Prior to this year, I hadn’t sent out Christmas cards for quite some time. For whatever reason, though, I opted to return to tradition this year. Camera and tripod in hand, I threw together some coordinating clothes and marched the family out to a favorite picture spot one really chilly November afternoon. It took awhile, but finally the light, the pose and the smiles came together, resulting in a suitable photo. Oh, but wouldn’t you know that was just the beginning. From there, I needed to design a card, upload and order it and come up with a pithy insert that would give our friends and family a glimpse at what we’ve been up to this year. My grandparents will attest to how long it took me to do just that over Thanksgiving weekend. I can happily report, though, that my mission was accomplished. I think I was able to come up with a fairly creative annual Christmas letter. Today, I’m sharing a peek at it, along with some insider 411.

Here is what our 2014 Christmas letter looks like (minus the number bubbles–those are there for your benefit):Christmas letter | Year in Review | Such the Spot

So, what does it all mean? I’m glad you asked! Here is a section by section breakdown.

1. Fourteen Awesome Things We Did This Year 

This one is fairly self-explanatory, but here is our list:

  1. Swam with a turtleJeff, Jayce and I spotted a green sea turtle while we were snorkeling in Hawaii. Cool, right? We did a lot of other really awesome things in Hawaii, but my ground rule was that we could only include one thing we did in Hawaii on this list.
  2. Protected the nestI’m, of course, referring to the nest of the Arizona Cardinals. I’m sure our neighbors will attest to our cheering enthusiasm :)
  3. Dined on octopusJeff and I had the opportunity to visit our favorite Walt Disney World restaurant, Victoria & Albert’s, over the summer. Octopus was on the menu and it was insanely delicious, believe it or not.
  4. Built bookcasesMy handy husband built me the most beautiful custom bookcases for my office. They were a challenge both to build and install but he came through big time.
  5. Won #ispyhorizonsI never thought I would be able to say that Kris Allen would sing me a song. Oh, but indeed I can.
  6. Ran personal bestsThis one refers strictly to my husband and his ambitious running goals. My most ambitous goal that has has anything to do with running involves running a household, thankyouverymuch.
  7. Spoke Spanish in MadridI wish I could claim ownership of this one, but Kennedy alone ventured to Spain this year.
  8. ShutterbuggedYou had to have guessed that this one has everything to do with me and my snazzy new camera.
  9. Sipped rum from coconutsJeff and I did that during the Social Media on the Sand conference in Turks & Caicos!
  10. Painted perfect stripesDoing so caused me much grief, but I did indeed paint perfect stripes on one wall in my new office.
  11. Caught a game at FenwayWe skipped the peanuts & cracker jacks, but it still counts.
  12. Mutinied against excess In January, my Bible study group tackled an experiment in living with less.
  13. Slept in on black FridayAnd I’ll do it again next year, too.
  14. Drove nails at churchOur new church is renovating a house for use as a new worship center. Jeff and I spent several Saturdays pitching in.

2. Line Graph

This carefully-researched and thoroughly accurate line graph depicts the disparity between the time and money we spent on six different things this year: meals, exercise, travel, electronics, photography and renovations (in that order). The red line signifies money and the green line signifies, well, the greenbacks.

3. Big News

Thus far, the most responded to portion of our Christmas letter is #3, the announcement of the impending arrival of my already so very loved  and cherished first (gulp) grandchild. More on that when I’ve had time to process my thoughts.

4. Best Thing Awards

The best thing we learned – Hebrews 12:2

The best thing we bought – A Blendtec blender

The best thing we quit – DIRECTV

5. By The Numbers

12,67 Euros to by my book. Hint, hint ;)

36 Weeks at our new church.

3 Renovated rooms in our house.

4,092 miles Kennedy has driven since getting her license early this year.

6. Looking Ahead in Hashtags

#Wifefliesfree – This is in reference to the companion pass Jeff earned with Southwest Airlines after traveling so much for business in 2014. The good news is that as his designated travel companion, I can join him for free on any flight that he takes throughout 2015.

