Holiday Traditions

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There’s nothing better over the holidays than the feeling of nostalgia you get as that smell - the one you’ve been smelling come late December since you were knee high to a grasshopper - floats out of the kitchen and fills the house up with its homemade, one of a kind, take-you-right-back, deliciousness. Whether it’s baking grandma’s traditional gingersnap cookies, or playing that weird, battered 60s parlor game they don’t sell in stores anymore till 3 in the morning with the entire extended family; traditions never fail to give us the warm and fuzzies. And what better time to start your own traditions than the first holiday of an engagement or marriage? So for all the new lovebirds out there, here are some of our favorite traditions, and a few suggestions to get you going with some of your own:

Caroling – Grab your spouse, your friends, their friends, your parents, your pups; fill up some thermoses with eggnog, hot toddies, cocoa; leave your self-consciousness at home and treat your neighbors to some old-school cheer! We think this tradition is due for a well-deserved resurgence and are more than willing to lead the charge!

Cookie baking and decorating party – Gather some loved ones together, put Michael Buble on the stereo, mulled wine on the stove, and let your creative juices flow with gumdrops and sprinkles. Even better? When you’re done decorating you can pop the goodies in pretty little bags and spread the merriment around your neighborhood or, even better, the local fire station or police headquarters – those folks work hard to keep our holidays safe and merry!

Christmas Tree Campout – Make a pallet on the living room floor, turn off all the lights except the Christmas lights, cue up a couple of your favorite holiday movies on Netflix, stock up on festive snacks, exchange cute new holiday PJs for each other, and spend the night cozying up with your own Mr/Mrs Claus.

And now for what our loving mothers would consider a "real treat..." - a few holiday pictures from our youth and favorite traditions of our own! 

Chelsey’s TraditionJustin and I are both fortunate enough to have families close by.  That means a lot of bouncing around from house to house, though, so our Christmases are often a whirlwind!  Christmas Eve we attend an early church service with his family, and often times the 11pm candlelight service with my family (one of my favorite things!).  Christmas Day we open presents with both families, and a group of family friends, among lots of food and drink.  My dad's famous sauerkraut balls always make a brief appearance before they're gobbled up.  But my favorite part of Christmas is coming home late Christmas Day with my hubby, snuggling with our hound dogs, popping some bubbly, and opening presents just the two of us.  If you can manage to sneak away, I highly recommend having a time like this for just you and your sweetheart on Christmas!

Kat’s Tradition – It just isn't Christmas without our traditional Christmas Eve dinner with our dear family & friends. We have shrimp parmesan (with a super, top-secret Italian gravy recipe), oyster stew and vino, of course! After all of the hustle and bustle, my husband and I come home, watch a Christmas movie and exchange ornament gifts to be hung on the tree. We have a new niece and nephew to spoil this year, so I'm sure this year's Christmas morning will take on a life of its' own! While old traditions are wonderful, I encourage you and your loved ones to embrace new traditions. It will bring tons of Christmas cheer for years to come!

Fay’s Tradition – Because I live so far away from my family now, my most cherished tradition is the Christmas Day Transatlantic Skype Session (yes; you have to call it by its full name). From my in-laws house full of his family I video chat with my whole family back home. It’s usually pretty emotional for me, especially talking to my little niece and nephew, but soon turns into a hilarious game of “let’s see how many people we can fit in the frame at once while maintaining a coherent conversation” – it’s not many, if you’ve never tried!

We hope you've enjoyed our traditions and plan to create some of your own this season. Happy Holidays from the Gather Together family to you and yours! 

Til we Gather Together again,

-Fay

Real Wedding: Jackie & Jon

It is a heart-filling moment when you see a couple's wedding day reflect them perfectly.  We loved watching Jackie & Jon's unique ideas unfold and personalities come through during the planning process. You may have seen their beautiful day featured on the Southern Bride & Groom blog a few weeks back, but we couldn't resist sharing all the goodness here too. Riley MacLean Photography captured their wedding at Rock Quarry Farm and these images are nothing short of breath-taking. Enjoy! 

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It was definitely a party to remember thanks to many amazing vendors! 

Venue: Rock Quarry Farm  |  Caterer: BoxCarr Farms  |  Desserts: The Cupcake Bar  |  Donuts: Monuts  |  Photography: Riley MacLean  |  Florist: Watered Garden Florist  |  Rentals: Party Reflections  |  Linens & Tableware: CE Rental  |  Lighting: Get Lit Special Event Lighting  |  Decor: ThemeWorks  |  Pre-Ceremony Music: Thornhill/Parker Duo  |  Ceremony & Reception Music: SPIN  |  Transportation: Greenway Transit  |  Hair Stylist: Syd's Hair Shop

Til we Gather Together again,

-Fay

Giving Thanks

As we hurtle towards the holidays I thought I’d take a moment to sit down with the ladies behind the curtains of Gather Together to talk about what makes Thanksgiving so special to them.


What’s your favorite Thanksgiving memory?

Chelsey: I can't think of a favorite, because Thanksgiving is always so much fun. I just love having a house full of great people and great food! In addition to our large family, we usually have a handful of friends - the more, the merrier.

Kat: We always hosted family at my parents' home and one year mom & dad forgot to turn on the oven! The turkey was our final course, but we all laughed and snacked on side throughout the afternoon. It ended up being a ton of fun and we had a funny story in the end.

Which dish can you not live without on your Thanksgiving table?

Chelsey: My dad makes sauerkraut balls: sauerkraut, sausage, cream cheese, breaded and fried. They are so addictive! Also, it wouldn't be a gathering of my family without wine and charcuterie.

Kat: This is a toss up between my momma's mashed potatoes and my sister's pumpkin pie! 

Do you and your family have any interesting/unique Thanksgiving traditions?

Chelsey: Before the blessing, we say what we are each thankful for. It might not be very unique, but is always so reflective and emotional, and puts everything in perspective.

Kat: We always watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade while we cook. It's not Thanksgiving without the Rockettes high-kicking in front of Macy's or seeing Santa Claus bring up the rear of the parade. 

Will you be watching football? Who will you be cheering for?

Chelsey: There is a football game on Thanksgiving?

Kat: Go Seahawks! 

What’s something that you are thankful for this year?

Chelsey: I am thankful for my rockstar team!  That includes my amazing Gather Together girls, as well as my wonderful hubby and supportive family and friends. I am so lucky to have them all in my life.

Kat: I am thankful for my growing family. I gained a husband, my in-laws, a nephew and a niece this year! 


From all of us at Gather Together – We wish every one of you dear readers a holiday chock-full of love, graciousness, reflection and laughter (and elastic waist pants).

Happy Thanksgiving! Til we Gather Together again,

-Fay