christmas

10 Christmas Gifts My Siblings and I Loved/Hated (As Told by Photos) (List-cember #7)

On Christmas Eve, the day before those who celebrate Christmas sit around and eat and laugh and open presents and then crumple wrapping paper into balls and shoot them into trash bags being held by family members across the room, I sit looking at the gifts under my tree. I’m excited to give them to everyone and excited to see their face when they open it, I might even take a picture or two.

My family is full of picture takers, especially on Christmas, so I’ve made it a tradition during List-cember to share some of my favorite photos taken while we were opening presents. I like guess what was going through our heads in that moment.

And I think I’m probably right.

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What I’m (probably) thinking here: Remember Troy, no matter what’s wrapped in that paper, I’m one of the best gifts you’ll ever get.

 

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What my sister, Natalee, is (probably) thinking here: Every badass, superhero, fashion icon, and historical figure needs a soundtrack. And since I’m clearly all four, it’s high time I’ve finally found mine.

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What I’m (probably) thinking here: Okay, okay, okay, guys, PICTURE THIS: Pantsless Pez-days. Who’s in?

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What I’m (probably) thinking here: Yeah, the gift is great. It’s a Barbie and I’m super excited but uhh…does anyone else see the look she’s giving me? Does anyone else think she might be planning a homicide?

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What my sister is (probably) thinking here: I always hoped my future daughter would look like me and I mean, would you look at this?! It’s practically uncanny!

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What I’m (probably) thinking here: I GOT MONOPOLY! AND NOW I’M TOTALLY SLAUGHTERING DAD! HE HAS NO IDEA WHAT’S COMING NEXT TURN! THIS IS THE BEST GAME EVER.

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What my brother, Troy, is (probably) thinking here: Block!

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What my sister is (probably) thinking here: First step Fashion Factory, second step runway model. Is this smile pretty?

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What I’m (probably) thinking here: Do these bracelets make the fur of my Santa hat look a little more subtle?

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What my sister is (probably) thinking here: Yes, that’s right Santa. Check that list twice. 

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Merry Christmas, everyone!

You can check out the previous editions of this series here and here. 

2018 Ornament Superlatives (List-cember #3)

One of my favorite List-cember traditions is going through the ornaments on my family’s Christmas tree and giving them superlatives. This year we were on top of our decorating game and had our tree up two days after Thanksgiving, giving us ample time to appreciate our extensive collection of ornaments, and giving me ample time to reward them just for being them.

Thus, here is the third installment of Ornament Superlatives, enjoy!

(Also, in case you missed it, you can check out the first installment here and the second installment here.)

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Most Likely to Give You PETDMD (Post Emotionally Traumatic Disney Movie Disorder)

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Most Likely to Have Seen Better Days (And Make You Wonder if Whoever was Given the Skinny Stocking Felt a Little Unloved)

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Most Likely to Make You Start (Punny) Caroling 

(And Grab a Seasonal Drink from the Fridge)

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Most Likely to Make Dodger Fans Relive Their World Series Sadness

(for the second year in a row)

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Most Likely to Inspire Your Crafting Spirit…and then Awaken Your Perfectionist Mindset…and then Make You Lay in a Pile of Your Own Untalented Despair

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Most Accurate Representation of a Third Child’s First Christmas

Note: please refer to the ornament celebrating my first Christmas in the 2016 Ornament Superlatives

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Most Likely to Have Been Upcycled into an Ornament Just Because it’s Pretty

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Most Likely to Ignite the Argument: Ginger Angel Sitting in Front of a Fireplace OR French Fairy Hovering in Front of a Fireplace?

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Most Likely to Make You Want to Buy A Roll of Sugar Cookie Dough

(or Most Likely to Convince Overly Egg-Nogged Family Members it is a sugar cookie)

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Most Likely to Have Written an Article for Cosmopolitan on How to Improve Your #LashGame

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Most Likely to Start a Light-Hearted but Extremely Passive Aggressive Argument between College Football Fans

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20 Popular Christmas Decorations: Ranked (List-cember #1)

It’s officially December! Which means it’s also officially List-cember!

In case you have no idea what that means, List-cember is an annual blogging tradition I have where all the posts in December are centered around lists!

