christmas

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:

.

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.)

c7b22daa-8fd3-4721-8e21-c571d115c3d0

.

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

.

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

.

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

.

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

.

Most Likely to Leave You Moo-ing Christmas Carols

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

ddfbac01-75bf-416c-9ec7-4fb1d5a221b4

.

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

.

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

.

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

.

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

.

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

.

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

.

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

Top 10 Christmas Seasonal Products (List-cember #2)

Oftentimes it’s the greatest things that are stamped with two of the worst words in the English language: Limited Edition. And with the Christmas season now completely infiltrating department stores, TV Channels and radio stations, leaving few seconds of the day without a twinkle, a jingle, or a ho ho ho, it’s important for us to take advantage of the LE benefits associated with this otherwise intimidating time of year.

So in the hopes of preventing you from missing out on some of the best things this season has to offer, here is a list of the top 10 Christmas Seasonal Products.

Enjoy them while you can, as often as you can!

10) Snow Globes512161ce-c381-4636-b976-cfedeabb9eb7

One could argue that these are not actually seasonal because they are sold year round, but those spring/summer/fall knockoffs almost always contain glitter rather than snow, and they are not and will never be called “glitter globes”, so let’s just agree to agree because there’s no disagreeing with that fact. Speaking of facts, my sister buys a snow globe from Target each year and they’re adorable.

.

9) Winter Oreos
I love these because they give me (what I consider to be) a valid excuse* to buy Oreos.

“Oh look! They’re Christmassy! Must have.”

*Note: I use varying versions of this excuse whenever Nabisco releases a new flavor, changes their packaging, and/or Target moves them over one aisle.

.

8) Starbucks Red Cups2jukhstm-2500-1667

I’m not a coffee drinker, and if I’m being really honest, my favorite product from Starbucks is their old fashioned donuts, but this doesn’t negate the fact that I love their seasonal cups. They always find a way to summon me through the double doors for a hot chocolate. Speaking of which…

.

7) Hot Chocolate

I get it, this is another “glitter globe” situation, but let’s not waste time arguing. Let’s just agree to agree to believe that hot chocolate tastes best when the world is cloaked in tinsel and reindeer, when your breath is fogging up the air and you’re standing there trying to look wintery and adorable when in reality your hands are numb and your forehead is itchy as hell from the trendy beanie you’re wearing, and when you pile a warm mug high with marshmallows before sitting down to watch Frosty the Snowman with your family, only to immediately burn your tongue, causing the rest of the Christmas season to be essentially flavorless, but also great and magical and the stuff dreams are made of.

.

6) Fiber One Pumpkin Bars

Have you ever wanted to participate in the pumpkin spice phenomenon of fall/winter but don’t want to do so in an intense way (i.e. lattes and cookies and cereal and candles and underwear—probably) and are looking for your “dip toe in pool” opportunity? This is it.

WARNING: These contain addictive properties, thus causing the healthy and balanced 90-calorie promise to be void once you’ve had 5 in 5 minutes…

.

5) Christmas Albums

Much to the chagrin of Apple iTunes and music providers everywhere (because I know they work endless hours every year solely to earn my $8.99) I don’t often buy new Christmas albums. Ever since I was little my family has had about 6 CDs we’ve turned to for our Christmas music, and so I usually just stick to those. However, I can’t deny that I love seeing all the Christmassy album artwork popping around come December. This year some of my favorites feature Brett Eldredge tossing a shimmery ball to himself, Kacey Musgraves wearing earmuffs, and Pentatonix dressed as the only group of carolers I ever hope come a’ knockin’ at my door.

.

4) Christmas Themed TV Episodes

I briefly thought about doing an individual post about “the best Christmas episodes ever,” but after doing some brief research, I found lists far more entertaining and comprehensive than mine would have been, so I’m going to let those writer’s keep doing what they’re doing. That being said, here are just my top 3:

4c) New Girl – The 23rdtumblr_lw71xajcmt1qgjybho2_250

The end of this episode just makes me so happy. The friendship, the lights, the undeniable Christmas spirit of strangers who had every right to be upset that Jess & co. showed up on their street in the middle of the night, screaming for them to turn their Christmas lights back on, it’s all magic.

4b) Friends – The One with the Routine
friends-routine

Need I say more?

4a) Saturday Night Live – Jimmy Fallonjimmy-fallonI have always been a big fan of everything Jimmy Fallon does, so I was over the moon excited when I heard he was coming back to host the Christmas episode of SNL in 2011. Naturally, he exceeded all my expectations and gave me all the joy.

.

