twelve dates of christmas / a hot cocoa date

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on our first date of christmas, we shared a hot chocolate together in the late afternoon at madison square park’s shake shack! it was a date that almost didn’t happen, and technically to some, it might not even be considered a date.  we were out finishing up a few errands with the littles on saturday when they both fell asleep for their naps in the stroller. it was freezing out so we debated racing home to try to get a few things done while they slept, but the focus behind these dates this season is to really just spend more time together, as it can be hard in general with busy schedules and work and kids and even harder around the holidays. so we took advantage of even 30 minutes alone together and simply walked around new york with a treat in hand.

in my mind, those most simplistic moments of just being with the one you love most (and in the city you love most, too) is kind of my most favorite sort of date.

hotcocoa3 hotcocoadate1

  1. nanette

    walking around nyc with your babes in the stroller sound asleep. doesn’t get any sweeter. :)

  2. Laura J.

    How true and simple, and what a dreamy date…even if it was 30 minutes! xo

  3. Lydia


  4. liz

    You make me wish i was in New York :)

  5. Kelly

    I didn’t know SS had hot cocoa, I will have to try it out!

    Sparkles and Shoes

  6. Marisa

    Cute! This makes me even more excited for Shake Shack to finally come to Chicago.

  7. k

    How lovely! Love the lights on the glow of the lights at night. Oh I miss NY… Wish I could be outside at night during the holidays but it’s subzero until xmas here in the midwest :(


  8. dee

    I didn’t know Shake Shack had hot cocoa! =O

  9. Rachel

    I thought this was really sweet. I agree, time together is important and it is really hard to do so when you have children. Hot cocoa dates no matter how small are always a good start :)


  10. Janssen

    You guys are such an inspiration to me. That’s all :)

  11. no matter how small , it seems lovely to me!

  12. I love how festive Shake Shack is! And the date idea is so sweet. I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas season.

    Je M’appelle Molly

    xo Molly

  13. Christmas in NY looks so magical! We definitely miss out on these frosty twinkling moments in CA.

  14. Kim

    I stinkin’ love you and your family and your love for the gospel, too. I’m here at BYUI and you guys give me hope that I can still live a pretty decent life outside of the “bubble” haha (: Love you guys!! -Kim

  15. WAH I MISS NEW YORK!! And your date sounds perfect :) So much fun x

  16. cheyenne

    hot cocoa sounds like a perfect date to me! and what a fun idea, twelve dates of christmas :)
    xo, cheyenne

  17. who’s to say what’s a date and what isn’t .. if it was special for you two, then that’s what counts! :)

  18. I love it! The city is so beautiful during the holidays. And the important part of the date is quality time together so a cup of cocoa and a walk around NY is a perfect date. :)

  19. Dana C

    What a cute idea!! Love the shake shack!

  20. Faith

    Oh I love these photos and your sweet first date of Christmas!! Shake Shack is so adorable with its lights!
    I was just in the city over the weekend it was so lovely to see the city all dressed for the holidays :)


  21. sometimes 30 minutes makes a huge difference. to be honest, hot cocoa/walking are one of the few things we do often to just get away. we share hopes and dreams as we walk and look. and sometimes, that’s when i’m having the most fun. looks warm and happy even though it was freezing! ;)

  22. Jessica

    I think it’s sweet that you guys walked around nyc with treats. So romantic! It’s great that you guys are taking the time to still be with each other when life can really get in the way of that and make a relationship difficult. I admire this :)

  23. fairy

    simple and lovely! simply lovely! simply loving it!

  24. jaclyn

    aww i love this!!!

  25. Sarah

    So sweet! Those stolen moments together are the best!

  26. Agata

    Hello Naomi. I live in Poland, in Europe. I’m a student and I am preparing to write a BA dissertation. I’ve been following your blog for a few years and I am charmed your wonderful family and your way of writing.
    I know you’re very busy, but I would like to ask you to help me…
    Subject of my BA dissertation is – Christmas’ customs and rituals in the USA. That’s why I want to ask if you could describe me how you see the Christmas period? I realize that my question is a little strange or foolish but you’re my only hope to get information about Christmas in the USA.

    I can not find your email and that’s why I am writing here.

    I’m waiting for your reply… with hope.

    Xo xo, Agata

  27. Janis

    Agreed, a few minutes of quality time is better than nothing :)

  28. alice

    totally counts as a date! babies asleep + time to chat + hot chocolate=date!
    sounds fun and i love how vibrant NYC is during the holidays.

  29. RE: The 12 “dates” just being normal things that people do.

    Sure, it’s a little silly, but I think there’s merit in designating an activity as a date. Calling something a “date” can reorient your focus – where you might have simply gone through the motions, calling it a date can shift your attitude. What might have been an educational activity, or a simple errand, or a walk home can take on added meaning if you shift your attention to the people around you, rather than on the task being accomplished. Words have the power to call to our mind specific connotations, memories, attitudes, and more. Walking over to the store to get milk is an errand – there and back again. Going to the store as a date might make you linger on your walk, pick up a little something extra, stop by the flowers, go a little above and beyond.

    I think it’s a cute idea, and I’m going to try it out. Shifting your attention can change how you experience something, and words and labels can shift our attention. The word “date” shifts our attention from the activity itself to the experience we share with another person. 12 dates for Christmas!

  30. everything about this is so enchanting. i love shake shack, especially when it’s illuminated under a winter sky :)

    i’m wondering what you set your shutter and aperature at to let this much light in at night?


  31. The very best kind of dates are simple, but so meaningful and filled with joy for both :) So in love with this 12 dates of Christmas idea you have. Hope you keep the tradition for years to come, and I hope that I follow your lead as well!

  32. Lisa

    I had the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had out at a coffee shop the other day. It definitely counts as a date…

  33. Natalie Hemsin

    Okay we get it, someone hurt your feelings. What do you expect? You put your life out on the internet for EVERYONE to see. So not everyone agrees with you. Put your big girl pants on and move on. Geez!

    Cute pictures :)

  34. so so sweet. I agree — sometimes the simplest moments are the best, especially looking over at your sweetie while your little(s) are napping nearby. It reminds you of how blessed you truly are!