It’s fun. It’s organized. It’s has pictures. I love it!

Let’s jump right in.

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For the true purists out there who wait alllll the way until December 1st to embrace the Christmas spirit, I can imagine you spent your weekend pulling down boxes and putting up decorations.

My roommates and I decorated a little early these year. We didn’t even wait until Thanksgiving…but SHH don’t tell my mom, she didn’t raise me like that.

After decorating our house, and then my grandpa’s house, and then my parents’ house, you could say I’m well-versed in the world of decorations, though I’ve never really taken the time to choose a favorite. I usually just say, “pretty!” over and over again until everything is hung up.

So this year I decided dig deep into my psyche and figure out which decorations are the best decorations. Because nothing says “holiday spirit” like pitting inanimate objects against each other, am I right?

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20) Nutcracker Dolls

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Let’s be real, these things are creepy. Are they traditional? Sure. But are they comforting to look at when it’s cold outside and you’re snuggling up with a mug of hot chocolate? Absolutely not.

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19) Elf on a Shelf

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These also fall into the creepy category for me. I know it’s a tradition in some families and I mean no disrespect, but as an adult who already has a hard enough time pretending she’s not scared to be home alone, the concept of having a doll watch me and wander around my house at night while I’m sleeping is a hard pass.

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18) Lawn Inflatables

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Photo credit: Walmart

I’ll admit, these are fun to look at for like, a minute, but then they just turn into hazards. With the wind and rain (and snow for you non-Southern Californians), these guys are just waiting for the right gust to send them soaring through the neighborhood.

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17) Nativity Scene

This is probably asking for trouble, seeing as this showcases (at least what I believe to be) the actual purpose of Christmas. It’s main reason for being so low on the list is its breakability. Some years the pieces simply weren’t wrapped good enough, so when you pull them down in the fall the stable’s roof is falling apart or the donkey is missing a leg. There’s also the chance you’ll have someone like me put in charge of setting it up, who takes advantage of that responsibility by making everyone look as if they are worshipping one of my baby pictures.

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16) Poinsettias

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Photo credit: The Home Depot

Bottom line: no one pronounces these the same and it’s frustrating and confusing.

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15) Scented Candles

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Photo credit: Yankee Candle

I have what my family calls a “pregnant nose”, meaning it’s as sensitive to smells in its everyday life as an average nose would only be during months of, you know, baby growing. So stepping into houses during the holiday season and being assaulted by smells of Cinnamon or Holiday Frost or Wooded Cottage or Rudolph’s Kitchen is just a bit much for me.

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14) Garland

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One of the decoration staples in my parents’ house is a long strand of garland that sits on top of the fireplace. I think it looks great, but it’s heavy duty and has a mind of its own and sometimes decides to jump off the ledge for no apparent reason, taking anything and everything else on the ledge with it. Points deducted, my friend.

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13) Mistletoe

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To be honest, I rarely see mistletoe outside of Hallmark movies. And while I love a cheesy well well well looks like you have to kiss and fall in love movie moment, I can’t say I’ve seen or would overly enjoy being placed in that situation in real life.

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12) Snowmen

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Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Frosty. But I feel like snowmen are quite possibly the most overdone decoration of the holiday season. People make snowmen out of EVERYTHING. Sometimes a jar just wants to be a jar, you know?

Also, I’m bitter because I hardly ever get to see snow…

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11) Wreath

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I feel bad for placing these so low on the list because I genuinely love wreaths and think they add so much holiday spirit. But man, are they a HASSLE. (At least in my experience.) They always make the door hard to close and then if you have a screen door it just kind of leans there, awkwardly open. I don’t know, unless you hang them inside or have giant front doors that make average sized humans feel small to walk through, I think they might be more trouble than they’re worth.

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10) Bells

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I love the sound of bells, both the ding and jingle type—because that’s how they’re categorized right? I mean, have you ever watched people play the hand bells? It’s incredible. So really my only reason to mark them down is that I think they shouldn’t be restricted to holiday months. #justiceforbells

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9) Angels

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I think angels take the place of Santa in our eyes when we grow up. They become the source of Christmas miracles after we’re told that a grown man doesn’t actually climb down our chimney and leave us gifts. I like this transition, since I sincerely believe in angels and their capability to perform miracles, and I like that the Christmas season displays them in abundance.