#Visitingvikings – Nope, not the team. Next summer, we’ll be sailing on a cruise that will visit Norway, Iceland, Scotland and the UK.

#Bringinghomebaby – Torri’s baby is due in May and we are all very excited to meet her (or him, but I’ve already decided it’s a her).

#DestinationDisney – We’re hoping to make a quick trip to Walt Disney World over spring break.

#Classof2015sortof – If all goes as planned, Kennedy should finish up her studies in December of 2015, six months ahead of her 2016 graduation date.

#SweethomeAlabama – The reason Kennedy is graduating early is because Jeff recently earned a promotion at work and his new job will require that we relocate to Huntsville, Alabama late next year.

#SixteenSassyCandles – My Cassie girl turns sweet 16 next November.

#Younggrandmasrock – That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

7. Average Age

In 2014, the average age of our immediate family members was 21.73. Inquiring minds, and all.

8. Places Visited

Because the graphic features just the United States, I left out Spain and the Turks & Caicos in spite of the fact that at least one of our own did indeed visit those places. I included: Orlando, Boston, Hawaii, Denver, Portsmouth and Paso Robles.

So there you have it, a closer look at our 2014 creative annual Christmas letter. And while I’m at it, here’s a glimpse at our card. From our family to yours, Merry Christmas!


Writing the annual Christmas letter doesn't have to be boring. This creative infographic style letter shares the highlights in a fun, easy-to-read way.


  1. what a fantastic and modern way to present your look back and look ahead. Couple of thoughts.. 1. I hope you keep your blog going even away from the desert. I will still follow, but I will miss your ins and outs from the desert. 2. You will be closer to WDW!, so maybe trips for often and more WDW travel tips. 3. Way too young to be a grandmother 4. Will miss the opportunity for future photo shoots 5. Beautiful card!

  2. So it’s going to be Alabama…. I hear Huntsville is very up-and-coming. I can’t WAIT to hear all about it. And you are going to be the hottest, sexiest, coolest grammie ever. xoxoxoxo

  3. Oh my gosh, WAIT. I MISSED SOMETHING. You’re going to be a grandma? Like, the hottest grandma in the world?! Congratulations!

  4. Or maybe I didn’t miss something because you said that is the announcement. Well, regardless. Babies are love. I am thrilled for you. <3

  5. can Jeff’s next job be to a city where JetBlue flies?? Lol!! Congrats on it all!! Xoxo

  6. I love your picture and card! You are so creative. And wow, what a big year you have had and will have! Hope you can keep the blog up and running so we can follow along! Merry Christmas!

    PS – May babies are wonderful and young grandmas really do rock. I know from experience! :)

  7. Thanks for the card in our mailbox – and the detailed explanation of all the hashtags!

    A. Octopus! Who would have thought?
    B. Good to know that Jeff knows how to build/install custom bookcases! ;)
    C. Is the Alabama move for sure?
    D. Cute picture! You never age.

    Merry Christmas.

  8. 1. Are you moving to Alabama? Really?
    2. You are the hottest grandma I know.
    3. Love your letter. Did you design it or find the template somewhere?
    4. Your picture is beautiful.
    5. How can I get on your mailing list?
    6. Love the new blog design.
    7. Does Grandbaby have a name yet?

    I think that’s all.

    1. 1. More than likely, yes.
      2. I’ll totally take that and own it, thank you!
      3. I designed it. Took me forfreakinever.
      4. Thank you. There’s a funny story behind it that may or may not involve a family member (who shall remain nameless) tinkling in the desert.
      5. Simple as emailing me your address ;) We’ve been bloggy friends so long that we should have swapped addresses long ago!
      6. Thank you! Me too.
      7. Yes, but I’m not sure if I’m at liberty to say. I’ll check on that and get back to you.

      Thank *you* for such a fun comment!

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