Tag Archives: Christmas season

12 Days of Christmas Gifts (2017)

Note, May 2019: Now that I’m blogging again, I thought, DARN I should have written about my 12 Days of Christmas gifts, and LOW AND BEHOLD. I am way more on top of things than I thought I was!  Everything was written out over a year ago, and I just never inserted the pictures. So proud of past me. Too proud. Ah well. As you read, go back in time to January 2018 and pretend you’re reading it then. It will make much more sense, especially considering I did the 12 Days of Christmas Gifts for a SIXTH year in 2018, and I was nine months pregnant. Way more impressive than what I’m gloating about below😂😂😂

Note, December 2020: Hi, I’m back with no excuses except for the fact that I’m annoyed with myself for letting this all go. Again. Like I feel every few years. So, we’ll see if this sticks. I don’t even remember when I originally started writing this post at this point, but I’m guessing it was in 2017 because when I’m back in it now, there aren’t pictures of any of the gifts, which is tell-tale for me thinking, “Sara! Let’s get ahead and write this post so you can share it!” But, well, here we are!!

You guys. This was my fifth year in a row of doing the 12 days of Christmas gifts for Peter. I feel like I should get an award for doing something consistently for five years straight 😂 (Note, 2020: I’m now on my eighth year and it’s officially the longest I’ve ever been ACTUALLY committed to something aside from my marriage and coffee creamer.)

As usual, I swore after last year that I wouldn’t do this again this year, but then once summertime rolls around and I apparently have nothing better to do, I start brainstorming. What can I say, gift giving is my love language. (Note, 2020: Same this year. Same. But I started brainstorming in early October.)

Pete had a big Christmas this year because apparently I was in a very spending giving mood. He claims that he wasn’t expecting the 12 days, and after I grilled him on it, he is either a very good liar, or he really believes me every year after Christmas when I’m like “Ok, that’s the last year for this.”

At the end of November, I was like “Wow! This will be a great year because Peter doesn’t have ANY travel planned for December!” And then obviously on like, December 5, Pete was like “Oh btw I’ll be gone December 12-14 and then again December 17-21.” And I was like NOOOOOOOOOOOOO and had to adjust gifts. So THAT was annoying, but somehow I made it work. Kind of. (Note, 2020: We have now been living in a global pandemic and various states of quarantine with zero travel since March 13, so likely will not have any surprise trips this year.)

Anyways, let’s get straight to it.

(insert image of all of the gifts) (Note, 2020: This is how I can tell that I started this post when I was planning the 12 days still… I left myself a note of what images to include. I’m going to do my best right this minute to find said images (there are some on each of the days), but I thought I’d just share my good intentions so I feel better about myself haha!)

DAY ONE
(December 14)
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If you remember last year, I gave Pete an ornament that had our little family of four on day four, but we didn’t know if Elijah was a girl or boy, so I just had “Baby” written on his part of it. This year, Elijah is here! And we love the little pook.

DAY TWO
(December 15)
🎅🏻🎄

I was originally going to give Peter these guitar hangers and put them in the basement so he could hang up his guitars down there and maybe be inspired to play, but then I found these awesome drumstick pens and thought they’d be better.

I didn’t have any elves helping me this year because my office moved to downtown Green Bay, right across the river from Pete’s office, so I was able to drop off the wrapped gift while he was out. I ended up staying at his office for an hour chatting with his coworkers – it was a nice little Friday.

DAY THREE
(December 16)
🎅🏻🎄🎅🏻

This is one of the first gifts that I got for the 12 days, and I was SO EXCITED about it that I sent a picture of it to about 20 people. Peter doesn’t really grill steaks, but here’s to hoping he’s inspired, amIright??

DAY FOUR
(December 17)
🎅🏻🎄🎅🏻🎄

I mean, you know that I had to include something with Star Wars in here, right? The new Star Wars movie came out during the 12 days, but I just didn’t have a good way of incorporating that release with the gifts. Pete loves these socks though! They have a whole bunch of cool socks if you’re looking for a neat gift!