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8) Advent Calendars

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When my siblings and I were little, our aunts used to put together advent calendars to open during the month of December. They wrapped little gifts in tissue paper and tied them to pretty gold rope that we hung up in the living room. The three of us then took turns opening gifts each day. It was fun and magical and remains to be one of my favorite Christmas memories growing up.

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7) Santa

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If you ever want to see a fantastic collection of Santas, you need not look any farther than my grandpa’s house. He has a western Santa that moves his hips like Luke Bryan, he has one that raps, he has one that is attached to a serving tray that is always filled with chocolates. So honestly, I’m here for whatever portrayal you’re willing to give me.

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6) Tree Topper

I think this would have less of a special place in my heart if my roommates and I didn’t have the greatest topper of all time.

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Yes, that’s right, folks, it is a cheeseburger with legs and it cannot and will not…be topped.

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5) Snow Globes

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My sister collects snow globes, something she got from my parents who also have more than a few to display every holiday season. To me, snow globes are one of those undeniably charming things, always ready to give you a little taste of magic whenever you pick one up and shake it.

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4) Christmas Lights

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There’s nothing like a decoration that brings literal light into the world! Last year my sister and I spent an entire evening driving aimlessly around our neighborhood looking at lights. They never fail to make me smile.

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3) Christmas Tree

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Come on, you know this guy has to be near the top. There’s almost nothing more Christmassy than a tree—unless maybe…

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2) Ornaments

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…THE ORNAMENTS YOU HANG ON ITS MAJESTIC BRANCHES. Y’all know I love ornaments and may or may not be surprised that they didn’t top out this list. I mean, ornaments can be anything (as demonstrated by my family’s ever growing collection) and they are some of the best memory keepers. That being said, the only thing that could have possibly beaten them out for the top spot are…

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1) Stockings

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I don’t know if you can tell, but one of these stockings is homemade.

It’s also our favorite stocking.

Stockings are just so homey and I love seeing them hanging above the fireplace, showcasing all of the members of a family—be that human and/or animal members. And in my opinion, finding the smallest little gift in your stocking, even if it’s just candy or a fuzzy pair of socks, can be more magical than opening the biggest present under the tree.

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However you decorate your house during the holiday season, I hope it makes you smile and brings you all the joy that this month is made of.

Merry Christmas and Happy List-cember everyone!

 


 

You can check out last year’s List-cember posts here.

How to Keep Your Christmas Decorations Up All Year Round (List-cember #7)

My least favorite part of Christmas is the moment it ends. Right after that clock strikes midnight, everything is over. All the planning, all the stress and anxiety, (probably) all the Christmas cookies. Like the day itself, they vanish into thin air, leaving only the memories behind.

Tonight, as I wrapped presents for my family and friends, I sat on my couch, basking in the season. I took a good look around my house, marveling at all the decorations we’ve hung up, dreading the day we’ll have to take them down and leave the walls plain again.

Decorations have always been one of my favorite parts of Christmas. I love the lights and the sparkles and all the red. I love the pride people take in filling their houses/cars/desks/etc. with Christmas spirit and the tradition of strangers coming together to marvel at that pride. It makes me wish Christmas lasted all year long. Though I suppose that would take away the novelty of it all, wouldn’t it? Then again, should we really need to consider pride, spirit and community a novelty? Shouldn’t these actually last all year long?

This got me thinking. What if when we took down our decorations, we took what they represent with us? For example:

1) Christmas Lights

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These quite simply make people look and awe. Whether it be with their colors, their arrangement, or their uniqueness. In many ways, even though we look at Christmas lights our whole lives, every year it feels like we’re seeing them for the first time. This is the same way I feel about people when they show unwarranted kindness or unthinkable bravery. It’s not that I forget these qualities exist, it’s just a pleasant and inspiring surprise when I come across them. So in this upcoming year, what if we made an effort to be these displays of light? I think it’s safe to say, especially in today’s society, the world could always use some more light.

