this is part of the finchel secret santa project, so merry christmas, candice! :)

every day's a holiday when i'm near to you

"Do you like the purple bulbs or the blue bulbs better?" Rachel asks, holding up two boxes for Finn to observe.

He glances between the two, licking his lips, then looking into Rachel's wide brown eyes. "Um, the blue?" he tries.

She sighs.

"Or why don't we just get both?" he offers.

She beams, putting both boxes into the cart. He can't help but smile at her enthusiasm, and he doesn't even think about how much money they're spending on this. It is Christmas, after all.

"Look," he says with a smile, pointing to a different set of ornaments on the shelf.

Rachel turns around, back now facing the cart, to see what he's pointing at. Her lips twitch into a smile."Gold stars," she says, her tone of voice excited, reaching for the box with one hand and interlacing her fingers of her other hand with Finn's. "It's perfect." She looks up at him, eyes wide and shining. "They're perfect. Just like you."

He just grins wider, kissing her cheek gently. "Merry Christmas," he whispers against her hair.

"Happy Hanukkah," she replies, giving him a wink as she lets go of his hand to browse further down the aisle.

It's kind of special that they're celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas in their apartment this year, just the two of them. It's their first year living together, straight out of college, and Rachel was appalled when she realized they had no ornaments to decorate their living quarters for the holidays. So, naturally, she dragged him to the nearest Target so they could do some proper holiday decoration shipping.

He watches her eyes light up even more as she scans the various Disney ornaments, her fingers brushing against the painted red hair of Ariel, the little mermaid. She makes his favorite time of the year even more special, and he can't be more grateful to be spending every minute of the holidays with her.

"Look, Finn," she says, her voice laced with excitement, extracting the mermaid ornament and holding it out to him. "It sings." She presses a button, and the first notes of 'Part of Your World' begin to play, Rachel singing along.

Finn just chuckles, pressing a quick kiss against her hair, turning to browse through some of the ornaments himself.

"We should pick ones that reflect our personalities," Rachel tells him knowingly, placing the Little Mermaid ornament in the cart.

"Like the stars," Finn notes.

Rachel nods. "Like the stars."

He's silent for a few moments, his gaze just scanning over the ornaments, then one in particular catches his eye: A view of New York City's skyline, a heart in the foreground. He smiles softly, picking it up and showing Rachel.

She just smiles, taking it from him and placing it in the cart.

He feels a sense of accomplishment, and he feels like this is actually a great idea, finding ornaments that describe them. He remembers the significance of the decorations that always adorned the Hudson family Christmas tree, and he thinks of how he and Rachel are starting that exact tradition together now – as their own family. His heart swells at the thought.

"Look, a microphone!" Rachel squeals, brandishing the ornament in Finn's face. He laughs, pulling her wrist back so he can actually get a good look at it, giving her a nod of approval before she places it in the cart.

"We're going to have the best Christmas ever," Rachel says, wrapping an arm around his waist and leaning into his side.

As he wraps his own arm around her shoulders, he can't help but agree.


Decorating with her is more fun than he's ever had. He helps her bake cookies, getting flour everywhere, but she just grins at him and wipes some off of his nose with her thumb instead, pressing a kiss against his newly-clean skin. He manages to kiss her on the mouth as she turns her head, and she giggles against his lips, pushing against his chest gently when he tries to deepen the kiss.

"Later," she promises, her eyes twinkling. "We have to finish decorating first."

He sighs, but he obliges.

They decorate the cookies when they come out of the oven, Finn mostly just putting the icing on in globs, but Rachel takes her time, intricately painting each one, making them look like reindeer, Santa, or Christmas trees, complete with ornaments and lights. After a while, Finn just leaves the decorating to her, choosing to watch her nose scrunch up in concentration as she tries to make each cookie perfect.

"Finn, you're not even helping!" she complains, looking up at him with narrow eyes as she tries to squeeze out the icing.

He shrugs. "You do it better anyway."

After that, she sends him out into the living room to start getting the lights for the tree out of the box.

He manages to get two strings of lights undone before she comes in, setting a plate of cookies on the coffee table and putting her hands on his shoulders before pressing a kiss to the top of his head.

"All done?" he asks.

She nods. "The cookies are finished." She looks over at the tree, then back at him. "Need me to help you put the lights on?"

He shakes his head. "I think I got it. You can start unraveling the garland though."

She beams, nodding excitedly, snitching the cookie he was just about to put in his mouth from his hand and smiling at him before heading over to the box of garland.

He just sighs good-naturedly, going back to the lights.


Twenty minutes later, the tree is almost completely decorated, save for the ornaments and the star.

"We should do the star first," Rachel says decisively, looking at Finn as if for him to contradict her.

He shrugs. "Whatever you want, baby." He grabs the star from its spot on the couch, walking over to the tree. The tree stands taller than him by a few inches – four or five – but if he stands on his tiptoes, he can probably reach it.

