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I love pictures, especially old ones but I’m a terrible photographer which is why 90% of my pictures are taken by one of my talented friends. It’s really strange because I teach visual merchandising and I’ve taken courses in publication layout and design. I KNOW what looks visually appealing yet I can’t make that come across in an image. So I knew attempting 31 holiday pictures as part of my December bucket list challenge would be frustrating. This was the one I didn’t look forward to all month but in an effort to stop chasing my idea of perfection, I went with what I had while trying to have minimal muss and fuss. It actually turned out to be more like a scavenger hunt which was pretty fun though the images are mediocre at best.


My mother LOVES Christmas mugs and these two are some of my favorites because they look like Cody. I wish we could find an image of Bear but he's a bit of a hodgepodge mix with a gray coloring so the traditional GSD look will have to do for now.



This candle comes from our Christmas Eve service and was used to show all the amazing ways the Lord has worked in our lives during the pandemic. He is always faithful!


Doesn't this look like a set from a movie? It actually reminds me of the scene in "Home Alone 2" where Kevin's mother finds him at Rockefeller Center. This beauty was in front of the courthouse in Columbia, Tennessee.



This stocking is nearly 35 years old and was lovingly made by my mother. Even then she knew I loved sparkles!


This ornament has been on my family Christmas tree my entire life and I've always loved the cameo style because in my young mind it was very historic and romantic. Ha!


This picture is significantly off center because this is Dolly Parton's house and I was incredibly nervous about being captured by security or disturbing her in general. Her house was just as festive and fun as I expected. (Side note: Find yourself some friends that will wander through the dark Tennessee night in search of celebrity homes just for the heck of it.)


There's definitely a convenience to shopping malls and window shopping isn't usually my thing but at Christmas something feels lost about that tradition. However, there are still quaint little towns all over that have the ambiance you desire and this window with it's beautiful nativity display was one of the many I found on my Christmas getaway.


What could be better than an impromptu Christmas parade? Actually, it was just a firetruck with a snow machine and Santa which is the best part of any parade in my opinion. This was in downtown Franklin, Tennessee and doesn't it look like something out of "It's a Wonderful Life"? So stinking adorable!


I love handwritten cards. There is something so personal and sweet about knowing someone took the time to think of you and write out a message. Like many of our traditions, the Victorians gave us Christmas cards because postage was cheap and it was a great way to stay in touch with loved ones near and far at a time of year when you seem to miss them most. This cute card was given to me by a sweet student who took time to say some very kind and generous words to me and let me tell you, in the midst of 2020 teaching, I needed this reminder.

Gift Wrap

My family and I have very different wrapping styles. My parents have always been big fans of using as many different types of paper as possible. Like, up until this year, we haven't had a "child" in the family for well over a decade and yet we definitely still have paper that includes Santa, Scooby Doo and the Looney Toons. I on the other hand LOVE plaid paper. There's something so old-fashioned and vintagey about it and my love overflows to my classroom. The tag on my door offers my kids some loving holiday wisdom..."If you don't have Christmas in your heart, you will never find it under the tree".


My hall at school has tried to be fun and festive all year long in an effort to boost student morale and to keep our own sanity. We’ve done game day pep rallies, crazy costumes for Homecoming, TP’d ourselves and put up the tackiest Christmas decor we could find. This beautiful tree is part of that and includes Suzie.


My high school classroom has several weird mascots which work perfectly because teenagers are inherently strange and they love them. Suzie was once a "glamorous" beauty school head that had her hair shaved a la G.I. Jane and was then lovingly turned mangy by some teenage miscreants who gave her a few bald patches and one very colorful yet anatomically inaccurate tattoo. She takes part in all kinds of classroom rituals including the holidays.


These items are part of my December Bucket List and something I've always wanted to try. You can read my opinions on these British classics in that post.

Silent Night

This ornament is a recreation of an ornament we have from my great-grandmother that is affectionally called the "Silent Night" ball. Obviously, that ornament is very old and very precious to us but with two German Shepherds and a couple of curious cats, we no longer feel safe putting it on the tree so when I found this modern set I had to purchases it!


Is there anything better that chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven?


I hate selfies. Hate. Them. But I love Christmas lights so I tried to balance out the negative with something fun and sparkledy.


Favorite Present

I love all the gifts I received but this one was truly a surprise and something I would never have thought to ask for in the first place. If you've never seen "Designing Women" then this probably makes no sense but for those who know Suzanne Sugarbaker, then you know she was proudly Miss Georgia World 1976 and I consider this to be one of my first forays into the pageant world. My love of crowns and hair pieces can definitely be blamed on Suzanne!


Did I bring my own Christmas lights to a Christmas light event to decorate the car and take fun pictures? Yes, yes I did!


This was a huge display as part of the Franktown Lights and I believe it is a very appropriate message for this year.


I swear I spend more time in my classroom than in my home so to make the holidays a little more enjoyable during the work week I try to create a little ambiance in my classroom. After a decade plus in education, I’ve decided you can make anything out of cardboard. (Doesn't everyone have Newt Scamander and the Southern Miss Baseball team hanging above their hearth?)

Winter Sky

South Mississippi "winter skies" don't look like what you imagine but they are still beautiful.



This is Percy... my parents' huge Ragdoll cat who's about as useful as an actual rag doll but with more attitude. He enjoys sleeping in the shadows of walkways so you can trip over him at unexpected times and he's the best friend of their younger German Shepherd, Bear. He hates me because I tend to hold him upside down like a baby but who could blame me?


This goes back to the wonder and nostalgia of Christmas window displays. It's just so sentimental and timeless.


Some recipes live in tradition and lore for family get togethers and for our crew Rice Consomme is definitely one of those items. While we all enjoy this dish, my brother would be personally offended if the holiday season came and went without this greasy, starchy delicious concoction.


Holiday Movie Favorites

I could watch Christmas movies year round and these four are some of my favorites!


Holiday memories are the best. I remember the traditions that are so part of our family like the Christmas Eve service or big colored bulbs on the tree and the funny memories like Daddy adding chicken wings to the gumbo one year and the time Santa didn't get to eat his cookies because a sweet pupper beat him to it. This year I've added a girls road trip and celebrity house hunting to my memories.

If I'm honest, this photo challenge has made me even more impressed by my friends who easily take pictures that are lovely and visual appealing. I'm glad I challenged myself but I'm also glad that it's over. I don't see my ability or effort at documenting my life in photographs changing anytime soon.


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