Christmas Ninja Warrior

Southwest Florida decided to fizzle out its nice cool weather and bring back heat and humidity, this time with ominous gray clouds that–like the little devil on your shoulder–attempt to make you listen to whispers of “Florida Christmas blows.” 

Fine.  You wanna play that way?  Game on.
I’m like a ninja warrior when it comes to fighting Christmas snuffers.  I’m like Harry Potter blastin’ dementors.  I’m like–okay, Jesus would be too far, right?  My point: I happen to take great pride in the fact that I’ve learned to spark a Christmas fire with wet matches.

Cue vintage Christmas coloring books.



Cue a mid-afternoon cup of hot wassail (also known as, simply, cheer).


Cue Christmas red manicure.

Bracelets from The Shine Project, employing at-risk-teens.  “Be the Change” bangle and Nykelle chain bracelet

And friends.  Good God, I must miss my family because I cannot get enough–warning, I’m breakin’ out an old church wordfellowship.  My sister and I can’t contain our laughter at the presentation of this word now, and I’m not sure why, other than the fact that our old church used to throw the term around a lot.  As in, “Let’s fellowship,” “Time for fellowship,” “Oh, the sweet fellowship of brethren.”   And if you really want to Church Lady it up, you go with the Greek interpretation of this word–Koinonia; except you throw a “dude” in for juxtaposition.  Such as, “Dude, I’m majorly needing some Koinonia.”  Translated: I want company.

And I do.  December calls for it, so I’ve lined up movie nights, an orange grove sunset, lunches and brunches and baby-hugging rendezvous.  I want to be with my people. 



And if all else fails in the heat of December, you pull a “Kids get in the car now!” And you peel out of the driveway with 106.3 Christmas carols blaring. And you don’t even switch the station if it’s that sad “Christmas Shoes” song or Dolly Parton’s “Hard Candy Christmas.” You listen and you drive and you smile and you pull over as soon as you see the first thing that says December Adventure.  And you know you got it right when you land at a giant tent full of Balsam and Douglas and Frasers.  You tell your kids to inhale deep.  “Smell that?” you say.  “That’s what Christmas is supposed to smell like.  That’s what it smells like in Michigan.  Run!  Go have fun!.”






You don’t know how badly I want to write “Two Points for Griffindor” because it would tie in that Harry Potter reference up there so well, but no. I will not go there.  I will not.  Oh, but I did.



We bought a wreath–a really wonderful wreath drenched with the scent of real Christmas–and even though the suction cup I used to hold it to my mirror gave out and the wreath is still lying in a puddle of scrap needles on the floor, it still makes me happy.



Ten days in to this festive little month.  Enjoy your people.



And now comes a fellow Christmas Ninja Warrior, my old friends at Blue Q.  Many of you e-mailed last year that Blue Q helped you scrape up some hilarious stocking stuffers and gifts for hard-to-shop-for friends and family.  Well, they’re back.  Before I introduce my favorite products, let me help you know them.  Blue Q is a Massachusetts based company created by two brothers.  They design and manufacture everything they make, and they do it carefully with much thought toward quality, labor practices, and the environment.  What I love about Blue Q besides their goods?  They employ a workforce of disabled and non-disabled individuals working together to create their product. 

Bags, totes, tins, retro house goods, bath products, lighting–Blue Q has it all.  And a crazy sense of humor that’s infused in their products. 

I get so many comments on our line-up of Blue Q lavoratory mists in our guest bathroom:


Which are not only hilarious, but really pretty to look at.


Other Blue Q gift faves:


Go browse the site. You will leave smiling.

Take that, Christmas snuffers.
Off to watch a Hallmark Christmas movie and pick up my fallen wreath.



Leave a Comment
  1. My house is wrapped in feet of fresh garland this year. We too, don’t get a real Christmas here in California. But it sure smells like it.

  2. Awesome post!

  3. you are a christmas ninja!! today i think i complained about the humid 86 degrees a million times..but onto happy thoughts…cant wait to hang out thursday with our big bellys!! xo

  4. Love the post. We’re freezing up here in Ohio but I can smell the Christmas tree anytime I want. Took some time out with my girl and went to see a Christmas display at our local conservatory. Magical. Love your girls running through the trees.

  5. So I might sound like a big, fat whiner but I actually LIVE in MICHIGAN and we have yet to get any snow. This passed weekend people were blowing up my FB wall with a million posts of snow where they live in Michgan! But here in Kalamazoo it has been balmy and rainy and it just sucks! Bring on the snow Mother Nature or else. On a sidenote, I about lost it when you referenced the word fellowship. It is so churchy but so very fitting. I have been using the word merriment in lieu…Happy freakin merriment!