DAY FIVE
(December 18)
🎅🏻🎄🎅🏻🎄🎅🏻

Originally for day five I wanted to do something to give myself a pat on the back commemorate the fifth year of the 12 days of Christmas gifts, but I ended up not being able to think of a gift that worked. Then I was perusing Uncommon Goods and came across these brain teaser puzzles. Peter is very smart, and loves these things, so it worked perfectly!

Also, Taylor did this for her fiance this year, and when I was telling her what I got Pete for day five, she was like, “Hm, that sounds familiar…” and then when I was wrapping it up, I took a picture of it and we ended up getting the loves of our lives the same gift. So random because it is such a random gift!

DAY SIX
(December 19)
🎅🏻🎄🎅🏻🎄🎅🏻 🎄

I mean, who am I to sway from tradition? Five years of the 12 days; five years of Mountain Dew on day six.

Also, this is where I hit a snag. So, Pete left on day four for a work trip. Knowing he wasn’t going to be home until day seven, I didn’t wrap the Mountain Dew like I usually do, and I changed the note from the original to the one pictured above. I put the note in an envelope made of the wrapping paper.

As he was packing the wrapped gifts in his carry on, I realized that you actually can’t have wrapped presents in your carry on, because they will often get opened by TSA. So, I cried for a minute and then we sadly left gifts five, six, and seven under the tree to open when he got back. You guys. I was SO SAD.

Also, this ended up being a fail (you knew there had to be one in here, didn’t you??) because I made a mental note to buy a six pack of Mountain Dew to put in the fridge for him to find when he got home, and then as I often do with mental notes, it got stored somewhere that I forgot about it. Oops!

DAY SEVEN
(December 20)
🎅🏻🎄🎅🏻🎄🎅🏻 🎄🎅🏻

So, even though Pete got home on day seven, I wanted to pack this because I had changed the rhyme (like day six) to be appropriate with his travels. SO SAD.

This “wash me” bag actually came with three other bags. It was WAY smaller than I thought it was going to be, but still was cute and I thought appropriate. (PS: “Cute” is exactly how Pete likes me to describe his things 😂)

DAY EIGHT
(December 21)
🎅🏻🎄🎅🏻🎄🎅🏻 🎄🎅🏻🎄

Peter Day 8

This one also ended up being kind of a fail. In the beginning of November I texted our babysitter J and was like “Hey, this is WAY in advance, but can you watch the boys on December 21 for a few hours?”

And then the week before day eight, I realized that on December 21 I had my bible study Christmas party that I didn’t want to miss, so I changed the date night to December 22. J was still able to babysit, but when Pete opened the rhyme I was like “Soooooo slight change of plans…” Ah, well. Good intentions at least.

DAY NINE
(December 22)
🎅🏻🎄🎅🏻🎄🎅🏻 🎄🎅🏻🎄🎅🏻

I mean, the rhyme sums this whole thing up. And Pete NEVER has Sour Patch Kids. I think he forgets he likes them.

DAY TEN
(December 23)
🎅🏻🎄🎅🏻🎄🎅🏻 🎄🎅🏻🎄🎅🏻🎄

Ok, this one is kind of a stretch but it made Pete chuckle and he really thought the gift was cool, so it ended up working. Pete loves journals to write down his thoughts and brainstorm and all that kind of fun stuff. I found this one when I was on a layover in Minneapolis on my way to Vegas for my sister Rachel’s 21st birthday party.

Anyways, Game of Thrones is the only show that Pete and I watch together. When I found this journal, I bought it and had to really try to figure out how to get it to work in the twelve days. Again… kind of a stretch… But it made Pete chuckle, so that’s what really counts here!

DAY ELEVEN
(December 24)
🎅🏻🎄🎅🏻🎄🎅🏻 🎄🎅🏻🎄🎅🏻🎄🎅🏻

The first summer we lived in our house, we had some pretty embarrassing things happen, like our neighbors mowing our lawn while we were at work because they thought we were out of town. Anyways, at the end of that blog post, I wrote, “Donations are welcome” in regards to people giving us money for a lawnmower.