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2) Ornaments

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I love ornaments. (So much so that I hand out superlatives every year.) I love that—at least the way my family does it—they are all unique and have a different story and memory associated with them, and that after all this time we still tell them. Pictures have this same quality. Unfortunately in this digital age we so often exile photos to the Internet and never think of them again. We need to print more pictures. We need to put them on display and remember the memories they capture. That way, in the moments we’re feeling low or nostalgic, we don’t have to scroll through our phones and try to dodge the pressures of comparison, we can simply look up at our wall or on our desk or bedside table and remember a moment that meant a lot to us.

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3) Paper Chains

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By now this might be a rather outdated decoration, but I still love me some paper chains. More than anything, they remind me that I can make things with my hands and they don’t have to be perfect. These days with the constant access to websites and services that will do practically everything for you, it’s easy to forget that we have hands of our own built for crafting. Then again, with all the Pinterest wizards dominating the Internet, it’s easy to get discouraged when we try. But, like a paper chain, things we make by hand, whether it be home improvement projects, gifts, or a hot meal from scratch, it feels good to sit back and realize that you made it; that you put in the time and did it yourself.

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4) Snow Globes

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My sister collects Christmas snow globes and is always one to walk over and shake them in a store. I think they give her, and me, and most of the general population a minute or two just to breathe. With a few shakes we stand and watch the snow or glitter fall, listening to the song that winds down, and for a moment we’re transported somewhere far away. While this might be harder to do in the general chaos of life, we can always take a second to stop and breathe; to take in the sights and sounds and smells around us and just be in that moment, completely as it is, just as we would until the song ended and we put the snow globe back on the shelf.

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5) Christmas Music

I know, I know, this isn’t technically a decoration. But when you consider that Christmas music is playing from every speaker, everywhere you go, for almost two straight months, it kind of turns into one. Call it an atmosphere decoration if you will. Granted, this “atmosphere decoration” technically exists all year round, chameleoning to fit the designated atmosphere (i.e. “elevator music”). But there seems to be this general agreement that in November and December you only listen to Christmas music and in January-October you listen to everything but. As I elaborated in this post however, I say listen to whatever you want, whenever you want. Decorate your atmosphere with music that makes you feel good no matter what time of year it is and no matter what anyone else thinks.

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So, as you start to de-decorate your house in the coming weeks, try to remember what it is about the decorations that draw you to them. Is it the light? Is it the color? Is it the associated memories? Then go out and find it in the confines of an average day, or create it yourself. Magic is not dictated by a calendar, and neither is goodness or glitter for that matter. So spread it around and soak it in, no matter the season.

10 Christmas Gifts I Loved/Hated (As Told By Photos) (List-cember #5)

If you count today, there are officially 11 shopping days left until Christmas! Isn’t that crazy? Isn’t that disgusting? Isn’t that reason enough to start panicking?! Sharpen your pencils ladies and gents, because the answer is D: ALL OF THE ABOVE.

Yes, we are closing in on that day which—along with school picture day—we put away our pride and let a camera snap unflattering photos of us because we know it will make our parents happy. Is there a more awkward brand of picture than a gift opening picture? I think not. Is there a more honest picture than a gift opening picture taken early on Christmas morning? Again, I think NOT.

So, in the spirit of “can you just look at me and smile PLEASE,” let’s dive into a second edition of: Christmas Gifts I Loved/Hated (As Told By Photos)…hopefully by next year I’ll have a catchier title.

You can read last year’s here

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What I’m (Probably) Thinking Here: Okay now THIS—THIS RIGHT HERE IS AN OUTFIT. Listen Mom and Dad, I know it’s Christmas morning and all, but I can’t just sit around in this outfit at home. I have to get out there and start a dance crew. I’m gonna call up that guy Vanilla Ice Cream and see if he wants to collab.

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What (Probably) Happened Here:

Dad: I’m going to take a picture of the tree.

Me: Did you want a picture of my bracelet?

Dad: In a minute.

Me: Here it is.

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What I’m (Probably) Thinking Here: I’m not ready to be a mother.

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What I’m (Probably) Thinking Here: Eat your heart out, Laura Ingalls. I’m about to sport the HECK out of this denim.

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What I’m (Probably) Thinking Here: HELP! HELP ME. SOS. FLARE GUN FLARE GUN FLARE GUN. THIS BABY IS A DEMON AND IT HAS TAKEN MY MIND HOSTAGE. CALL THE POLICE. THE FIRE MARSHALL. THE PARK RANGERS. EVERYONE.

