Gifts and Stockings [Days 18 & 19]

Day 18: When do you open gifts?

This may seem like a weird question; like, they’re Christmas gifts, so obviously you open them on Christmas.

But, I know a few people whose tradition is to open their presents at midnight on Christmas Day. I think it’s a Latino thing. Or some people are just super excited and can’t wait until morning!

My family and I have always waited until morning…err, well, at least a few hours after midnight. As a child, I was a restless sleeper on Christmas Eve, and would wake up a million times until I finally couldn’t take it anymore and would go to my parents’ room at 5 am to see if we could get up. The answer was usually no, but at least I knew that I was that much closer.

I don’t remember when I started to sleep a little later, shower, and eat breakfast before opening gifts. That was during my teens I guess. When I still lived upstate and once Mom was in the nursing home, I would obviously wait until later in the morning or early afternoon to go take her presents and open them with her.

The past couple years with Tom’s family, his younger sister is usually the first to get up because she’s so excited. She then knocks on doors to wake everyone else up because she’s just too excited. She’s 23 haha. We all grab a bite to eat, I think we stay in our pajamas, and sit around and chat for a bit. When it’s time (Tom’s mom delegates when this is) we start with our stockings and then make our way to unwrapping the presents under the tree.

When this post goes up, Tom and I will be on our way to JFK airport to go upstate! I’ll probably give my mom her gifts right away (today) because I got her a few candle wax cubes for her candle warmer and a few of them are Christmas-y scents. I want her to be able to enjoy them before Christmas and for as long as possible. And don’t worry, I don’t think she regularly reads these, so it’s okay that I just told you what I got for her. Although, last time we were up there, I opened her computer to show her how to make a Google+ hangout call with me, and she had my Instagram account up and one of my more recent blog posts! Weird!

Day 19: Favorite stocking stuffer?

Growing up, it was always a tradition that we would get new toothbrushes, chapstick, and scratch-off lottery tickets in our stockings. I have to say, those are the best stocking stuffers. Even though the first two sound boring, like getting socks from your grandmother or something, they are essentials and it sucks when you’re stuck without them! And the scratch-offs, even though they were usually total rip-offs, still provided a little excitement and suspense. I think the most I ever won on one scratch-off from Christmas was $50.

Old Christmas Photo [Days 16 & 17]

Day 16: Hardest person to buy for?

I mentioned this on day 9 when I talked about the easiest person to buy for, but it honestly changes every year. Tom is actually pretty hard to buy for – whenever he needs something, he’ll get it himself. I don’t know what he could use in the technology world (that he’ll actually use), he already has too many items of clothing, and let’s not get started on how many comic books he has

Then again, everyone is hard to buy for in their own way. I would love to go the easy way and just get Sephora/Victoria’s Secret/any restaurant/any VISA gift cards for everyone so they could choose exactly what they want. I honestly think they are great gifts to receive. But they don’t take much thought or effort. And there’s no wrapping involved (this is both a pro and a con).

So anyways, everyone is hard to buy for thoughtfully.

Day 17: Post a picture of an old Christmas card.

I don’t have any old Christmas cards other than the ones we received last year. If I do have older cards, they are in storage. So instead, I found this old picture of me and my parents at Christmastime. I think this was in 1998, so I was 8 years old.

Family Christmas

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??

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?

Bridal Shower #2

What a crazy and stressful and fun and relaxing weekend.

My upstate bridal shower was set to start at 1pm on Saturday, so I booked a flight for Friday afternoon, allowing a relaxing night before the partying began.

But then my flight was delayed and later canceled on Friday evening due to thunderstorms traveling across the Northeast. Luckily I was rebooked for the next morning at 8am, which still left time to get prepared (physically and mentally) for the shower. You can read more about my crazy weekend in the 2 month update!

Everything worked out fine and I was blown away at my friends’ love and creativity. But, then again, I wasn’t. They’re my friends for a reason, right? Of course they love me and I know they’re all amazingly creative and thoughtful; I guess I was just taken aback at how everything came together beautifully even though only 2 of them are currently living in the same town as the shower and as each other!