(Side note: we gave up on taking care of our own lawn (I say “taking care” VERY loosely here) and now just have a wonderful company take care of it for us. My former boss called me a “yuppie” once, and as I’m typing this I’m like “yeah, we sounds like yuppies.” 😳)

DAY TWELVE
(December 25)
🎅🏻🎄🎅🏻🎄🎅🏻 🎄🎅🏻🎄🎅🏻🎄🎅🏻🎄

Peter Day 12

The big kahuna!! Ugh, I spent too much on Pete. Back in AUGUST when I was like “Oh! Not like I’m going back to work full time with two kids and a husband who travels a lot! I’ll plan twelve days of Christmas gifts for him!” I knew that I wanted day twelve to be a grill. Pete was complaining about our five-year-old grill this summer, and I appreciate eating meat that isn’t charred, so it’s a great investment for both of us.

I texted Pete’s dad and he told me to get him a Weber Spirit and because I’m naive I said “OK!” and then I was like “Oh GREAT” because holy BUCKETS are grills expensive! BUT I sucked it up and because I love my husband and a properly grilled dinner, I got it. Actually, Pete’s mom bought it and kept it at their house until Christmas Day. Pete was very surprised that his wife is so amazing (I mean, why is he still surprised by that??).

SO! There you have it! Year five of the 12 Days of Christmas gifts, and I REALLY swear that I’m not doing it again this year because LIFE.

Need more ideas? Here you go!

12 Days of Christmas 2016
12 Days of Christmas 2015
12 Days of Christmas 2014
12 Days of Christmas 2013

Or, check out my friend edition that I did for B in 2016!

The Romenesko Christmas Letter

Darling family and friends – both near and far,

The time has come to reflect on another amazing year, and as I’m trying to remember what happened in January, the only thing that is coming to mind is that WE’RE HAVING A BABY, making the last part of 2014 super exciting and clearly outweighing the rest of the year.  Suddenly our lives prior to finding out I am pregnant seem more boring than ever.

The year started out as one of the coldest ones in 50 years or something ridiculous like that.  Lucky for me, I was scheduled to be in the southern hemisphere for work during some of the cold snaps, so that was really perfectly planned.  Peter had to stay home and shovel the snow… But he survived and is fine.

In March I went on a mom/sister trip to Disney World to celebrate Taylor’s 21st birthday.  It was so fun and wonderful and WE LOVE DISNEY.

disney collage

Peter went with his dad to California, so everything was fair.  Fairness is really important when fun trips are involved because I have horrible travel envy we like to make sure that we both have equal fun opportunities.

CA collage

At the end of April, we celebrated our second anniversary by spending the weekend in Madison.  It was so wonderful and fun that I didn’t take any pictures.  I had a REALLY bad cold that weekend though, so my NyQuil and Advil Cold and Sinus intake made for a really romantic weekend.

Summer came really quickly, and with that I celebrated my GOLDEN birthday, which fell on a Friday and for the first time in two years I was not traveling for work, so I took the day off and it was just SPLENDID.

Pete treated me to sushi and a cosmo for lunch, and then I went and got an “I LOVE AMERICA” manicure.  Seriously, best decision ever and I will be doing it every year for the rest of eternity.

birthday collage

For my birthday, Peter and I took a vacation to Washington, D.C. and it was SO FUN.  I made a new rule in the Romenesko house that on your golden birthday, you get to choose a vacation.  I think it’s a great idea; Peter is bitter because he already had his golden birthday 10 years ago.  When he asked what our child would do if their golden birthday was when they were 1 or 2, I said that their mom would choose a trip on their behalf.  Again, I thought it was a fabulous idea; Peter was less enthused.