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What I’m (Probably) Thinking Here: HEY, SLEEPYHEADS! I got myself out of bed. I dressed myself. I sat myself nicely on this wooden stool so you can photograph me. I even set the camera up on a tripod because this is my best angle. The LEAST you can do is get up so we can open some of these presents.

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What I’m (Probably) Thinking Here: What? Like you’ve never slept in a stocking to try and get a peak at the big man.

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What I’m (Probably) Thinking Here: Okay so the little hand counts minutes? No. Wait. The little hand counts hours. So if the little hand is pointing at 12, it’s 12 o’clock. Wait, but it seems like the big hand is also pointing at 12 when it’s 12 o’clock. So does the big hand count hours? I’m screwed.

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What I’m (Probably) Thinking Here: This is a cool bike. I can totally ride this bike, right? This is a great gift. An amazing gift. A gift for the ages. And I’m excited, right? I’m totally excited.

What My Sister is (Probably) Thinking Here: She’s scared sh*tless of that thing.

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What I’m (Probably) Thinking Here: I’m super stoked about this jump rope I just got, but to be honest, I’m still raving about these sick pajamas I got for my birthday. Why is no one talking about The Lion King II? I thought it was a high quality film. And don’t even get me started on the music, I mean “One of Us?” “He Lives in You?” Talk about chills. But yeah, this jump rope is also pretty cool.

2017 Ornament Superlatives (List-cember #2)

Last year I introduced you to a few of my family’s noteworthy Christmas ornaments by handing out superlatives reminiscent of a high school yearbook. And since I went over to decorate my parents’ house last night, I thought it was only fitting to introduce you to a few more.

Thus, here is the second installment of Ornament Superlatives, enjoy!

(Also, in case you missed it, you can check out the first installment here.)

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Most Likely to be Missing a Piece

(or be some sort of break dancing angel baby)

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Most Likely to Have Eaten a Compromised Cookie

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Most Likely to Peek-At-Choo Gifts Under the Tree

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Most Likely to Have Just Found Out it’s an Ornament

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Most Likely to Have Glued a Beard on His Face to Try and Blend In

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Most Likely to be an Extra from Santa’s Vogue Photoshoot

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Most Likely to be Santa’s Mode of Travel When the Reindeer Get Old and Tired

(Hint: Foot Propeller)

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Most Likely to Give You Nightmares

(Note: This dethrones last year’s previous winner)

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Most Likely to Have Previously Topped a Cupcake

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ALSO: Most Likely to Make You Want a Cupcake

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Most Likely to Make You Wonder What a Llama Has to do with Christmas, then Make You Wish You Had a Christmas Llama of Your Own

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My Top 10 Christmas Movies (List-cember #1)

Hello and welcome back to the second annual List-cember!

In case you missed it last year, I dedicated my December to posts centered around lists. Some were Christmas themed, some weren’t, some will be returning for a second edition this year, some won’t. Regardless, I’m excited to bring you the second installment! I hope you enjoy and I hope you give me opinions on things you’d include if you wrote one of these lists. I’m all about the input, people, give it to me!

To kick us off, I’ve got somewhat of a controversial topic: Christmas movies. If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about people during Christmas time, it’s their devotion to watching what they consider THE BEST Christmas movies. And if there’s one thing I’ve noticed about these kind of movie watchers it’s their tendency to debate over why they think their Christmas movies are THE BEST. Now, I’m not here to debate, really, I’m more just standing here with my list and a white flag saying, “these are my opinions, and I totally respect yours.” But if you have a Christmas movie you love that I didn’t include, please let me know. Because if there’s one undeniable fact about Christmas movies, it’s that you can never watch too many.

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10) National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

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I’ve really only seen this movie a handful of times, but it’s one of those that I constantly forget how funny it is until I watch it again. It’s Chevy Chase in his prime and it’s one of my dad’s favorite movies, which makes it that much better.

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9) The Year Without a Santa Clause

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This is a classic from the 70s where Santa wakes up with a cold after Thanksgiving and decides not to deliver presents that Christmas. Instead he sends out two of his elves to figure out if anyone still cares about Christmas or even believes in Santa anymore. I realize that the way I’m describing it makes it sound totally depressing but it’s not. (At least not all of it.) It’s got cute characters and catchy songs that I’ve been singing my entire life, so if you haven’t seen this one, I highly recommend you check it out!

