Easiest person to buy for? [Day 9]

Does myself count?

If not, how about “it changes year to year”?

I guess I could say my husband or my mom because I’m in constant contact with them and know them so well. But then again, it’s easy to get in a rut of focusing on a few main facts about a person (they like candles; their favorite color is blue; etc) instead of having a sense of something they would like that doesn’t fit into those categories. And even though I straight out ask them, “What do you want for Christmas this year?” it still gets difficult because they are both people who are going to ask for a lot.

And I don’t really think guys are harder to buy for than girls; girls are individuals with specific likes and dislikes just as guys are. So it honestly depends on the year and how much a person has or needs that will determine whether they are on the easier side to buy for.

So, in conclusion, I will stick with my first answer: in my opinion, when it comes to Christmas shopping for someone, I am the easiest person to buy for because I know myself so well. I know my shoe size without needing to text. I know whether that sweater will enhance my shape or make me look boxy. I know what my most desired products/clothing/shoes/anything is at any moment. I am a piece of cake.

Why does everyone else have to be so difficult??

Christmas Decor [Day 8]

Tom and I have not decorated our apartment for the holidays since we moved here. BUT we have had soft white and multicolored Christmas/string/fairy lights up year round since we moved in. So that kind of counts.

They are especially nice this time of year because A) the holidays and B) it gets so freaking dark so freaking early that it’s nice to have some soft lighting all night before bed.

Anyways, today’s post is supposed to be a picture of Christmas decor. I love decorating for the holidays and just in general, but there’s not much room for excess stuff here in Brooklyn. When we have our own house one day, I plan on going nuts in the decorating department.

Buuuuutttt since we don’t have any decorations here, I’ll share a picture from two Christmases ago when Tom and I posed with our engagement ornaments. The quality is pretty poor, but the memories aren’t. And it’s Christmas decor. So there.

IMG_0418

Most memorable Christmas [Day 7]

I kind of touched on this with yesterday’s post, but here are my top 3 most memorable Christmases.

  1. When I was about 5 or 6, my dad pulled the A Christmas Story present scene.
  2. I went ice skating a few days before Christmas at Rockefeller Center when I was 22. This was a tough Christmas as it was the first one since my mom went into the nursing home.
  3. I spent my first Christmas downstate with Tom and his family when I was 24; we were engaged and finally got to spend the day together rather than some days before or after. His parents bought a real tree that year because I had never had a real tree growing up; they’ve bought a real tree two years in a row now, and I think they’re going for three!

Favorite present & ornament [Days 5+6]

Both of these are sentimental stories; the present one is really cool, the ornament one is frustratingly sad.

Favorite present: Before they divorced and times got tough, my parents showered me with presents. Like, I am embarrassed by how much they used to get me for birthdays and Christmas. Being an only child, I honestly think I would have turned out to be a super selfish bee-yotch if certain events had never taken place. Kind of weird to think about…

Anyways, one year, I think when I was 5 or 6, I unwrapped my presents like any kid does: as soon as one was unwrapped and registered as really neat and “can’t wait to play with!”, I was ready to unwrap the next.

My dad had been videotaping all morning, something that wasn’t unusual. I still have this home video, but it’s a VHS so I can’t even begin to try to show you.

When all three of us had unwrapped everything, my dad asked me if I had gotten everything I asked for.

I said, “Yeah,” kind of unconvincingly.

“You got all that stuff and you still weren’t satisfied?!” my now 26-year-old self yells.

I remember my dad then looked over toward our recliner chair and furrowed his brow. In the video, he says, “Wait a minute…what is that?”

Concerned, I turn my head to look at the recliner and ask, “What is what?”

“Go look behind the recliner; there’s something behind it.”

To my bewilderment, there was a large wrapped box behind the recliner. I was so excited and had no idea what it could be, but it was huge so it must be something good!

My parents encourage me to open it and, wouldn’t you know, it was the Life Size Barbie I had been coveting! My dad had pulled the trick from A Christmas Story with the present, and it was amazing and unforgettable.

The next clip on this particular home video is of me dancing in the matching ballerina costume that came with the Barbie; I was already about 8 inches taller than this thing, so the outfit was a little snug.