3) Love Actuallylove-actually

I know, I KNOW. Glitter globes. I get it. Yes, you could watch Love Actually every day of the damn year if you wanted to, but it’s just not. the. same. They make so many “but it’s Christmas!” references throughout the film, causing you to always walk away with some “but it’s Christmas!” plan for you own life, thus making any other viewing period sub-par than Christmas time.

.

2) Christmas Cookieschristmas-cookies

My family has an entire day in December (which not-so coincidentally is this Saturday) dedicated to baking family cookie recipes, making me an expert on this subject, and qualifying me to make the following statement: Christmas cookies rule all and you can never eat too many*.

*Yes you can, and in doing so you will almost certainly wake up at 2 a.m. and spend a solid hour kneeling on the bathroom floor in your snowflake pajamas regretting everything, while simultaneously looking forward to doing it all again next year.

.

1) Ritz Snowflakes

To be honest, these are the entire reason I wrote this list. I could have easily just called it “The One and Only Christmas Seasonal Product You Will Ever Need, Ever”, then pasted a picture of these and went on my merry (Christmas) way. But then I decided that they’re not really the only thing you will ever need, ever, they’re just the only product I’d run up and down the aisles at the grocery store searching for after the first of December. So, I just made them number one and worked my way down, ultimately resulting in The Greatest List of Christmas Seasonal Products You Will Ever Read, Ever (if I do say so myself.)

.

Have any Christmas season staples you turn to come December?

Let me know!

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

The Perfect Christmas Gift

Every Christmas, those in my family who are 18 and over draw names from a hat for the annual gift exchange. Or at least that’s how it’s supposed to work. The truth is we all cheat based on ideas we’ve formulated throughout the year so that the gift giving process will be smooth and fun. This year, I drew/completely chose my Aunt Tracy, because I had an idea that was sure to wow.

Flashback to 2 months earlier.

I’m on Pinterest at 2 a.m. browsing craft ideas, going through my usual process of saving and skipping. DIY bookshelf? Save. DIY leather pants? Definitely SKIP. Suddenly I see it. A craft that is not only “doable” but perfect for a fun, personal gift. I look at the calendar: 11/28, I’m way ahead of the game.

Over the next couple weeks I shopped around looking for supplies, very conscious of the impending due date, yet lacking a stitch of worry for its steady approach. As with every December, this one was chock-full of events with family and friends and I found myself without a lot of time or energy to take on my “wow factor” project. At times I wondered if I should pursue a new idea, however these thoughts were always immediately squelched by daydreams of her unmatched adoration for the final product.

Flash forward to crunch time.

Suddenly I can count the days until Christmas on one hand and my project sits at only 30% complete. My calm confidence has become panic, and my daydreams have become nightmares. I picture myself handing her a tragic excuse for a gift. I see disappointment in her eyes and my family shaking their heads. I have to finish this, and it has to be perfect.

I reach out to my dad and explain the situation: project not done, Christmas soon, SOS, 911 please.

Thankfully he agreed to help and the next day I brought all of my materials into work, ready for after hour assembly.

“What exactly are we making again?”

“A personalized, Guess Who game board.”

images

(Remember this guy from your childhood?)

“Cool, let’s do it.”

So, after everyone had left, my dad and I spread out all our materials, took a seat, and dove straight into chaos.

After noticing early on that the materials I bought greatly differed from those displayed in the tutorial, we found ourselves having to get very creative. At one point my dad mcgyvered a hinge with a paper clip and some pliers, at another I almost super glued a wooden dowel to the floor. What started out as a quick assembly turned into a 4 hour long production of innovation and silent whimpers. And after some additional improvements made at home that night, as well as some clutch work put in my dad the next morning, the final product sat on the kitchen table, ready to be wrapped. Like any perfectionist, I could note a handful of improvements to be made but when we arrived at my Grandpa’s house Christmas morning, I knew it was time to let everything go.

Flash forward to the first rip into the shimmering paper.

My aunt cautiously tears away strips, slowly revealing my biggest stress of the holiday season. She flips the board upside down, awakening all the faces of her family members. She coos, laughs, and smiles at me wholeheartedly.

“I absolutely love it!”

That night, as I felt the last minutes of Christmas tick off the clock, I lay thinking about the past few weeks. About all the panic and dread. About when she tore off the paper and I saw nothing but love in her eyes. It was at that moment that I knew that even if the entire thing had fallen apart in her lap she still would have loved it. In that moment I had no worries about whether the gift was perfect or not. All I knew was that I was thankful to have a family I love so much, that inspires me to drive myself crazy in the hopes of making them smile, and I was thankful to have a family that loves me so much, that both embrace my imperfections wholeheartedly, and are there to help when my whole idea falls apart.

 

 

(The link for the tutorial I found is: http://www.almostmakesperfect.com/2015/01/07/diy-guess-who/)