"Um, Finn?"

He glances down at Rachel. "Mmm?"

"Would you… do you think maybe… I could put the star on top?"

She looks so adorable, biting her lip as she waits for his response, and his heart melts. How could he say no? "Sure, Rach."

She squeals, clapping her hands together excitedly. "Okay, you'll have to give me a boost."

He happily obliges, picking her up, his arms wrapping around her ass as he lifts her high enough to clip the star onto the top of the tree. She has a nice ass, not too big but certainly not too small, and his arms wrap perfectly around it. He can't help but think of other activities they do that involve her ass, and he silently tells himself to stop because he hasn't had to summon the mailman since high school, and he certainly doesn't want to start again now.

She giggles, her name on his lips when she's done with the star, because he may have gotten distracted and forgotten to let her down.

"Finn," she says again, smacking the top of his head.

He tears his eyes away from her ass as he slowly lowers her to the ground. "Sorry, babe," he says quickly. "I just…"

"I know, you got distracted," she says teasingly, going over to the ornaments.

He laughs, because really, she knows him so well.


His mom sent him some ornaments from back home, ones that she thought he should have from when they used to decorate their own Christmas tree. Rachel's dads gave her some, too, so their tree isn't as bare as he thought it might be.

"Oh, look, it's baby's first Christmas!" Rachel squeals, showing him a pink rattle with her name written in black script on the front of it, the year '1994' visible underneath it.

"One day we'll be getting these for our children," she says wistfully, hanging it on a nearby branch.

Finn doesn't even try to bite back the slow grin that spreads across his face. He loves when Rachel talks about their inevitable future together, how they'll get married and have kids and grow old together. It's one of his favorite things to think about as well.

"Yeah," he agrees. "We will."

She just grins back at him.

They get more of the ornaments out, Finn hanging up the football one his mom got him when he made varsity quarterback their sophomore year as well a small, framed picture of his dad. He can't believe his mom wanted him to have it, but when he called her, asking if it got put in his box of ornaments by mistake, she firmly insisted that it was his.

"He would've wanted you to have it, Finny."

So he puts it on the tree, a feeling of pride surging through him because he's pretty sure his dad would be proud of the man he's become today.

He tells Rachel this.

She tears up a bit, biting the inside of her cheek softly as she nods. "I think he would've, too, Finn."

They hang up the blue and purple bulbs Rachel got as well as the singing Disney princesses (Ariel included) and her gold stars. He adds a few ornaments he got from his students at school – two of them homemade, and one that says 'Number 1 Teacher.'

"There," Rachel says with finality as Finn hangs the last ornament on the tree (the New York backdrop with the heart they found at the store). She turns to him, beaming. "It's perfect."

"Well, not quite," he says.

Her brow furrows in confusion.

He holds up a finger, signaling for her to wait, before going back into the bedroom. He finds the small box rather quickly after digging through his side of the closet, reemerging with it in the living room minutes later.

"Here," he says proudly, holding the box out.

She gazes up at him, her eyes inquisitive, her fingertips grazing the top of the box. "Finn…" she says, her voice low. "We said no presents before the first day of Hanukkah…"

"I think you'll appreciate the fact that this one is early," he tells her.

She sighs, taking the box from him.

"Open it," he prods softly.

She doesn't need any more convincing. She delicately lifts the top of the box, her breath catching in her throat as she sees what's inside. "Oh, Finn…"

He smiles. "Take it out of the box."

She does as she's told, the golden circle catching the light. The word 'faithfully' is embedded into the metal, and Rachel's eyes fill with tears as she glances between the ornament and Finn.

"Finn, I – I can't believe you had this done!"

"Look at the back," he says.

She flips the ornament over, her eyes quickly reading the phrase 'Finn and Rachel – first Christmas, 2017.'

She looks back up at him, tears in her eyes, and he only has a split second before she launches herself at him, her arms snaking around his neck, the ornament safely dangling from her fingers.

"Do you like it?" he asks with a laugh, his own arms encompassing her tiny frame.

"I love it," she says in his ear, kissing the side of his neck. "I love you."

He beams, squeezing her more tightly to him. "I love you, too. Merry Christmas, Rach."

"And Happy Hanukkah," she adds as she pulls away, a tear slipping down her cheek.

He chuckles, brushing it away with his thumb. "And Happy Hanukkah."

She puts the new ornament on the tree, right in the center, stepping back to admire their handiwork. "Now it's complete," she says, sighing in contentment.

He puts an arm around her shoulder. "It really is."

And as he stands with his girl, looking at the first Christmas tree that's completely theirs, the only phrase that he can think of to sum up his feelings is that this is the best holiday season ever, and Hanukkah and Christmas haven't even officially arrived.

Things can only get impossibly better, and he's looking forward to every second of it.

merry christmas to all of you! i hope you have a splendid holiday season, and thank you so so much for reading :)