Favorite ornament: This is a hard one because it makes me remember that when I moved out of my house and got it ready to be sold 2 years ago, I forgot to go through the hall closet where we kept all of the holiday decorations. Old halloween costumes, Easter and Thanksgiving knick-knacks, our fake Christmas tree, all of the lights neatly organized, and all of our Christmas decorations. All of it, gone.

When I reached my early teens, I became the Christmas tree decorator. Every year, I would choose a color theme for our tree, and only use decorations that were those colors. I also realized that in order to make the fake tree look somewhat realistic, each individual branch had to be “fluffed”, a concept that my parents never seemed to get. I remember that you could always see the middle pole and the branches looked flat, like a cupcake stand if you know what I mean.

We had decorations that my mom had bought back when she was single and living on her own. We had some Buffalo Bills decorations and a couple metal ones that were personalized: one looked like an angel and said “Holly” and had my birthdate on it and the other was a cat in a stocking that said “Jack” (my cat who passed away in 2011). We also had a few decorations that I made back in elementary school.

And now I have no idea where any of them are. Maybe they ended up getting sold when my aunt had a yard sale to get rid of all that was left in our house (I was still in school and couldn’t go back up to do it). Maybe they were overlooked and the new owner ended up going through them. Maybe they just ended up going straight in a dumpster.

I’ll never know. And it breaks my heart. I won’t have those to decorate when Tom and I have our own house and own tree. Our kids won’t ever see the decorations that I made when I was their age. And it’s my fault.

I know they’re only material possessions and we can buy our own and our kids will make their own someday. I don’t mean to be dramatic but it just frustrates me that I didn’t even think about going through that closet. We were so pressed for time and couldn’t fit anything else in the truck when I packed it up with my stuff to bring down to NYC.

So as of right now, I have 3 decorations: 2 are from when we got engaged (thanks Casey and Juhasz family!) and the other is a set of 4 snowmen from our friend Courtney. We haven’t had our own tree since living together because we spend Christmas with my in-laws (and there’s not really any room for a tree!) so it’s okay. There’s plenty of time to make our own decoration collection and tie memories to them.

 

Do you remember your favorite present and/or have a favorite ornament?

Christmas Music? [Day 4]

Yes! Unlike my husband, Thomas McScrooge, I love Christmas music.

I love the really great songs, the classic songs, and the goofy songs.

Speaking of goofy Christmas songs, I have a gem.

I found this video a few months back by Colleen and Josh Evans [I’m on first name basis with YouTubers] from a few years ago that made me laugh so hard I was crying. All the while thinking WHERE HAVE I BEEN?!?! and WHY DID IT TAKE ME SO LONG TO FIND THIS?!?!

The song is so ridiculous and it is just astounding that it is an actual song that you can actually pay for. I don’t recommend paying for it, so just watch this phenomenal music video for the ballad titled “Be Mine For Christmas” by KEM.

You’re welcome.

Snooping for Presents [Day 3]

Today’s topic is supposed to be about the reality of Santa, but I don’t want to go there.

Instead, I’ll talk about my first and most vivid memory of snooping for presents. This will be a short post.

I think I was about 7 or 8 when I snooped and found the jackpot of presents. I was watching TV in my parents’ room one night while my mom was in the shower and my dad was working a late shift.

I knew the presents had to be hidden somewhere and I had to act fast before Mom got out of the shower and found mid-quest, so I tried under the bed first.

No luck.

The next logical step was the closet. I opened the two bi-fold wooden doors to reveal a large mound of presents in a large black garbage bag. The only thing I really remember amongst the pile was that there were a couple board games. I think some were already wrapped and I wasn’t ready to try to stealthily open them just for a sneak peek.

Like I said in my last post, I like the anticipation and the feeling of the unknown when it comes to presents. So I wasn’t too hell-bent on seeing everything that was in the closet that night.

I was pumped but also panicked and quickly closed the doors back up, trying my best not to make a sound because moms usually have crazy good hearing.

Do you remember snooping for presents before Christmas?

Wish List [Day 2]

When I was younger, I would go through Finger Hut catalogs and circle anything and everything that I could possibly want for Christmas. Like, I would look through baby strollers, full-size ones, because why not?! And I didn’t even play with baby dolls (thanks Chucky movies)!!!