Room Decor

The shower was held at Sweet Ecstasy Bakery in Batavia. Now, I know you may think that sounds like a strip joint, adult toy shop, or something, but I promise it is a great location for lunch or some other special occasion. My Aunt Gracia had originally sent me the brochure as an idea for the upstate reception at the end of August, but I realized that the largest room most likely wouldn’t be big enough (it holds up to 55).

We arrived a bit early to decorate and check out the venue a bit before everyone started to arrive. It was great to finally be back with my best girlfriends again – making your life and home in a new city and being far from familiar faces is so difficult. You realize just how much you took for granted all those times you just hung out watching TV or sat in the backyard roasting marshmallows or had the ability to just go out to lunch on a spur of the moment thing. But then again it makes the times you do get to see each other that much more special and precious.

It was wonderful just throwing around our familiar jokes and stories while creating new ones. And it made me so happy to see friends from different “groups” come together and get along. Not that I thought there would be a problem between any of my bridesmaids, but not everyone gets along with everyone else (AKA life). I have the best friends.

So we got all the decorations out, made the place look even more beautiful, and people started arriving! I got to see family and my mom’s long-time friends whom I haven’t seen in (literally) years. It was so wonderful knowing that I had the support of all of these ladies and I can’t wait for them to meet Tom, whether at the downstate wedding or the upstate reception, because I know they will love him.

I was especially ecstatic that my mom was able to make it to my shower. Not only because I haven’t seen her since December, but also because she doesn’t get out of the nursing home much. I know she was so happy to see me, her friends, and family that she also hasn’t seen in years.

Mom and me

Once everyone showed up, my friend Megan took over as game hostess. And she rocked it – look out Vanna! I must admit I was a bit skeptical about playing bridal shower games – I’ve heard of and played a bunch that are so cheesy and lame, they just seem like time-wasters.

But not these games – these games rocked. The first game was Name That Tune Love Song Edition. Everyone was so into it! The prizes were cute little cups filled with a bunch of mixed mini chocolates – Twix, 3 Musketeers, Milky Ways, etc.

After the game, we ate our delicious lunch and then it was on to game #2 – He Said, She Said: Facebook Edition! It was the cutest game: given Facebook statuses that Tom and I have posted, guests had to guess who said each by circling either the mustache (Tom) or lips (me). I got them all right, so I got a cup of chocolates. Boom, memory. Also, let me just say that the two of us are very witty in our status posts.

Then it was time for presents; I got so many great items and beautiful cards, so thank you to everyone!! Thankfully people offered to take the larger ones and ship them to us downstate because there was no way I could take them all on the plane back home.

Presents pose

And then: Cookies and Cream Marble cake. Sorry, do I need to repeat that? Could you not hear over your mouth salivating? I don’t blame you, I could totally go for a piece right now. It was so amazingly good. And a few truffles, petit fours, and macarons were placed in the middle of the tables as well. Overall, I would give the food a 10/10, hands down.

Did you think it ended with cake? Nope! They had one more game for me and it was fantastic. And difficult! It was like the couples quiz game; Megan said she asked Tom a bunch of questions and I guess how I thought he answered. Got it? Well it actually ended up evoking a question from our Pastor’s wife about Tom and my first date. I just kind of said, “We went to Starbucks on campus in Geneseo.”

Courtney's story

But my friend Courtney (whom I befriended through Tom) took over and told the whole story of Tom getting ready for said date, his being gone for over 3 hours for said date, and his reaction after said date. It was so nice getting someone else’s perspective on it; she had everyone’s attention and they all ‘aww’ed afterward.

Everyone started heading out after we thanked them all for coming, taking their Bath and Body Works hand lotion favors with cute little tags on them. I am so incredibly blessed and thankful for everyone who took part in that day.

The owner of the bakery was exceptionally nice as well – she was focused on making sure we had everything we needed the entire time. She did a fantastic job on the food, cake, table set-up, and her hospitality was superb. I definitely recommend Sweet Ecstasy Bakery!

To my friends in my bridal party: thank you all for setting the whole thing up, for being great friends, and working so well with each other! I am so glad to have you in my life, not just for throwing me a great party, but for the wonderful times that we’ve had together in the past and that we will have in the future. I love you all.

Bridal Party

I can’t wait to celebrate with everyone again in August!