone the question of what was your favorite gift that you got as a kid? You're only going to remember a few, right? But then you remember it was so hard for us to limit like oh my gosh, my favorite Christmas memory, because those are what really matter more than like how many plastic doll houses did you get, or how many baby dolls do you really need to have animals?