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The holiday are in full swing and Christmas is just days away. This time of year can be filled with joy and excitement (biggest congratulations to our newly engaged gals) and it can also be bursting with activities, events and a seemingly never-ending to-do list. Whether you’re all-the-hearts over your new diamond or trying to knock out wedding to-dos in-between wrapping presents and sealing envelopes, it’s easy to get caught up in the busy and forget to carve out time to focus on what matters most. So let’s all agree to put down the to-do lists, throw those last presents in gift bags and take some time to embrace the holidays.

Big hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor Justin Demutiis for all these festive photos!

Here are a few personally tested ways to embrace the holidays and add a little extra festive love into your most important relationships:

1. Two words: Hot chocolate. Whether you’re a devout coffee drinker or an extra whip cream kind of gal (yes, please), the thought of taking time to actually sit and enjoy a hot holiday beverage for even a few minute without trying to cross off another to-do sounds dreamy. This doesn’t have to be an all day affair. Sneak away from your family for a half hour and drive to Starbucks or duck out after dinner one night or for any early-morning breakfast date. The important thing is not when but making an effort to carve out some intention time to be still.

2. Take advantage of any planned travel to enjoy a little extra holiday-inspired quality time. The SW gals are all professional road trippers: check out our expert tips. For travel over the holidays, take things up a notch and pack some gingerbread cookies, make a holiday playlist or prep holiday-themed “20-questions” (think: favorite childhood toy, best memory, worst holiday outfit, etc.).

3. Recreate a childhood holiday tradition. For me, it’s new pajamas on Christmas Eve and watching the Santa Clause (my most favorite holiday movie). Doing this with KPW puts me in the holiday spirit and force me to reset, so we’ve been known to do this on nights other than Christmas Eve utilizing last year’s festive jams.

4. Take listening to holiday music to a new level with your own version of Christmas Karaoke. While I’m a strict ‘no-holiday music’ until after I’ve eaten Thanksgiving dinner gal, all bets are off once the turkey leftovers are put away until the confetti falls on NYE. Pull out your parent’s old holiday records or blast the (retro?) N’Sync Christmas album. Don’t just play the music in the background–channel your inner Mariah Carey and belt out the songs! Dancing along is recommended and participation by all parties is highly encouraged. Let your hair down and turn the music up.

5. Go hunt holiday lights! Wedding bouquets are to weddings as Christmas lights are to Christmas. Twinkly lights might be around more than just during December, but there’s something extra special about the holiday lights when you add candles in the windows and wreaths on the doors (bonus points for holiday inflatables). Put on your cozy clothes and pile into the car or throw on your tennis shoes and a scarf (assuming you don’t live in FL) and go on a search for Christmas lights around your neighborhood or city (hand holding encouraged). I’m betting just getting away for a few minutes will clear your head and have you humming a Christmas song in no time.

It’s amazing what a little intentional holiday reset will do for my spirits and how (with just a little effort) it will refocus me on what ultimately matters. Remember, there’s nothing magical about December 25, so bring on the Christmas pajamas and hot chocolate as long at the tree’s still up and you’re still humming a little “12 Days of Christmas”. Merry Christmas, y’all!

PS: I’m sure y’all are bursting with other great ways to embrace the holidays. Share them below!! xo.

kristin Written with love by Kristin
1 Comment
  1. avatar Kelly reply

    Oh I love these posts! Wonderful ideas to reset, be still, and enjoy these last few days before Christmas. :)

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For some people, November 1 is an invitation to break out the Christmas decoration boxes and hang the mistletoe.

I am not one of those people.

I think every holiday should have its due, and that it’s practically a crime to breeze right past Thanksgiving, which is one of the loveliest holidays of all! But there is one holiday hustle I can get behind, and that’s planning ahead for Christmas cards. On that note, today we’ve teamed up with Dixie Design to offer a few tips for getting your Christmas cards done beautifully and out the door on time! (And their designs are so sweet and Southern – can’t wait for you to see!)

1. Choose a photo. If you got married in the last year, your decision is probably an easy one: you’ll obviously be using a photo from your wedding! (It felt like a huge rite of passage for me!) On second thought, sifting through all of your beautiful wedding photos and choosing just one could be challenging, indeed…

2. Take a new photo, if necessary. If a wedding photo isn’t an option and there isn’t a photo you love from the past year, consider hiring a photographer. Many pros offer “mini sessions” in the fall for exactly this purpose: usually 15-20 minutes, where you receive 10-20 photos, for $150-$400. (Following your favorite photographer’s social accounts or subscribing to her newsletter are great ways to stay in the loop about sign-ups.) “If you have time in advance,” says Jennifer from Dixie Design, “it’s nice to find a card you love before having your photo taken. That way, you’ll know the appropriate orientation (vertical or horizontal) and the colors you may need to wear to coordinate well with the card’s design.”

