Random Thoughts

Christmas: A Week in Pictures

Christmas: a week in pictures

This is the first day in over a week that I’ve actually opened my laptop, and I must say it’s been a really lovely holiday break. Will and I spent Christmas with his family in Northern California, and I hope I’m not alone in saying a break from our holiday break is now in order!

We had a lively week filled with family activities — Christmas Eve with all the cousins, Christmas Day with our immediate family, a day-after dinner with my siblings-in-law, then a holiday block party at my mother-in-law’s house on Mount Tamalpais. That’s six full days of decorating, wrapping, unwrapping, prepping, cooking, eating, drinking, and more eating with dozens of friends and family I only get to see a couple times a year… and I am wiped. out. In the most heartwarming way!

Decorating for the holidays

Christmas decor

Sprout (now 29 weeks and cooking along) has been kicking up a storm thanks to all the Christmas cookies I’ve been sampling! I’m not even a sweets person, normally, but who can turn down all that confectionery made in the name of Christmas spirit?

Despite the gluttony of the holiday, I really love the generations-old traditions that have held steadfast in my husband’s family. Christmas morning started with a beautiful blue day on Mount Tam, a pleasantly surprising scene as it had been stormy and gloomy in the days leading up.

Since we’d all stayed up late the night before, we didn’t begin the annual ritual until well past noon: a homemade brunch of eggs benedict and cocktails (this year, it was gin fizzes), followed by a few hours of lazing around the fireplace while each one of us took our turn opening a gift. We were supposed to shine gifts altogether this year, but it seems none of us got the memo!

Mount Tamalpais on Christmas Day

Fixing up Christmas brunch

A team effort in the kitchen

Serving up eggs benedict

Traditional Christmas brunch

Christmas presents

We ran out of time before we had to start making dinner, so the stockings were saved for the next night… again, a leisurely (and boozy) tradition whereby each person unwrapped a gift while the rest of us ooh’ed and ahh’ed. This went on and on in a circle until there were no more gifts to unwrap. It could seriously stretch into the night if we didn’t have dinner getting cold on the table! With a new member in the family next Christmas, we’re going to have to find a way to speed things up a bit… or resign ourselves to the fact that we’ll need to start at sunrise!

Christmas stockings over the fireplace

Pugs in Christmas sweaters

Sunset on Christmas Day

A pooped pug

Holiday party at home

Holiday hors d'oeuvres

After a very full week, Will and I made it home yesterday with the intention of ringing in the New Year quietly. We’re looking forward to spending January 1 outside, somewhere somehow, and are hoping the next storm will be generous with snow so we can sneak in a getaway to the mountains midweek.

January is already blazing by between my baby showers and a road trip to Oregon, and I’m in disbelief at how quickly 2016 is shaping up. Good things are going to be happening on many fronts, and I’m so excited to see this next year unfold.

Happy early weekend, friends! I hope your holidays have been merry and bright, and your New Year is filled with boundless hope and joy!

About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring—all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »


  • John Gilman
    December 31, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    Just happened by your website while doing research for my Yosemite trip next summer. (The first couple days I have look a LOT like yours, so thanks for the beta!)
    Anyway, I have to say, your guy is probably the second luckiest in the world, I think I am first. But you are awesome. Love your energy. I thought I was the only one who thought that “il dolce far niente” was the secret to happiness.
    Congrats on your little one and best wishes for new year that far exceeds your expectations.

    • Linda Ly of Garden Betty
      January 2, 2016 at 8:48 pm

      Thank you for the kind comment, John! We similar souls seem to flock together. 😉

  • Peggy Zortman
    December 31, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    Always smitten with photos of your puggers. Like ve that you are calling the baby Sprout. And love that you share your family traditions for the holiday. Beautiful memories. Happy New Year!

    • Linda Ly of Garden Betty
      January 2, 2016 at 8:48 pm

      Happy New Year, Peggy! Thank you for being here!

  • Brandi Young
    December 31, 2015 at 9:10 am

    Happy New Year! Beautiful photos but I know I won’t be alone in saying your pugs stole the show!

    • Linda Ly of Garden Betty
      January 2, 2016 at 8:49 pm

      Aww, they ALWAYS steal the show! hehe… Happy New Year to you as well!


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