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?

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?