  6. This is my husbands first Christmas as a daddy, so there’s that… Also, it’s his first year with a REAL tree, and that!!! Every time we walk into the house together I’m like, “Can you smell that?” So pumped to have a little around this year…

  7. goal for the new year: make time to paint my nails.

    go, girl!

  8. I just adore that picture of Nella smiling at Lainey. So beautiful :)

  9. Oh my! 6 pics up from the bottom. What a cute smile caught!!! Adorable!!

  10. such a great post! in every single aspect.

  11. i like you more and more with each post.

    and just 15 days till ISLE OF CAPRI, baby!!!! i can’t wait to photograph the kids on the beach. you make it look so inviting!!!

  12. Loved “fellowship”, Harry Potter references and the “Christmas Shoes song.” A couple friends talked about how good that song was last year and when I listened to it, I thought it was so depressing and always change it now!!

  13. Kelle….
    I “knew” this friend, my former pen-pal, who passed away from Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 19 in 2008. Amber told me about that “Christmas Shoes” song. Every time I hear it, she comes immediately to mind…. 😉

  14. sent a link to you on instagram. I found a Ninjabread cookie kit at walgreens. I think you need some.

  15. I was born and raised in Central Florida. Let me tell you what Christmas smelled like-Salty from the spray of Daytona Beach. After Christmas Eve service, we would take our black patent Mary Jane’s off and run through the sand, chasing the tide making sure not to get our Christmas dresses wet. Spicy-from the Shrimp Creole that my Southern Louisiana MaMa would make for Christmas dinner. Citrus-The mocktails of ginger ale and orange juice with bisquits and gravy for Christmas Morning breakfast after rushing through the presents and seeing that Santa left white foot prints even though there was never any snow.
    We have had the awesome opportunity to live on both coasts, from VA, WA, TX, GA and now, back to TX. Christmas always smells the same with us-it smells like love.

  16. I’ve been so busy making cuffs I have hardly left my studio. I need my people too. Got some major making up to do once my shop closes. Love that you are surrounded with so many. Fellowship is goooood for the soul;)

  17. Nella is the CUTEST. Just seeing pictures of her sweet face is one of the main reasons I follow your blog. My little sister has downs, and 6 years ago suffered major brain damage. She’s no longer the same person she used to be, but seeing pictures of Nella reminds me of her so much. Thank you for sharing little moments of your life.

  18. Ok Kelle…time to give you the truth. Guess what it’s doing in most of Michigan today…raining. The sun hasn’t shown a ray since..well..I don’t know when, and it’s cold. Today, my sitter said that our weather reminds her of home. She’s from London. That’s not good. I saw your pics on IG from the beach last night. You don’t have it that bad, girl. Trust me. Now go bury your face in a real balsam wreath and carry on. XOXO

  19. I love the photo of the girls holding hands!

  20. OMG that damn Christmas Shoes song. It’s such a cheap shot.

  21. Kelle!!! Those pics of Lainey and nella are amazingly beautiful.
    Happiness all over!

  22. I’m having a really hard time with Christmas this year and your posts filled with the traditions you remember are truly heartwarming.

  23. Fellowship is definitely vital – always, but especially at Christmastime. So glad you are enjoying some with friends – the best kind of friends, it seems. A resolution for my new year is expanding my circle for fellowship, as that sometimes takes a back burner to all the other to-dos on my list. Not good. Thanks for continued inspiration and reminders that help me to change perspective and put things in order. And enjoy that wreath!

  24. The funny thing is that even though you think Christmas is “supposed” to smell like fire and fir trees and be filled with rosy cheeks and sledding, one day your kids will think Christmas is supposed to be the beach and the orange groves and barefoot outside after dark! I grew up in FL and now live in the Northeast (and have since I was 17) and I sigh for the days of my Florida Christmases!

  25. Ha! Yes, I live in muggy, humid South Florida as well and fully understand how one can get the Christmas blues. (especially when we just had such a nice bout of cold weather earlier this fall!) I have also cued the red manicure and all of my favorite Christmas tunes 24/7. Good luck making this Christmas special! Enjoy the time with your family and friends. :)

  26. Love the Christmas cheer that you share with all of us. Your girls just keep getting more and more beautiful!! :)

  27. Can you get any more awesome? Apparently! Because now I know you like Harry Potter.

  28. You are funny and inspiring Kelle. I love to see how to include your traditions into your warmer climate and share this with your girls. I am committed to having a jolly sunny Christmas this year. Thanks for sharing x

  29. I love that you threw out the word Koinonia…our “koinonia” group has been together for over 10 years. We have raised our kids together, we have seen each other through EVERYTHING. They are my people!!!
    Good for you to bring your peeps together..