As I’ve gotten older, have a stable job, live hundreds of miles away from most of my friends and family, and catalogs have become pretty insignificant, I no longer need or want all the material things. Presents are great, don’t get me wrong. I enjoy the anticipation of looking at wrapped gifts, thinking about what they could possibly be, unwrapping said gifts, and finally seeing the mystery inside just as much as the next person.

But I’m much more of an experiential person – that’s experiential, not experimental…I’m not a scientist – I much prefer experiences over material things. One of my main goals in life (aside from the usual family, house, etc) is to travel. I’ve never gone out of the country except Canada which doesn’t count seeing as it was somewhere we went for school field trips growing up. The farthest south I’ve gone is Orlando (New Year’s 2015) and the farthest west I’ve gone is Louisville (with a church group 2008ish). I want to go [almost] everywhere and explore and experience new cultures and different people.

I also love being with and experiencing things with people that I care about. So I think for my wish list this year, I just want to spend time with people I love. I know, so cliché.

I wish I could see my mom more than a couple times per year because she’s the strongest woman I know. I miss my friends from home a lot and cherish the few times we get to see each other throughout the year. I’m lucky enough to have married a wonderful guy whom I love spending time with. I have amazing in-laws that live close by and I have wonderful co-workers that I enjoy seeing every day.

And wouldn’t you know it, Tom and I are heading to my hometown the weekend before Christmas to see my mom and friends from home. And we are spending Christmas with my in-laws. AND I get to see my awesome co-workers every weekday leading up to this time!

So my wish list is actually a checklist that will be totally checked off by Christmas! Boom. I’m all set.

Favorite Christmas Movies [Day 1]

Okay, let’s start off strong with actually completing day 1 of the 25 Days of Blogging challenge!

I don’t like picking favorites – my students will tell you that – so for today’s post, I’ll list my top 3 favorites. I’ve realized as I’ve gotten older that picking favorites is very limiting. So here are my five recommendations of Christmas movies, along with a few of my favorite quotes and/or scenes from each, in no particular order:

  1. A Christmas Story: I have watched many, many, many hours of A Christmas Story growing up. And thanks to TBS and their yearly “24 hours of A Christmas Story”, I keep racking up those hours. I could honestly sit here and quote the movie line by line, and it never gets old.

Randy: “I can’t put my arms down!”

Mom: *Sigh* “Put your arms down at school.”

Can't put my arms down A Christmas Story Randy

…which then led to…

Randy A Christmas Story Can't get up

Then there was the weird kid with goggles waiting in line to see Santa:

“I like the Wizard of Oz…I like the Tin Man.”

Weird Kid Goggles A Christmas Story department store

And last, the feel-good scene when Ralphie finds his final present behind the desk.

This scene gets me because my parents did this to me when I was about 6 or 7.

A Christmas story ralphie gun desk

 

2. Elf: Another movie I could quote all the live long day. It’s just genius. I don’t want to go crazy overboard on favorite scenes because it’ll honestly be the entire movie. Here are a couple gems:

“Does somebody need a hug?”

Elf Buddy raccoon

“Watch out – the yellow ones don’t stop!”

Buddy the Elf taxi gif

 

3. The Holiday: This is a fabulous movie with a fabulous title. I will admit that as I’ve grown older I’ve realized just how nuts the storyline is (as I have with The Notebook and other such movies where cheating and jumping into bed super quick are romantic and desirable) but it nonetheless sweeps me off my feet every time I watch it.

I adore the entire scene where Amanda meets Graham’s daughters. *Cue heart melting*

“You look like my Barbie!”

The Holiday tent

And when Miles plays the keyboard and reveals what he thinks Iris would be as a song. *Cue heart melting*

The Holiday Jack Black Kate Winslet keyboard singing

And I get stupid happy tears when Arthur opens the doors to his award ceremony
and realizes just how many people are there to support him. *Heart is goop*

The Holiday Arthur award ceremony

 

So there they are, three movies that I love love love to watch anytime of year, but especially around Christmastime. What are your favorites? Any quotes or scenes from them that you love?