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8) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

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This is another classic that’s undeniably adorable. We all know the story of Rudolph and how he saved the day—or rather, Christmas Eve night—but this gives us some backstory on the little guy, including his friendship with an elf named Hermey and his run in with the Abominable Snow Monster of the North (no relation to King of the North, Jon Snow.) Fun fact: There is a point in the movie when Rudolph yells, “I’m cuuuuuute!” and my family quotes this approximately 30 times a year.

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7) To Grandmother’s House We Go

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If you were anything like me as a kid, you were OBSESSED with the Olsen twins, so it’s really no surprise that the girls’ Christmas film holds a firm place in my top 10. In this story, the girls overhear their mom saying she needs a vacation, so they sneak onto a UPS truck in the hopes it will take them to their grandmother’s house. Mind you, the girls are only about six years old, so this causes some panic among multiple parties, but it’s undeniably cute and makes me smile every time.

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6) The Grinch

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I can already cross this one off my “to-watch” list this year because my roommates and I watched it while decorating our house the other day. It had actually been a few years since I watched it and I forgot how good Jim Carrey is in it.

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5) It’s a Wonderful Life

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This is one of those movies that always makes you think a little bit more about how lucky you are to have what you have, especially during the holiday season when the general mindset is focused what you want. I think it’s an important one to watch each year, if only to hear Jimmy Stewart yell, “MARRRYY.”

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4) A Christmas Story

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I take it back, this is probably my dad’s favorite Christmas movie. We’ve undoubtedly watched this movie upwards of 20 times in my life and we still laugh at all the same parts. Recently, I got a flat tire and I thought of the scene when Ralphie drops his infamous F-bomb, and while I’ve never had much of a dirty mouth, it still made me very grateful my mom rarely bought bars of soap. Fun fact: my family actually owns two bb-guns like the one shown in the movie and we break them out every Christmas to shoot old ornaments. Additional fun fact: no eyes have been shot out…so far.

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3) Love Actually

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I’ve been trying to stop myself from getting cheesy and saying I actually love this movie, but, well, anyways. I do love this movie and I watch it every year while I wrap presents. It makes me laugh, it makes me cry and it gives me all the warm fuzzies. Also, Hugh Grant’s dancing scene is one of my favorite things that’s ever happened in a movie.

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2) Elf

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At this point, it has to be almost impossible to make a Christmas movie that can hold up among the oldies, but Will Ferrell managed to do it a few years back—woah, I just googled it, and this actually came out 14 years ago, yikes—and I think it will forever be regarded as one of the best Christmas movies ever made.

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1) The Family Stone

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I know, I know, this one has got to be a little bit of a surprise for most people. As far as I know, my family is the only one that consistently watches this EVERY year, sometimes more than once during the Christmas season alone. But it is undeniably my favorite Christmas movie and probably one of my favorite movies of all time. I don’t even know what it is about it, maybe it’s just the place it holds in my family’s heart. But we laugh and laugh and cry and cry every year as if we’ve never seen it before and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Last Minute Christmas Shopping Tips (List-cember #7)

I have always loved Christmas shopping. I love the paper, I love the bows, I even love the ribbons that take me 15 times to curl. And since it is less than 4 days until Christmas, a.k.a CRUNCH TIME, I thought it would be helpful to give you some tips on finding the best gifts.

Not to brag (and by that I mean, listen up, I’m about to brag) but I’ve finished my Christmas shopping. My presents are already wrapped and under my tree! (Brag over) I was way ahead of the game this year! (Woops, sorry, now the brag is over) But that doesn’t mean I can’t relate to the struggle and panic associated with the week of.

In years past, I’ve often found myself in the 20’s of December, pacing around the mall and/or my living room, very calmly asking myself, “WHAT THE &*%# AM I GOING TO DO?!?!?”