3. Gather your list of loved ones. “Your wedding address list is a great starting point for gathering holiday card addresses,” says Jennifer. “You can cut and paste those addresses into a separate document, and then you’ll have your card list ready for next year, too — and it will be simple to make changes to addresses and add new addresses along the way.” We’ve also found Postable to be a great solution if you like to keep an online address book, or our friend Emily Ley’s version if you’re more of a pen and paper gal.

4. Select your card design. The fun part! Spend time uploading your photo into several different cards – “remember, you may love your photo and you may love a certain card, but the two together simply might not work,” says Jennifer. Christmas cards are practically a collaged piece of artwork for the month of December at my house – like little paper jewels! – so don’t be afraid to have fun with special details. From Jennifer: “We think our holiday cards feel special because we strive to provide our customers with designs that look like they were custom-made for them, with details like hand lettered and calligraphed messages, illustrated and painted designs, monograms, and high-end paper.” Aim to place your card order no later than December 1, but ideally around November 15. And remember, especially if you’ve moved in the past year, it’s better to be ahead of the curve with your card so your loved ones can adjust their address books!

5. Stuff, stamp, and send. With your cards in hand in plenty of time, you’ll have a week or two to address them at your leisure, ideally beside a Christmas tree, with hot chocolate in hand, and your favorite Christmas songs on the radio :) We think a hand-written note, even if brief, on each one is a lovely touch. Same for hand-written addresses on the envelopes. Enlist your new husband to help with the sealing and stamping part! A seasonally-colored strip of washi tape on the back flap or a modern holiday stamp (like the ones from our friend Lindsay Letters) add a little extra zip.

All of Dixie Design’s holiday cards are fully customizable on their website — you can upload your photo, view it inside potential cards, and personalize your message, all right there on their site! We’re big fans of their sweet illustrations, happy colors, and darling Southern aesthetic, and know they have just the design you’re looking for for your first Christmas card as a Southern newlywed! See them all right here.

P.S. Tips for writing a Christmas letter.

This post is brought to you by Dixie Design. Thank you so much for your support of the brands that make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Beautiful Life Wedding Video and Photography reply

    Nice Tip… thanks for sharing!

  2. avatar brianne munz reply

    This is so useful and such good timing! Ive now got it on my calendar to order these. Thanks for keeping me on schedule. I love Christmas cards so much and I feel like they get over looked these days. Its the little things. #maytraditionliveon

    p.s. Dixie Design is SO CUTE. 100% using them.

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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Twelve years ago this coming Saturday, I went on my first “official” date with my now-husband. Our date planned for the previous week was canceled thanks to a dreadful case of strep throat on my part, which derailed our plans to go to the State Fair for ham biscuits, cotton candy, and a ride on the Ferris wheel. Little did I know that dinner at Chili’s and trip to a haunted house would lead to our forever. I wouldn’t change a thing, but before that first date, there is something I wish I had known…

Photo by Gina Zeidler

Actually, I’m fairly confident I could list out 100 different things, maybe more. But one immediately rises to the top of my list: I wish I had known that our love story would become a one-of-a-kind work of art. Not a Rembrandt or a da Vinci, but an impressionistic finger painting – one that doesn’t look like much until you take a few giant steps back so that you can see the whole picture. Each twist, turn, joy, sorrow, and celebration was just one more glob of paint necessary to create our love story masterpiece.

It’s no secret that life is messy and doesn’t always go as planned, and Kyle and I have had our fair share of “messy” over the last twelve years. Yet I’m still a hopeless romantic and a sucker for a cheesy rom-com flick, and it’s easy for me to fall victim to the belief that ‘good things’ follow a specific formula, and therefore should fall into place like a connect-the-dots game. I also think it’s easy to wish for or even actively try to create a picture that looks an awful lot like someone else’s (which is never a good idea).

For those of y’all out there in a new relationship that down the road might be a forever-kind-of love, I hope with all of my heart that you’ll grab a paint brush and get messy. Make your own priceless piece of art. All cheekiness aside, I wasted a lot less energy in the first years of our dating being overly concerned with creating a perfect picture instead of wiling embracing a messy (future) masterpiece. Four years into marriage, this concept still rings so true. [Insert lack of Pinterest-perfect home décor or holiday celebrations (God bless football games ON Thanksgiving).] Fighting for my very own masterpiece still, brown sofas included.

My number two thing I wish I had known would be that KPW is a bit of a thermostat monster (ha). I would have invested in a few more sweatshirts and perhaps a blanket for our car trips and evenings spent watching TV on the sofa ;)

I’d love to hear what ONE thing (although I know there are many) you wish you would have known before you went on your first date with your forever plus one? I’m sure we can all learn a lot from one another. Leave a comment below!

PS: This sweet little corner of the Southern Weddings blog is a place where I get to chat all things marriage. I would love to hear from y’all. What topics to you want to discuss? Any questions or things you would love a different perspective on?  Don’t be shy. Send me an email:  or leave a comment below.

kristin Written with love by Kristin

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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