Have Yourself a Very Merry California Christmas


the blog:

The most wonderful time of the year?

You all know the line, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” and yes, it is the most wonderful time of the year! But that song really needs a second verse that says, “It’s the most hectic time of the year…” Am I right!? Cause that’s real life especially when you’re a mom!

But even when it’s the most hectic time of the year, just like any other busy day in the year, we have to choose to make the time. Our schedules are always pulling us in a million different directions, but we have to make a choice to be present. For us as a family, this time of year gets especially tricky. My husband’s football schedule is in full swing, and it’s almost impossible to get him to ourselves for a full day. But guess what!? We did it! It was hectic and stressful trying to find the time, but we did it. And that’s all that matters. 

This is our third Christmas in LA, and it’s finally starting to feel like a home for the holidays. As cliché as that sounds, it’s true for us. The first year was kind of rough. We put on a happy face and did the best we could, but we were in a new home, in a new city, with two little kids and no family here. We made it work, and it was wonderful – and I’d guess our kids won’t ever remember it as any “less” than other years, but it wasn’t my favorite Christmas. I shared more about our traditions and making our first Cali Christmas special on the blog, so you can check out how we celebrate! 

Last year was better because we felt more settled in and we were sort of used to the lack of cold weather (but not really – even still!), but I can just feel that this year is our year! Year number three is gonna be the best one yet for the Saffolds!

Our Holiday Traditions:

Our holiday traditions kicked off this year with the most important symbol of Christmas cheer – a Christmas tree! We picked out a real Christmas tree, Tina’s Trees for you locals, and it really got the holiday spirit flowing for us! Quick plug (no, this is not sponsored!) for Tina’s Trees. Not only did they have a great selection – there’s seriously something for any family’s home – but they also have an option to flock the tree. So they make it look like there’s snow on it. We got it done and it really just makes it so much more magical! Even though there’s no snow in LA, there is snow in our living room and that’ll work just perfectly for us! A HUGE bonus was that they delivered the tree and after Christmas, they’ll take it out and dispose of it for us! Checking items off of mama’s to-do list, heck yeah!!!  

This is only our second year with a real Christmas tree, and I can say without question, we are a real tree family now! There’s no looking back! Decorating the real, “snowy” tree this year with the kids was extra magical. We have so many special ornaments and though our tree might not be Instagram worthy, there’s no more beautiful tree than one decorated with love by the hands you love! 

After picking out our tree, we headed for The Grove – it’s a big outdoor shopping mall in LA and even though it’s warm out, it was filled with holiday spirit. We took the kids to see Santa, of course, and it was hands down the very best Santa experience either Rodger or I have ever had in our combined 60 years. It was truly magical.

The experience was unforgettable. We went with the VIP package, and I can’t recommend it more. The kids loved it; we loved it. Santa and his elves were incredible. As silly as it sounds, they were really authentic looking and really made the experience feel real and special. Beyond impressed. Bonus: it was less than a 10-minute wait, which you mamas know is basically unheard of when it comes to a Santa visit! Icing on the cake, right?!   

With our package, we got professional photos, videos, and ornaments with Santa – on top of that unforgettable experience. In this video, you can see a part of our incredible experience and the delight on my kids’ faces, so check it out!  

After our visit with Santa, we were able to check off a bunch of our to-dos. We knew we only had that afternoon to get it all done, so it was busy but we made sure to make it special. And all it took was a decision – a decision to make it special and not stressful. And it was special. We were able to take some family photos, get lunch, and even shopped for gifts!

We embraced the chaos of the mall before Christmas, and we had a really wonderful afternoon. We were even able to keep up our family tradition of going to a movie together! We saw “Ralph Breaks the Internet” and it was a hit for the family! The kids loved it, and so did the adults! Definitely recommend it! Sure, not the most Christmas-y of movies but it was perfect for our family. 

The day as a whole was magical. It was the perfect way to start the holiday season. We love holiday traditions at the Saffold house and spending the day together in the holiday spirit is one of our very favorites! A tradition I always look forward to is the Christmas pie we bake for Santa. Yes, we bake a pie, not cookies. A few years back, Aaliyah and I were playing pretend and she informed me that Santa actually prefers pie over cookies. And so, a tradition was born! 

As a mom, I know, I know… our kids say a lot of stuff. It’s easy to let it go in one ear and out the other. And I know I certainly do this more than I’d care to admit. But because I was really tuned in on Aaliyah and her opinion of Santa, we were able to create this really special, and really “us” tradition. And I love it! We all look forward to it and I hope that one day she continues it with her children, too!

My wish for you:

 So in the spirit of the most wonderful time of the year, I wish you and your family the happiest of holidays. Remember that it’s a choice to make time and be present – that’s more important than presents. And, if you haven’t already, I encourage you to establish some holiday traditions of your own. These are the moments that will be cherished throughout their lifetime, and yours, so remember to decide to make the time. It will truly be the best time you’ve ever spent.

Merry Christmas from the Saffold family to yours. 


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