Random Thoughts

Home for the Holidays (and a Few of My Favorite Things)

Home for the holidays (and a few of my favorite things)

For the first time in many years, my husband and I are staying home for the holidays. With both of our families living in other states, I have to say it’s really nice not needing to worry about weather, traffic, peak travel prices, or a toddler’s sleep schedule.

We’re looking forward to hosting Friendsmas dinner in our home in a couple weeks and are even more excited to wake up in our own bed on Christmas Day.

Gemma’s at that age (just over two-and-a-half) where she’s starting to understand celebrations, family traditions, and — of course — presents, so it’s going to be especially fun to see all of her reactions on Christmas morning.

Hunting for a Christmas tree in Central Oregon

Cutting down our own Christmas tree

This year's Christmas tree from Deschutes National Forest

We cut down our Christmas tree last week near the town of Sisters (our new favorite family tradition in Oregon, which you might remember we started last year) and have been decorating all week, bit by bit.

Each day there’s something new to do together: draping lights across the windows, making wreaths with leftover branches from our tree, pulling out all the ornaments that we’ve picked up from places we’ve visited and loved, hanging them just so on the beautiful fir tree we found in the forest.

Our beloved family tradition of hunting for a Christmas tree

Toddler in the snow

This year’s tree is our tallest one yet at 12 feet! It smells amazing and makes our home feel like we live in the middle of the woods. With the recent snowfall we’ve had, along with cold temperatures that are helping the snow stick around for once, it actually, truly feels like winter right now, and I’m loving it.

I’m loving the excuse to go into full-on soup-making mode, wear wool socks all day, drink snugglers (you can find the recipe here), and cycle through all the Christmas movies on Netflix, no matter how cheesy they may be. (What’s your favorite? I’m always nostalgic for Home Alone.)

We went up to Mount Bachelor the other day to take our annual family photo. As we’ve done every year so far, Will set up his tripod and camera and took our photo with a remote trigger. (I’ll share it later this month on my Instagram! Meanwhile, you can check out our first year and our second year.)

I ordered our Christmas cards yesterday with our favorite photo, and I’m pretty psyched to share with you that Basic Invite is offering my readers a generous 40 percent off all holiday card orders this season!

Just enter code  Garden Betty discount code at checkout for your discount. The same code will get you 20 percent off all non-holiday items from Basic Invite at any time of year, so be sure to save it for your other invitation, greeting card, or stationery needs.

Speaking of deals, here are a few more I’ve spotted online that I think you’ll like. (And you’ll have to act fast, as some are only good through this week.)

This is the pan that gets the most use in my kitchen. I love it for so many reasons: two short handles (instead of an unwieldy long one), ample capacity for one-pan meals, and multi-clad construction for exceptional heating. You can use code COOK to get an additional 25 percent off the current sale price, making this beautiful All-Clad pan a very worthy investment!

I bought my beloved Staub dutch oven years ago and it truly is an heirloom piece. (I prefer it over Le Creuset.) Selected colors (including my favorite, matte black with a gold knob) are now on sale for only $99! (An insane deal when these dutch ovens normally retail for over $300!)

With all the soups I’ve been making lately, my Instant Pot has been in constant use. I’m finding so many recipes for it that are making me rethink how I cook. For one more day only, the most popular Instant Pots are over 60 percent off right here!

If you’re like me, you’re already dreaming about your spring garden and all the seeds you want to plant in it. Botanical Interests is currently offering a 20 percent discount on their seed collections plus free shipping with all orders over $40.

Want to sleep better in the New Year? For one more day only, my favorite mattress, Avocado Green Mattress, is offering $175 off any bed with code MERRY175. (They’re also giving $175 off any bed frame with code BED175.) You can read my full review of their organic pillowtop mattress here.

Hope you had a wonderful weekend, friends. I’ll check in with you again soon!

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 »

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