Anyways, we went over the Fourth of July and seriously, I cannot tell you how much I loved it.  I had never been to D.C. before, so I was thrilled to go, especially over the Fourth of July, because I LOVE AMERICA so it was the perfect place to spend the holiday.

We called the trip our “vacation of selfies” because every picture that we have of the two of us from D.C. is a selfie.  Oh well!

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I was feeling very American on the Fourth of July with my Starbucks and “I Love America” manicure.

DC collage

On the Fourth, we sat on the Capitol steps with tens of thousands of other people and watched a fabulous concert called “A Capitol Fourth” that Tom Bergeron hosted.  We also watched the Fourth of July parade which unfortunately was underwhelming.  On the Fourth of July we walked over 10 miles, and to say that I could hardly walk the next day is a sore understatement.  I made a poor shoe decision.

And I just love this picture of Peter.

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Over the summer, Peter got some new responsibilities at work.  Part of those responsibilities include traveling internationally.  In July, we were home at the same time for a total of about 8 days, but they say distance makes the heart grow fonder.  Needless to say, we’ve grown quite fond of each other.  With all of his travels, you’d think that I would be better at staying at home by myself.  Nope.

Fall came, and with that, FINDING OUT WE ARE HAVING A BABY.  The season was consumed with thoughts of our new addition: waiting for the first doctor’s appointment, slowly telling family and friends, and starting to make decisions about colors for the baby’s room (VERY important).

And now it’s December and my favorite time of the year.  We find ourselves thanking God more and more for each other, our families, our friends, and our health.  2014 was a pretty good one!

When we were reflecting on 2014, we were saying to each other that the year was actually kind of uneventful.

I have a really good feeling that all that’s going to change in 2015.

Merry Christmas, my friends.
Peter & Sara

PS: Check out our past Christmas letters here –
Christmas letter 2013
Christmas letter 2012

12 Days of Christmas Gifts (2013)

Christmas is coming!  We’re less than a month away from celebrating the most wonderful time of the year, and I’m already picturing how I’ll decorate my house for the joyous occasion.  I KNOW.  Stop judging me for being so excited for Christmas already.  I get it, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t be excited for the Christmas season all year round.

Anyways.

Two years ago for Christmas, Jenna did this really cool thing that she found on the internet for Mark, where she did “The 12 Days of Christmas Gifts”.  So, for the 12 days leading up to Christmas, she got Mark a little gift.  She also did it last year.  The little gifts coordinate with the number of the day… That sounds confusing…. You’ll get the picture in a minute.

Last year, I decided that I wanted to do the same for Peter.  I am posting this now just in case you think you may want to do it for someone.  It takes a lot of thought to get it all together – well, it did for me anyways.  And then, of course I had to come up with a little rhyme for each day, which added extra stress, but I actually loved every second of it.

Below are the 12 Days of Christmas Gifts that I did for Pete last year.  He really loved finding a little gift every day.  It gave him something fun to look forward to, and he really had no idea what his gifts would be every day!

HUGE thanks to Jenna, B and another friend M who helped brainstorm gifts and rhymes!

Day 1 (December 14): a Dallas Cowboys t-shirt

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Day 1 happened to fall on the day that we were leaving for Dallas to go to the Cowboy/Packer game.  Pete is a die-hard Packer fan, but I thought it would be fun for him to have a Cowboys t-shirt to support his friend that plays on the team.  For this gift, I snuck in the bathroom and put the t-shirt + note on the counter while he was showering.

Day 2 (December 15): a pair of soccer socks

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Day 2 was a bit trickier, as we were waking up in a hotel room and there aren’t many hiding places.  So I put the socks in his suitcase with the little note for him to find later.  Pete had just joined an indoor soccer team, so this gift was super fitting.

Day 3 (December 16): a 3 pack of boxer-briefs

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This was the day we got back from our trip to Dallas, so I put them sticking out of his underwear drawer for him to find when he was unpacking his suitcase.  I put them there right before we left for our trip.  Jenna did the same gift for Mark, and we both used this note.  We were laughing SO HARD when she came up with it!!!  It was especially fitting for Peter because he gets annoyed with me when I call his boxers “undies”.  I can’t help that I think it’s hilarious.

