christmas tour & traditions

Today, I am liking up with Kiki from In Its Time and Katie from Refining the Wild Grapes for this months The Circle prompt to share what the holidays look like in our home, as well as what Christmas traditions we cherish. 

This is my first Christmas as a newlywed, as well as the first time I am away from family during the holidays. Christmas will definitely look different than other years, which is bittersweet. It is sad and slightly "bitter" that I will not be able to partake in some of the Christmas traditions I have come to love. One of my favorite traditions is the annual Polar Express showing at Portland's OMSI  with my younger siblings, followed by a stroll along Peacock Lane (a street filled with adorable Tudor-style homes in Old Portland all decked out in Christmas lights and decor).

The Portland Zoo has a great light show that I've been to a few years with my siblings.

I loved having introvert time as I stroll through my favorite antique shop in Portland, Moticello Antique Marketplace during the holidays because they always had great holiday decor ideas.
I also love caroling the night away on Christmas Eve along with other people from our Romanian church. We go to homes of our congregation and carol in front of their lawns, after which we are invited in the home for homemade snacks and warm drinks. It is a fun time to sing carols and also re-connect with friends. And of course, there is something so heart-warming about having plenty of family time during the holidays, which usually includes delicious Romanian meals.

And probably one of my favorite family holiday memories are the two years we visited the Bavarian town in eastern Washington, Leavenworth, for their Christmas season. See the posts from 2013 (part one , part two, and part three)
Although I will miss those traditions, as well as just simply being with family on Christmas, there is so much sweetness in this season. Greg and I get to make new traditions since we are now a family, and spend our first Christmas together instead of 2,000 miles away from one another. Also, I will be attending several Christmas parties with his extended family in Houston, so I am looking forward to that!

My new home is in San Antonio. It may not be a winter wonderland like the Pacific Northwest can be with it's evergreens and cold winter weather, but the San Antonio still has a lot to offer during the holidays in its own southern style, and I am excited to develop new traditions down here with Greg. Recently, Greg and I took a day trip to Gruene, TX and enjoyed how the small town was decked in holiday cheer. Also, I am also looking forward to seeing the River Walk all bedazzled in thousands upon thousands of lights for the holidays, and hope to make both yearly traditions.
Greg joked that one of our Christmas traditions this year was finding a cute little dwarf tree at our local H-E-B store (the chain supermarket in Texas). We were a little bummed at how small the dwarf trees were, but didn't have enough space in our apartment for a normal-sized tree. We eventually chose one and then bought some ornaments and a few decorations from the nearby Dollar Tree. I left almost all my Christmas decor in Portland during my move, so I was sad we wouldn't have a lot of decor, but I was pleasantly surprised that Dollar Tree had a few good options! As the years pass, I am sure we will add on to our little Christmas decor collection, but for now, we really like our simple decor. It echoes our life season right now of new beginnings. 

Here are some shots of our apartment living room and dining room. 
I bought the beautiful vintage book of carols a few years ago from an antique shop in Portland. 
I bought styrofoam cones and twine at Dollar Tree and wrapped the twine around the cone to make the two "trees", then topped them with bows also from Dollar Tree. The poinsettia and wall hanging were also from Dollar Tree!

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?


  1. I love this! Its my first Christmas as a wife, too, as well as being away from my family. Its definitely a transition. Personally, I love your decor. I find it so inspiring when someone can take any space and truly make it their own, make it a home. As well as bring a little touch of Christmas to it. I hope you have a blessed Christmas and New Year as newlyweds!

  2. Your apartment is so cute! This is our first married Christmas together as well and we are so excited! We honeymooned in Portland and loved every weird second of it! Merry Christmas! (:

  3. I loooove your space! I especially love your small tree. It's so cute and while it may be small, it actually adds a cuteness that a larger tree couldn't. I'm actually falling more and more in love with the idea of a small tree the more I see in the link-up! :)

    And I also love that you shared some Oregon traditions as well as some of the sweeter parts of this Christmas season for you now that you're in Texas. I'm excited to see how your traditions will grow and change as the years go on, too!

    Thanks for linking up and Merry Christmas, friend!

  4. I love your mix of found and hand-made Christmas decorations! Those antique carol books are so cool! I hope you have fun making new traditions with your husband, and get to incorporate some of the things you loved best about your traditions with your family too. It's hard to be so far away from your family I'm sure, but it sounds like you're making the most of it!

  5. yayyy for your first married christmas!!! :D i totally understand the bittersweet thing though--i have 3 younger siblings and it was weird not to wake up and see them get all excited about our gifts we gave each other. also, i was SUPER sick my first christmas married, so that kinda sucked haha. your space looks so cozy and inviting! and maybe you could start the caroling tradition in san antonio!! :)

  6. I love tiny Christmas trees! That's my current married compromise with my husband. He's not really into the work of Christmas trees, but I LOVE them. So we get a small live tree each year. :)

    Making new traditions is fun! This is my second married Christmas. Dan and I started a few traditions last year, like grilling out steak for dinner and having cinnamon rolls with mimosas for breakfast. Since we're spending this Christmas with my dad, my brothers, and my SIL, my husband and I did our own married Christmas this past weekend in our home.

  7. Your trees turned out soo cute!! I love that old book of carols, how fun! Y'all's apartment looks so cute and cozy!


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Elle Alice