  30. Sigh. Just smiling! And taking some time to soak up the LOVE!

  31. The photo of Lainey leaning down to Nella’s adorable smile is pure gold xo

  32. Merry Christmas time!!!!!!! Love You and the Fam!

    And love love love the pics…

  33. Just magic! And “enjoy your people”…well said….and I’m off to do just that now. WIshing you beautiful days :) x

  34. Did you see the blue Q unicorn tin bank?!! I thought of you and if I was your neighbor I would kick off our friendship with that tin:)

  35. Kelle, the love in your girls eyes, when they look at each other, is priceless. They make me swell with happy tears, I love it! I love that you make the best out of your situation, always, and find every ounce of celebration you can. Keep up the wonderful Christmas spirit!! You have helped me learn what it’s like to truly celebrate the Christmas spririt and make the most out of what you have. :)

  36. My little man, Bennett, loved running around the tree lot this year which made the experience so much better! I love Christmas! And I love your drive to keep the weather from making it disappear! :)

  37. Much like Florida we do not have a white Christmas here in Louisiana but yesterday the temp went from 80 to 30 someting last night. Thank God for Christmas chill at least. Great ideas for keeping it festive.

  38. I so needed this today. I am sat in Accident & Emergency with horrendous stomach cramps just 4 and a half weeks into my pregnancy. This post provided me with a few smiles that I needed x

  39. I would have awarded at least 5 points for Griffindor. :)
    We have had an artificial tree for the last 6 years and I admit I do miss the smell of Christmas in our house. I’m hoping to introduce my girls to that one day. Perhaps next year. Checking out the Shine Project and Blue Q right now!

  40. The obvious adoring bond between Nella and Lainey is so beautiful to see.

  41. Ha. Laughing that they’re skipping through Christmas trees wearing sundresses. Sending some chilly weather your way!

  42. Love the pics of the girls… Happy Holidays Hampton family!

  43. Just so’s ya know, the church we attended when I was a child was called Koinonia Christian Fellowship. I now look back and chuckle at the redundancy.

  44. I’ve been in sunny California for a few days and feel so confused. It doesn’t feel like Christmas when your outside in shorts and a t-shirt tanning. I loved the warmth, but I’m ready to get back to crisp, cool air and hopefully some snow in Utah.

  45. Love the pictures of Nella sleeping in your friend’s arms! So sweet!
    Looks like Sophie is even getting into the Christmas spirit by wearing a red Christmas collar!

  46. Oh goodness…can’t get enough of the girls running through the trees!!! Lainey’s body language is cautious and responsible, and Nella’s is all WOOHOO, here I come all wild and free!

    And FINALLY ordered from Blue Q…the “My Treat” coin purse I’ve wanted FOR.ever. One of my favorite things to do is to surprise my boys with treats after school or on a special one on one date. That coin purse will make memories :) Ordered a few extra for gifts, too :)

  47. That last picture of Lainey just made my day. It looks like Nella’s arm is coming out of the back of her head like a creepy misplaced pony tail. :)

    I ♥ reading your blog!

  48. You go girl! No one hammers Christmas spirit like you.
    I love the pine tree smell. Going to kick the fake tree to the curb next year and get a real one.

  49. Oh my! I have to order that cat butt soap!! Haha!

  50. Love it! “Enjoy your people.” I’ve been thinking about that a lot and need to make it happen!

  51. The pictures of your girls are beautiful! They both look so happy!


  52. freaking. hilarious. turns out a shop down the street sells Blue Q. i’m on it.

  53. I so know how you feel. I grew up in the UK and now live in Australia where it is summer in December. I always feel sad that a lot of the ‘magic’ of the build up to Christmas is lost here. I remember how Xmas tree lights looked to me as a child, but here it doesn’t get dark until the children are already off to bed. The traditional foods are too hot and filling for a scorching summers day and most carols seem really out of place.

    Of course, we have new Aussie traditions to choose from too, eating plum pudding- flavour icecream and white Christmas instead of plum pudding. Platters of seafood and salad and loads of fresh cherries instead of roast turkey, stuffing and spiced oranges. Colourful pavlova instead of mince pies. Instead of going caroling, we go to the beach.

    There are a lot of things to love about an Aussie Christmas, I just wish it didn’t have to replace the UK ones of my childhood, I wish I could have both! Lol

    Because of that I do a kind of hybrid Xmas. I usually do cold meats (roast chicken, slices of baked ham) with salads and still have mince pies and plum pudding truffles. People probably think I’m crazy but this year the girls and I made fake snow to hang in the window next to our tree. Lol.

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  55. I am so excited that I found this blog! One of my best friends has 21 month old twin girls, one with Downs Syndrome, and I can’t wait for her to read your blog. You are an incredible writer, and you and your fabulous friends take beautiful pictures too! I can’t get enough of your PERFECT girls!

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