amo.says

my life in my words

When Christmas Comes To Town

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For the most part, Christmas is a very Merry time for me! Ever since I can remember, Christmas has been a magical day filled with family, friends, presents, and delicious seasonal treats. The days leading up to it are equally wonderful. Life has certainly changed since I left home (almost 7 years ago!), but it’s fun to explore new territory and develop new traditions, while hanging on to some of my old favorites. I know that many of you reading this are already busy spending time with family, but I found myself with some spare time today to create a blog post—which I haven’t done in forever—and thought I’d share some glimpses into my Christmas season this year. So I hope you enjoy them!

 

As you know, I’m a HUGE fan of Christmas—decorations and all! Since it was my first year with space to call my own, I decorated accordingly. I also made sure that we had some sweet Christmas lights glowing from our front yard!

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During the weeks leading up to the holidays, I got to participate in some fun local events:

My Birthday buddy, Maggie, and I celebrated our Birthday with dinner at Red Mill Burgers and a stage play at Taproot Theater.

Had a fun fun Christmas party with our 2Twelve Youth Group!

Got to attend our church's annual Women's Christmas Brunch.  And bonus points cause my table won the game this year! Woot!

Got to attend our church’s annual Women’s Christmas Brunch. And bonus points cause my table won the game this year! Woot!

Enjoyed our office party at The 'Ol 9-to-5, which was especially sweet cause one of my old co-workers is onsite as a temp with us this holiday season while our tech guy is away on vacation. SO great to see him again!

Enjoyed our office party at The ‘Ol 9-to-5, which was especially sweet cause one of my old co-workers is onsite as a temp with us this holiday season while our tech guy is away on vacation. SO great to see him again!

 

The week before Christmas, we held a special event for our Westside Kids, called JINGLE JAM. It was a huge undertaking, with countless hours of volunteer work and administration, but oh baby, it was TOTALLY WORTH IT!! The giggles, sweet memories, and parent/kid testimonies made the event a huge success. Here’s one of my fave pics of us playing a game where the kids built “snowmen” out of  toilet paper, scarves, and (of course) their table leaders:

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On Christmas Eve, I got a big treat—I was able to attend one of our Christmas Eve Candlelight Services. I provided childcare for the 1st and then one of our adult volunteers and a teen volunteer took over for me during the 2nd one. It was sweet and beautiful. One of our Pastors performed special Christmas music with his son’s band, while another Pastor’s wife led the youngsters in a Nativity Story.

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On Christmas morning, I opened my Christmas stockings and enjoyed some of my treats with my tamale breakfast!

So much to enjoy this Christmas morning! Devotions, Tamales for breakfast, Opening stockings, Talking to Anabelle about her visit from Santa, and now off to go Christmas caroling at the Juvenile Detention Center with the #WestsideChurch crew!

So much to enjoy this Christmas morning! Devotions, Tamales for breakfast, Opening stockings, Talking to Anabelle about her visit from Santa, and now off to go Christmas caroling at the Juvenile Detention Center with the #WestsideChurch crew!

I love my stocking stuffers! :D // My fave kettle corn, peppermint chocolates, Jack Skellington socks & NBC bracelets, a youth ministry book, my fave holiday teas, lisa frank erasers, White Squall (a movie I've been wanting to own for years! SO GOOD!), my fave mini crackers

I love my stocking stuffers! 😀 // My fave kettle corn, peppermint chocolates, Jack Skellington socks & NBC bracelets, a youth ministry book, my fave holiday teas, lisa frank erasers, White Squall (a movie I’ve been wanting to own for years! SO GOOD!), my fave mini crackers

 

Then, I went Christmas caroling at the King County Juvenile Detention Center again this year with the crew from Westside Church! It was a great experience to see the difference that simple gifts can make in the life of an incarcerated youth. I’m so thankful that my church creates shoebox gifts for them each year and makes the commitment to see that we are on the scene to sing to the teens!

 

When I got home, I opened the rest of my gifts and enjoyed a tasty lunch with some of my favorite goodies!

WOO HOO!! Santa stopped by my place this year!!

WOO HOO!! Santa stopped by my place this year!!

I even got some AWESOME gifts from my Auntie O back in Austin, plus my family present exchange gift from my cousin's daughter, Sable! It was a beautiful set of handmade earrings and an Old Navy gift card.

I even got some AWESOME gifts from my Auntie O back in Austin (Costa Rican coffee beans!), plus my family present exchange gift from my cousin’s daughter, Sable! It was a beautiful set of handmade earrings and an Old Navy gift card.

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My Christmas presents from Santa: 2 new tops from Rue 21, a new Captain America hoodie from Rue 21, CSI Board Game, CSI mug, Willow Tree “Love of Learning” Figurine, Rue 21 Makeup set, DVDs > Caddyshack II, National Lampoons Vacation Series, Nightmare Before Christmas; And a special book about something I’ll be sharing with ya in 2015! ;D

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Beautiful Christmas presents from friends! Candles, a great book called THE LIGHTLINGS that I think every kid should own, Rudolph mug & stuffed animal, Chocolate, CSI Season 14 DVD, special card w/ photos of some of my Westside Kids, Hobby Lobby + Coffee Date gift card!

 

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Lunch time! Red beans & rice, cornbread, scrumptious macarons (FAVES!), coffee, peppermint marshmallows. Yummo!

 

And after a nice nap, I was up and ready to celebrate Christmas with my housemates! David cooked a delicious spread, and I provided the hot apple cider and bread. It was such a beautiful feast—so good that we gobbled it up without snapping a photo. But I did get a shot of his appetizer—roasted butternut squash with caramelized balsamic drizzle. Holy yum! Then after dinner, we opened gifts and wished David a Merry Christmas as he headed off to work at the hospital. After he left, Lauren and I snuggled up and watched HOME ALONE 2 together on the living room couch. We were cracking up SO much! 

Just so we’re all aware, Bobby Flay lives at my house!

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My housemates got me this super rad shirt for Christmas. I LOVE it!

My housemates got me this super rad shirt for Christmas. I LOVE it!

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Cuddled up & cracking up with Lauren watching Home Alone 2 after a DELICIOUS Christmas dinner made by David!

 

 

All in all, it was a fantastic Christmas! I did miss my family, but I got to talk to them throughout the day, so that was a plus. This was such a great season for me and now I’m off to join Heather’s family for some continued Christmas fun. I hope you and your loved ones had an incredible Christmas season as well!

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Author: Amanda Martinez

I am a mexican chick, born in Germany, raised in Austin, TX, and now currently living in Seattle, WA. I am a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend, a graphic designer, a youth pastor, a comedienne, a songwriter, a screenwriter, and a lover of music, art, people, and the world around me! Join me on the journey as I share with you my thoughts, dreams, passions, and experiences!

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