As fun as it is to send yourself on a downward spiral of worry and panic however, it kind of ruins the magic of the gift giving season. So whenever I reach that point in my shopping experience, I return to these steps:

 

1) Relax

Seriously, start by just breathing in and out, for as long as you like. (Or until you pass out, but that’s not recommended) Then, remember that there is no “perfect gift.” There is no be-all end-all present you have to find amongst the thousands of red tags in order to retain a healthy relationship with whomever you’re shopping for. Take careful note of the cliché, “it’s the thought that counts”, and then move to step 2.

 

2) Reminisce

I often like to shop for people one at a time. So once I’ve picked a victim loved one to start with, I’ll open up an imaginary slide projector in my mind and scroll through all of the memories and conversations I’ve shared with them over the past year, to see if anything stands out. Even if I can’t come up with anything specific, I’ll take concepts and inside jokes and look for gift ideas that relate.

 

3) Visualize

When I get an idea of something I might want to buy for that person, I visualize what their reaction will be like. Will they laugh? Will they cry? Will they roll their eyes (in a good way)? How do I hope they’ll react?

 

4) Add to Cart

I’ll admit it, I’m a big online shopper, but this step can apply to both web and in-store searching. After I find what I want, I’ll stick it in my cart and just let it rest there for a little while, giving me time to repeat steps 1-3. Now, I realize this is more difficult when you’re shopping on the last few days before Christmas or, say, Black Friday, because there are hundreds of other hungry shoppers willing to fight you for whatever the item(s) in question may be. But it’s a general rule (and by general rule I mean, THIS SHOULD BE OBVIOUS YOU CRAZED ANIMALS) that once something is in your cart, it’s yours. So for the most part, you shouldn’t have any prying hands. Just stick it in the cart, let the prospect of the purchase marinate, and do a lap.

 

5) It’s okay to crunch numbers

Anyone worth giving a gift to will not care how much you spend on it. Take note of where you are financially and don’t put yourself out just because you think you have to. If times are tough, sometimes the best gift is company. Just take the time to go see them, give them a call, write them a letter, anything that says, “I appreciate you,” because in the end, that’s the core of gift-giving.

 

6) Be proud of your gift

There have been so many times when immediately after I’ve bought something, I convince myself it’s the stupidest idea ever, especially once I see or hear about a gift being given by someone else. That’s way better than mine. It’s way more expensive. It’s way more adorable. It sparkles. Etc. Etc. Etc. But then I think about how, no matter what gift I am given, I’m always filled with gratitude, and gratitude is one of the greatest feelings in the world. So be proud of the fact that you’ve put in the time and effort to help someone you love feel it.

 

6) Go ham on wrapping

I’m a perfectionist, so I often spend a lot of time trying to make a gift look as clean and nice as possible. However, sometimes it’s best to just kitchen sink it and wrap it with whatever you can find, in any way you can muster. Some of my favorite materials I’ve used in a pinch are aluminum foil, paper towels and staples.

 

7) Be thankful for their “thank you” and don’t expect anything in return

It’s extremely easy to walk into a gift-giving situation with your ego high and your expectations higher. You are proud of the gift you’ve bought and are expecting something good in return. Truth is, you’re just setting yourself up for failure. Take time to appreciate the gratitude they have for you and learn to love that more than anything they may give you in return.

 

I wish you all the luck in your last minute shopping endeavors, and more importantly, I wish you a very Merry Christmas!

 

Miss a List-cember post? Find them all here.

10 Christmas Gifts I Loved/Hated (As Told by Old Photos) (List-Cember #6)

We all know that it is incredible to receive a gift, of any shape or size, from anyone. And while oftentimes that gift is marvelous, we’re all occasionally going to get pink bunny pajamas (or the figurative equivalent.)

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Regardless, there will always be a family member close by waiting to take your picture, and asking you to show off said marvel and/or bunny pajamas.

For me, my dad is always that family member. And it turns out that when you take my general disdain for having my picture taken and mix in the pressure of having to instantly love a gift that’s been given to me, it makes for some pretty amazing photos.

Here are 10 of my favorites:
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What I’m (Probably) Thinking Here: HECK YES, Mom & Dad! An Abu stuffed animal AND an Aladdin book?!? I’m so happy I might…well…actually, can we take a bathroom break?

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What I’m (Probably) Thinking Here: Honestly, has anyone ever seen me wear yellow? Soooo not in my color wheel, y’all.

