Leo’s first Christmas wasn’t ANYTHING that I had expected. However … I quickly realized that sometimes the best moments are those you don’t intentionally plan for …
Christmas has always been a huge part of my families life … every single year we have a specific tradition that we follow religiously. This tradition involves being at home with our ENTIRE family and that was EXACTLY the plan I had in mind for Leo’s very first Christmas … I had the vision of being cozied up in our Kelowna home for the last year with a real tree that was beautifully decorated … all of the grandparents … and stockings hung by the fireplace …
*** This blog has been edited from its original post. ***
Welllll … about a month before Christmas Justin’s family decided that instead of being in Kelowna as planned, they wanted to spend Christmas with Justin’s Grandma in Vancouver which they haven’t done in a few years … at that moment we knew we had to find a way to make it all work … and we TOTALLY respected that … it just meant that my perfectly envisioned Christmas would need a few TWEAKS …
After going back and forth on a few different ideas, we decided that we would have an early Christmas with MY Mom and Dad on the 22nd and 23rd. I was SO worried it wouldn’t feel like Christmas, but Justin was such a sweetheart and we got RIGHT into it! I made a big Christmas dinner on the 22nd (not vegan because Dad REALLY wanted a turkey, so I picked up a small free range chicken from Natures Fare and cooked that with vegan side dishes). After dinner, the 6 of us (Justin, Me, Leo, Mom, Dad and Nacho) cozied up and watched movies. Then on the 23rd, my parents came over and we opened our stockings and the one gift that we decided to stick to this year! It TRULY felt like Christmas morning!! We took our time, lounged, had breakfast, coffee, and chilled out until 5PM … and then just had left overs. We literally stayed in our pj’s all day and had the most amazing quiet time with our small little family!!
Justin and I didn’t do gifts this year because we had SUCH an amazing year with the new baby, new house… and little did I know I was getting a ring a few days later (more of that to come!!). We sponsored 2 families instead, but also DID get 2 beautiful picture books made up for the grandparents, documenting Leo’s first 5 months, pictures of his birth, bringing him home, his baptism and his first trip to Hawaii!! It was SO well received!
On the 24th, woke up early, packed up the family with hot coffee and we drove to Vancouver (on the 28th we drove from Vancouver to the Cariboo so we spent a total of about 22 hours in the vehicle in the course of 7 days but it was AMAZING). Leo was a CHAMP on the road and we loved our time together as a family! We spent Christmas Day and Eve and BOXING day over at grammies (Justin’s grandma), had some great laughs and good meals. We slept in almost every morning, ordered room service and just totally chilled. Every night after grammies, we would get together in our room and have a few night caps and laughed till we cried.
Just a quick side note as most of you know, we have an apartment in Vancouver and it would have been nice to spend the holidays in a familiar place but it was just WAY too small to host everyone. So we threw around a few different ideas like renting a house, looking at Air BNB’s, asking friends and families that we knew would be away, or the option to stay in a hotel!! I of course, wanted Leo’s first Christmas to be special and surrounded by his family, uncles, aunties and grandparents … and wanted us to ALL stay in the same place … so we looked into getting joining rooms at the Opus Hotel. Lucky for Nacho he even got a royalty treatment with their Pampered Pooch service!! … hell it was Christmas for him too!!!
It was so nice staying in Yaletown and being walking distance to everything …. Starbucks, The Cross Decor & Design, and most importantly Justin’s grandma was just around the corner. Oh!!! AND!!! There was a #VanKiss Mistletoe RIGHT outside of La Pentola … this made the perfect photo op for our daily routine kiss (well … ONE of them anyways!!!!) … LOL!!!!
Speaking of La Pentola … this was our go-to spot every morning for breaky and mimosas!!!!! I was SO impressed with them as they were so accommodating … they never once hesitated to modify my breakfast so it was more plant based …
The whole family was so comfy and cozy even though we were staying in a hotel. They made it feel like home for us (the beds were also PHENOMENAL) and we even had a tree in our room!!! It really made me realize that Christmas is what you make of it … and not everything always has to be PERFECT all the time!! It was a breath of fresh air!!!
While it wasn’t the Christmas I had anticipated, it was BETTER than I could have ever expected. Leo’s first Christmas was a HUGE success … and the cherry on top for me you might ask??? JUSTIN PROPOSED!!!! LE SIGH!!!! I already know what you’re thinking … where are the engagement details?!?!?! Don’t worry … the engagement blog is coming soon!!!! I PROMISE!!!! …. Thank you so much to the Opus Hotel for hosting us this holiday season!!
*** Thank you for reading this post. When we originally posted this blog, the focus was more on the Opus hotel and less on Leo’s first Christmas. While we did work with the Opus team to receive a discount, there was no payment or formal contract. We are friends with the folks at Opus and we truly did have an EPIC time during our stay, but after reading some comments from our fans and followers, we couldn’t help but agree with them, that it felt like a sales pitch. This was never our intent, however, a result of a shaky start to the year, me not being as present in editing as I should be, moving too quick, rushing and not thinking clearly about what our readers REALLY want. We apologize for that and never want our readers to feel that they can’t trust us or are coming to the blog for a good heartfelt story, and getting only a hotel review. We also want our readers to know that we have and never will post about a product, service or company unless it is 100% authentic and genuine. We thank our posters for their support and even those for their criticism because both will ultimately push us to succeed here at www.jillianharris.com. ***
Thank you Opus Hotel for sponsoring this post. All comments and opinions are my own.