Day 4 (December 17): 4 blueberry muffins

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This one was also a little tricky, because I had no idea how I was going to make it work, since we got back from Dallas really late the night before.  I ended up asking one of my friends who also happens to be one of Pete’s coworkers, to go to the store and get his favorite muffins, and then I scanned the note and had her print it and put the muffins + note on his desk for when he got to work.  He was pretty surprised that I had little elves helping me!

Day 5 (December 18): the Game of Thrones series (books)

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Pete had just started reading the first book, and he REALLY enjoyed it, but he had borrowed the first one from a friend.  How perfect that the series has 5 books!  Credit to B for thinking of this one.  I left the books on Pete’s nightstand before he woke up this morning, since he likes to read before he goes to sleep.

Day 6 (December 19): 6-pack of Mountain Dew

(We couldn’t find the note for this day, must have tossed it.  But I actually kept my brainstorm paper with all the rhymes and gifts, so I still know what the note said 🙂 )

An extra special treat today –
*Six* bottles of Mountain Dew.
Since I’ve never bought them before
It really proves how much I love you!

What can I say.  The man loves his Mountain Dew, and it was an extra special treat that his wife bought it for him.  Left this in the fridge for him to find – shocking, I know.

Day 7 (December 20): $7 worth of scratch-off lottery tickets

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Well THIS ended up being a disaster.  Jenna gave me this idea.  In Illinois, they have a “Lucky 7” lottery ticket.  Well, apparently that doesn’t exist in northern Wisconsin, at least not at the 4 gas stations where I stopped.  And also, I need to say that I’ve never even bought scratch-off lottery tickets (or any lottery tickets) before, so I put $20 in the machine, and learned that you don’t get change back.  So I was mad, and then had to buy all these damn lottery tickets.  I scratched off $13 worth in the gas station parking lot, and of course didn’t win anything, which made me even MADDER.  Pete’s ended up not winning either, but I was just so MAD about the whole affair.

I put the lottery tickets in his wallet one morning before he left for work.

Day 8 (December 21): a date night!

(Couldn’t find the note for this one either.)

Time for a date!
Dinner and the Botanical Gardens at *8*!

This one was super cute and fun, probably because I could reap the benefits as well haha.  For this one, Pete and I went to dinner and a movie – Saving Mr. Banks (Thanks A for remembering!!) – but definitely didn’t wait until 8:00 to see it…  That’s way to late for us haha but I needed a rhyme!!  In Green Bay, the Botanical Gardens have a really pretty Christmas/winter wonderland light display set up, and I love going every year.  It is soooo Christmas-y and wonderful!

Day 9 (December 22): a Packers hat

So… This one doesn’t correspond with the day (it should have been something with 9…) but if you live in Wisconsin you will remember how ungodly cold it was last winter.  Pete, my brother, my brother-in-law, and my sister’s boyfriend went to the Packers game this day, so the gift was perfect.  I put this gift in his coat pocket for him to find.

Day 10 (December 23): $10 gift card to Culver’s

(Ok, couldn’t find the note for this one either, but honestly I’m impressed that he/we kept most of them!)

Go out to lunch today on me.
*Ten* dollars at Culver’s –
Woohoo!  Lunch fo’ free!”

The man loves Culver’s, and I’m not a huge fan (aside from their custard), so it was another special treat for him.

Day 11 (December 24): 11 Hershey’s kisses

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Girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

Day 12 (CHRISTMAS DAYYYYYYYY FINALLYYYYYYYY!): a new watch

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Pete had been wanting a new watch for a while, so I splurged on the last day of gifts and got him a nice one.  He still wears it every day!

So folks, there you have it!  If you end up doing a 12 days of gifts, share your ideas with me!  I just love hearing them 🙂

And now imagine me whispering Merry Christmas a little early!! 🙂 🙂