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 What I’m (Probably) Thinking Here: Do any of these amazing ladies have bangs quite like mine?

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What I’m (Probably) Thinking Here: OH NOW THIS IS A COMFY CHAIR. Dad, I know you like your recliner, but this makes my butt feel like it just won the Superbowl and is now going to Disneyland. Seriously, you should get one of these for yourself.

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What I’m (Probably) Thinking Here: Awww yeah, baby. One step closer to completing my collection, which will no doubt be valuable FOREVER.

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What I’m (Probably) Thinking Here: Does this jacket make my hips look big?

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What I’m (Probably) Thinking Here: At what point did I grow a beard and start taming reindeer? What in the ho ho ho am I supposed to do with a plate?

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What I’m (Probably) Thinking Here: Woody!! Buzz!! Forget “Andy’s coming!” because Kim. Has. Arrived. and I will totally accept you for the talking toys you are.

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What I’m (Probably) Thinking Here: Mom, Dad, you get me. You really, truly get..zzzzzzz

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This next one isn’t a post-gift reaction, but more of a strategy to make sure the photo of which will have no reason not to be outstanding.

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What I’m (Probably) Thinking Here: Ignore her big guy, I’ve been good and I’ve got a long list for you. You might want to grab a pen…

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Here’s to another wonderful season of gift giving and incredibly unflattering photos taken way too early!

Miss a List-cember post? Find them all here.

2016 Ornament Superlatives (List-cember #3)

One of my favorite parts of decorating for Christmas is opening up our boxes of ornaments and finding that they (almost) all survived another year in garage captivity. This year, while pulling them out one by one, I got a feeling reminiscent of a principal watching all of their seniors graduate. There they were, all my little babies, fulfilling their potential on the branches of our tree. I WAS SO PROUD. And like any graduation, I felt it was appropriate to hand out class superlatives, here are the results:

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Most Likely to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse

(Because yes, that says Kim’s 1st Christmas, and if you can survive 25 years in a box in the garage you can truly survive anything.)

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Most Likely to Ask You Your Favorite Color or Serve You the World’s Greatest Cup of Coffeead7c627d-b5d6-4d28-ba27-0cc85041d2fc

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Most Likely to Make You Go “AWW” (Happy 26 1/2 years Mom & Dad!)a72deae0-9674-419c-8827-d6a80e9133a7

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Most Likely to Send Me into a Rant About My Glory Days (4th Grade)8bcce25a-c414-4256-a36a-5c93fc37bcc4

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Most Likely to Ignite an Endless Stream of Movie Quotese61ff1f3-9f52-4c64-9abf-7add180c1227

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Most Likely to Leave You Moo-ing Christmas Carols

 (because yes, it moos them when you squeeze it.)

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Most Likely to Arrive in Your Mailbox When You Write to Santa in June13f9317d-98f4-41ea-bd57-8b4b2ac95eaa

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Most Likely to Give You Nightmaresbe3e52f1-f54a-41ea-8142-a3fbf52ba4ca

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Most Likely to Pose the Question: “Where is Pooh’s Shirt?”64930edb-51a8-4a54-8462-8c3e573ea75c

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Most Likely to Have Been Made in a Rush to Get a Christmas Cookie67dfffc7-4f9a-4d0b-b0d2-5e0d4f395b09

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Most Likely to Make You Laugh After a Few Spiked Eggnogs1180a537-3aff-4d87-b21f-4c4007c02984

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Most Likely to Have Voted Yes on the California Marijuana Propc210c5bb-b98b-428e-9074-e1e2a04df485

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Most Likely to be the Greatest Ornament My Toddler Sister Ever Made and My Loving Mother Decided was Worth Keeping Forever, Even Though it’s Legitimately Just a Round Piece of Cardboard with Minor Purple Accents,  a Hole Punch, and a Ribbon, Though, Now That I Think About it, That Really Does Make it the Greatest Ornament Ever Made, and Kept, and Discussed at Length Every Year with Maniacal Laughter and Eye Rollsf3174a29-13b0-435b-9439-68ab4fcef1e3

Congratulations to all the graduates. I’m so proud of you and can’t wait to see where the future takes you. (Spoiler Alert: It’s probably our tree.)

Miss a List-Cember post? Find them all here