Suburban Soiree

Crazy for Christmas Challenge: May

Christmas, Crazy for ChristmasAmy WileyComment

Summer is here and it’s time to put on our flip flops and enjoy the outdoors. But first… a teensy bit of Christmas planning to keep us on track.

If you’re new, the Crazy for Christmas Challenge gives you a handful of tasks each 25th of the month to slowly prepare you for a more relaxed, more prepared Christmas season.

Get the challenges the night before they post to the blog AND a free printable each month by email:

Now, for today’s tasks. This month is all about getting a jump on those hard-to-book experiences. The early bird will get the Christmas worm! Let’s get started…

Set the Tone

I love how Beth Moore says mothers set the temperature in the home and not just because we control the thermostat. It’s true, right? Before we dive into putting things on the calendar, we want to make sure we are intentional about what we want the season to feel like for ourselves and our families. This month’s printable is a simple way to keep yourself on track. Take a moment and jot down how you want to feel this Christmas… present? relaxed? energized? festive? unhurried? Make your list and keep it handy in your notebook as you tackle the next step.


Book Holiday Experiences

Over the years my crazy-lady level of planning has led to some unforgettable memories at the holidays, all because I booked early. I’ve learned the hard way, you have to be ON IT for certain things. Today, decide if some of these things would be a fit for your family. (See above!) If you can, go ahead and make a reservation. If you find out reservations aren’t open yet, make a note in your calendar to call as soon as they open up. I shared some of our favorite traditions a couple of years ago in this post. Below is my list of events you should look for in your city. Please note, these are more of the “Santa” side of Christmas than the religious side. Please know I will offer plenty of suggestions for incorporating the true meaning of Christmas as the months progress. The events I talk about today are just the ones that book out early.

Breakfast with Santa

Hotels, museums and event centers often offer a breakfast with Santa. We love the one at The Brown Palace Hotel in Denver. Each year this event makes me just about actually burst with Christmas cheer. Seriously. Everyone wears their holiday best and dances around to live music. It’s so much fun and never fails to put our Christmas spirit levels over the top. Do a little research in your city, and I’m sure you’ll find something similar. These book up fast, so get your reservation if possible. Check out fancy hotels, museums, or even recreation centers to find one near you.


The Polar Express Train Ride

We absolutely love riding The Polar Express and it adds so much Christmas magic to the season. We always splurge for the first class tickets and enjoy every drop of our hot chocolate on the train while the kids wear their pajamas. We’ve boarded the Polar Express both in Durango, CO and Denver. We have a nice collection of Christmas mugs we’ve received on the trains over the years. I’m telling you… it’s darling. Check this list to see if the licensed Polar Express is near you. If not, many cities offer some sort of Santa train. My advice is to go for the “real deal” if it’s nearby.


Local Holiday Attractions

Check out local museums, zoos and botanic gardens for special holiday events. Our botanic garden does a lights event as well as a Santa’s Village. The Denver Zoo does “Zoo Lights.” We have a new Gaylord hotel in our area and I’m going to be checking out their holiday events. These family-friendly activities are worth checking out but often hard to pull off at the last minute due to selling out. Most won’t have tickets available just yet, but find out when they go live so you can write it on your calendar. Then, you’ll have a reminder so you can reserve your preferred date.

Go Shopping

When I say “go” shopping, of course I mean go online and shop in your pajamas! As usual, today you’ll check a few items off your list. Today I’ve rounded up some gifts for ladies and they are all under $50!


For the men in your life, I recently posted a Father’s Day Gift Guide that can do double duty. Grab a gift for Father’s Day and one to stash away for Christmas.

I hope you have a merry weekend! Join us in the Crazy for Christmas Challenge Facebook Group and share your planning.

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Movie Night: Aladdin

Disney, Movie NightAmy WileyComment

Oh, I come from a land, from a faraway place… where the caravan camels roam… where it’s flat and immense and the heat is intense… it’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home!

I’m here to grant your wish for a unique, delicious movie night centered around one of our all-time favorites… Aladdin. We watched the original Disney classic in anticipation of the new live-action version that comes out next week.

We did this movie night years ago when the kids were pretty little and we were excited to do it all over again. It’s been remembered as a favorite over the years and the thing that sticks with them most is that we ate sitting on the floor in our living room. That’s right! We set the coffee table, covered some pillows with black tablecloths to sit on a dined as if we were in Agrabah. This little break from routine is so fun for kids… parents too.

This post contains affiliate links. SHOP THIS MOVIE NIGHT HERE.


I used this sparkly purple tablecloth to set the scene. Aladdin’s lamp and a treasure chest of coins and jewels added a mysterious element to the table.


Mercury glass votives held flickering tealights and these napkins topped each plate. I also splurged on this dress for my daughter!


Eating “on the floor” is just too much fun. You could also use chocolate coins for the “handsome reward.”


All we were missing was the magic carpet.


Dinner was absolutely delicious. I personally love that movie night pushes me to find recipes far outside of what I would normally cook. This night we enjoyed schwarma grilled chicken and vegetables with pitas and yogurt sauce.


I still had the recipes printed out from the last time we did this movie night. You can easily search and find something similar. As for dessert…


How ‘bout a little more baklava???

This was time-consuming, but not difficult to make. My husband and son devoured it. It’s not really my thing, but that’s okay! You can find the baklava recipe here.


This was another memorable evening and now we are all brushed up on Aladdin and ready to enjoy the new version in the theater.


This movie is one I can pretty much recite word-for-word… how about you? Will you see the new one? Happy Friday!


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