holding appetizers on white plate

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Just a few holiday highlights from my first time hosting Christmas at the UDH!

If you were ever curious about if I’d accidentally burn my house down hosting Christmas, this post has your answer. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, start here and catch up (read onward from that post), or just guess from the somewhat obvious context.

presents in a pile under the tree

But regardless, here were are: my first time hosting Christmas. You guys would know more than most how satisfying it must have been checking this off of my goals list. Considering how much renovation has been done to this house (and still needs to be done), I sure was happy to see people enjoying a home I’ve worked so hard on! Despite the chaos, I’m happy to report that there were zero fires where they weren’t supposed to be (just the one was in the fireplace, *coos* like a good little fire).

Everyone coming inside with presents

There was also dog poo on my floor at one point. I suppose that’s what happens when you invite a family that has six dogs between us. (This post has a lot of dog photos… thankfully no pics of poop.)

Dogs everywhere you turn

And the fur… my god, the fur that flew! I am pretty sure we vacuumed before everyone showed up, but there was no evidence of that after the first hour.

Lemon - scaredy cat

Just in case you don’t know these puppers, let’s recap:

Charlie + Stella

Charlie is mine; Stella is K’s (if you haven’t been here in ages, he’s the not-so-new boyfriend and his dog is the cutest little mini dachshund… with attitude).

Charlie on Christmas stairs - black and white staircase

Stella at Christmas


Buddy is Mom and Dad’s dog… aka, the Pooping Menace (thus the dog shaming). I love him dearly, even though he’s kind of an asshole for being a guest in my home and pooping on my floor in response. C’mon Buddy, my decorating isn’t that bad.


Lemon, Lana… and Dobby!

My sister is a foster mom failure… she just hasn’t quite figured out that whole giving-them-back part of being a foster. Lemon and Lana are sisters (Lemon = red, Lana = black) and have wildly different personalities (Lemon will hide and run away, while Lana will get right in your face). Dobby is a brand new lil’ man and he is so gangly and such a ham for photos!

dogs make everything crowded


Ok, so that’s all the doggos, and my goodness, what a crazy first hour that was. Everyone went in and out the doors to grab presents, bring the dogs in, take off coats, find a place to sit, clean up poo, stuff our faces with appetizers (not in that order, but after washing our hands), hugs, etc. Possibly the funniest part was that I had just finished touching up the scratches on the black and white staircase that morning!

touching up scratches on stairs

I’m brilliant with my timing, I tell ya.

Chaos walking in the door to the house

K decided on steak for our dinner, so he took over cooking while I entertained in the living room. He’s in pursuit of the perfect peppercorn sauce recipe, so be on the lookout for that post coming to the recipe section soon!

kitchen steaks

After the first bit of chaos, we settled in to watch movies and simply catch up. Anyone recognize this movie??

crowded living room

Also? THIS CHEESE. It’s my favorite, and I am just going to tell you that I am automatically an authority on cheese by virtue of Wisconsin birthright, so you should listen to me on this. It’s called Humbolt Fog by Cypress Grove, so pick some up and try it for yourself. This is not a sponsor, and the stuff isn’t even from Wisconsin, so it’s not a state pride thing — I just stuff this cheese into my mouth with reckless abandon and advocate that others do the same.

Hobolt Fog Cheese

my first year hosting Christmas dinner


Mom asked me to take pictures of everyone with my “nice camera”, but I didn’t set up any extra lighting. In hindsight, I wish I had. In front of the tree was definitely the best spot, but facing a light source and photographing people is a bit different than fixed objects!. Still, I’m glad I got a couple of pics. K and I had to wait until later in the evening because we were running around so much. My sister and her BF are extremely photogenic, aren’t they?

emily and brock christmas 2017

Mom and Dad and the Pooping Menace (Buddy).

Mom and Dad Christmas 2017

We all had a really great time. Mostly retelling funny stories, missing loved ones, and making each other laugh. And, obviously, never sitting still long enough to photograph. (Goal for 2018: learn how to take better photos of moving targets.)

everyone making each other laugh

plants on coffee table

And as you can see, making a giant mess! We passed out presents, ate a wonderful dinner, and then dispersed as the dogs tired out. When they all started to fall asleep (Charlie gets these adorable droopy ears and eyes), we knew it was time to say goodbye.

me trying to sort gifts

My first time hosting was cozy, frantic, and fun. I am so glad I got to show off the house this year!

me decorating the Christmas tree

Did any of you host this year? How did it go?

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  1. The movie: The Holiday… one of my favs. I’m glad you got to host and show off your home. :)

  2. Happy New Year Sarah! I did not realize you were from Wisconsin, my dad was born and raised in Appleton so I too take my cheese seriously. I loved reading your story and seeing all the pictures of the doggos! Hope you and your family had a great time!

    1. Thanks Samantha! Yeah, my parents are from WI too and that’s where they met. My sister is the only “southerner” in the family, but she likes cheese and everything Wisconsin far more than I do!

  3. So late to this post I missed it in the holiday blur, but I loved hearing about your Christmas hosting! The hubs and I are hosting for this first time this coming December, and I am a little overwhelmed by the menu because I want to branch out a do something a little different from what our parents have done, so we will see! Your tree turned out very pretty! I love it. Also- thats The Holiday playing—so good! :)

    1. If you’re thinking about it this much already, I can only guess that you’re really going to ROCK it! I’m excited that you’re going to be hosting! I felt so grown up to have it at my house (weird, but true!).

      1. Totally understand that feeling—about feeling like an adult with hosting a holiday for the family. Weird, right?! Thanks for the encouragement, I think your journey with this was very inspiring!