The Holiday Spirit

Dec 18, 2015 | By New Darlings

New Darlings - Gap - Christmas Cookies
We have spoken about it before, but when we moved to Arizona a little over two years ago one of the hardest transition periods was the holiday season.  Arizona and New York are different in so many ways.  Some of our regular Christmas traditions like going to see the tree then iceskating in Rockefeller Center, and visiting Hick’s nursery to view and shop for holiday decor, just weren’t doable.  We have brought a few traditions with us to the desert and created some new ones too, which always makes us look forward to this time of year.  This year we partnered with our friends at Gap and Styld-by to share some holiday looks and traditions.  This season decided to do a 12 Days of Christmas with some of our friends to help us get in the holiday spirit.  We haven’t exactly done them in order or everyday for that matter, some of them we’ve doubled up in one night…because let’s be honest….the holiday season can get crazy!! However, we have been slowly checking off some of these festive things to do and places to visit over the last few weeks, which has been really fun.  Here’s a peek at our 12 Days of Christmas list…

New Darlings - Gap - Christmas CookiesNew Darlings - Gap - Christmas CookiesNew Darlings - Gap - Christmas CookiesNew Darlings - Gap - Christmas CookiesNew Darlings - Gap - Christmas CookiesNew Darlings - Gap - Christmas CookiesNew Darlings - Gap - Christmas Cookies
-BAKE COOKIES –  The other day we got together with some friends and baked some holiday cookies.  We dressed in some festive threads (this snowflake sweater is really mens, but so so cozy — love this plaid top too!), followed our friend’s simple sugar cookie recipe (which he later revealed was borrowed from Betty Crocker), and used cookie cutters in the shape of woodland creatures.  They weren’t anything fancy, but we had a lot of laughs in the kitchen and they were pretty tasty too.

-CHECK OUT ALL THE CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD – This was one of our favorite things to do in New York and we’ve found some fun places here in Arizona too.  There are some beautiful homes that go all out this time of year, with coordinated light and music shows and hot cocoa stations.  One house was even playing The Polar Express as part of their Christmas display.

-PLAY CHRISTMAS MUSIC & WRAP GIFTS – It’s fun to make a night out of gift wrapping and throw on some festive tunes in holiday pjs (these printed ones for her and checkered ones for him on our list). Here are some of our favorite holiday albums, too!

-WATCH HOLIDAY MOVIES – This is something we look forward to every year.  Our favorites are definitely Home Alone, A Christmas Carol, The Santa Clause, White Christmas, Its A Wonderful Life, and Elf.

-DONATE TO A CHARITABLE CAUSE/VOLUNTEER – This is something we try to do in some capacity or another each year. This year we were super excited to team up with our friend, Ashley from The Shine Project, for a toy drive here in Arizona. Together with the local community we were able to donate boxes full of toys, blankets and water for the children and families at Frank Elementary school in the valley.  The next day we got to visit the school and chat with the staff.  Their love and dedication for the families were amazing.  It was truly a humbling and touching experience and really reminded us what the holidays are all about.

-GO ICESKATING – This is one we haven’t checked off our list just yet.  We’re hoping to go in the next few days!

-THROW/ATTEND A HOLIDAY PARTY – Last Saturday we through a holiday party at our apartment with some friends in the community and celebrated the season. It was such a great night, full of laughs and good food.  Can’t wait to share some photos from the party!

-MAKE ORNAMENTS – We’re looking forward to a little DIY night, making some Christmas ornaments for our friends’ tree.  We’ve been finding so many great holiday themed DIYs on Pinterest lately.  This star wreath is one of our favorites and looks so simple.

-TAKE FESTIVE PHOTOS & MAKE HOLIDAY CARDS – So glad we did this this year! You can take a peek at our holiday cards here and a fun festive shoot here. 🙂

-ATTEND AN OUTDOOR LIGHT SHOW – We’re looking forward to checking out Zoo Lights and visiting the Desert Botanical Gardens.  We visited the Botanical Gardens the other day on a whim, and it was so pretty! There was one exhibit that had lights extended all the way out to the mountains in Papago park.  We can’t wait to go back and visit it at night when it’s all lit up!

-DECORATE! – Seems obvious right? But decorating our own place is one of our favorite things to do to get in the spirit of the holidays.  Each year we add to our ornament collection and pick up another decor piece or two.  This year we added this cute little village to our living room display.

-GINGERBREAD HOUSES – It can seem a little silly as adults decorating cookie houses with candy, but its a fun way to spend a cozy night at home with a Christmas movie playing in the background. Plus, we love gingerbread so its a win-win.

-PLAY IN THE SNOW – For us in Phoenix, we’d have to take a little trip up North to see snow, but we don’t mind.  Last year right after Christmas we took a drive up to Flagstaff and stayed at The Little America Hotel. It’s a charming little place, with such a pretty light display.  It definitely brought us a winter wonderland feel in Arizona.

New Darlings - Gap - Christmas Cookies
Well there ya have it! We’re looking forward to crossing a few more of these off our list as the holidays get closer.  It’s nice to make each day feel special in some way.  We really can’t believe Christmas is only a week away! What are some of your favorite holiday traditions? Share them with us in the comments below.  We’d love to hear!

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This post was made in partnership with Gap and Styld-by. Thank you for supporting the brands that help support this blog.

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