It's the most wonderful time...

Me, ~age 5, rattling off my very extensive Christmas list to "Santa" at one of my dad's office parties

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday.  Growing up, I would anticipate the day so much that one year, I actually cried when it was over.  Aside from the lure of presents, I've always had a fascination with Christmas lights and the way they seem to instantly conjure a feeling of warmth and joy.  I was so excited to finally have a home of my own to decorate this year -- Alex will tell you that I often asked him to "turn on the joy," aka the pre-lit Christmas tree, whenever we were at home.  Now that it's January, it's time for the decorations to come down.  I wanted to share them with you one last time before I started boxing them up.

Perhaps the best part of our Christmas decorations is that other than a few extension cords and switches, we didn't have to buy a thing this year.  With my persuasion, Alex had invested in a few decorations the first year we were dating (pre-lit tree, some cheap ornaments, garlands, lights, and a tree skirt).  We were also especially blessed to have been given quite a few ornaments at a wedding shower a little over a year ago.  With all of that plus some childhood ornaments our parents passed along to us and a few other gifts, we were all set.

The tree was an eclectic mix of meaningful ornaments - some beautiful, some fun, some embarrassing...

In the beautiful category, my mom made this ornament for us last year with one of our favorite engagement photos.

Alex had bought a large container of cheap red ball ornaments for the tree the first year he put it up.  Since we had been given so many ornaments for the tree, I decided to reuse the ball ornaments as vase fillers to give the apartment a more festive feel.

More ornaments in the dining room...

..and on the bar in the kitchen.

And lastly, we got our very own Christmas stockings as a wedding gift from my Aunt Linda.  She made these from my grandmother's pattern primarily out of velvet.  They're the perfect reminder of the joy of Christmases past as they look just like my stocking growing up.

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season...only 353 days until Christmas!