The Merriest of Days

What better way to start off the week than by recapping one of the most marvelous days of the year?MiMM

On Christmas Eve we drove to Orlando to celebrate the evening with family. We went to Christmas Eve service before eating a delicious dinner. On the table: ham, salmon, lasagna, roasted vegetables, salad and sweet potatoes.


The weather has been warmer than normal for this time of year so we were able to eat dinner outside by their pool. Gotta love Christmas in Florida!

After dessert and some present-opening, we drove back home and got ready for Santa ;)


No matter how old I get, Christmas morning is still so magical. I hope to never lose that feeling. It was just the four of us for the entire day and it ended up being pretty perfect. As for gifts, I guess I was a very good girl this year. I feel very lucky…I’ll keep it at that.


I do want to share this ornament I gave to my mom (a personal trainer and wine lover) because I loved it…

After a very lazy morning, my dad and I went for a quick run before dinner. We had an early dinner (3:30) of leftover fish, ham, salad, sweet potatoes and watermelon. I specifically requested the last item, if you didn’t guess. Even though we were in casual clothes and eating a hodgepodge of food we used our nice Christmas china so it felt fancy.


Following dinner we played rummy 500 and then joined in with the rest of America and streamed The Interview. It may have been the dumbest most anti-Christmas-spirit movie ever. A few laughs but I’m sure glad we didn’t pay to see it in theaters.

The excitement is still hanging around here because my birthday is tomorrow (finally 20!) and my mom’s is on Sunday.

I hope you and your family had an equally wonderful day.

What did you eat for Christmas dinner?

What was your favorite gift that you GAVE?

Christmas Survey

As Christmas approaches I thought it would be fun to complete a holiday survey inspired by Amanda! Enjoy!

Do you send out Christmas cards?
My family sends one out every year. I’m actually in charge of making them (not hand making, just designing online). My sister and I fight over which Christmas cards we get to open from other people.

How soon do you start shopping?
I would say sometime in November. But I have a note in my phone where I jot down ideas year round.

Do you put up a Christmas tree?
Absolutely! I “decorated” it via FaceTime this year.

If so, is it fake or real?
Real. When we lived in New Jersey we had one real tree with our sentimental, fun ornaments and one fake tree that looked like it belonged Pottery Barn catalog.

Do you use homemade or storebought ornaments?
A mixture of both. One year my mom decided to forgo all of our store-bought ornaments and MAKE every single one. We made dozens of angel closepins, strung popcorn, glittered pinecones and used tinsel. It was very “nature-like.” We went back to normal the next year ;) But we still have some of those angel closepins that we use today.

Do you put Christmas lights outside your house?
Yes, on the trees.

Do you put lights on the tree?
Yes. That’s my least favorite job. Isn’t it everyone’s? My mom is a pro so I let her handle that.

How about popcorn and cranberries?
See above for our “nature” themed tree.


Do you celebrate Christmas Eve?
Yes! We go to mass (usually the children’s mass because my sister and I like seeing all the cute little kids), eat a delicious, traditional dinner, watch a holiday movie and go to bed early. The earlier we go to bed, earlier we wake up, of course!

Do you hang up your stocking?
Before it gets filled, yes. Once it’s filled, it gets moved to the couch.

Have you ever left cookies out for Santa?
Umm…I still do…believe to receive. Although, over the last ten years Santa has started leaving specific requests for what type of cookie he wants. Picky, picky.

Favorite Christmas Movie?
Elf and The Year Without A Santa Claus

Favorite character from any Christmas Movie?
Following in suit with my favorite movies…Buddy the Elf and Heat Miser & Cold Miser.

Favorite Christmas Song?
“Mary Did You Know” and “Do You Hear What I Hear”

Favorite Christmas Memory?
So many it’s hard to choose! The one that sticks out in my mind is when my sister and I walked down the steps (I was in 5th grade) and there were NO presents under the tree. Instead, there was an envelope with clues as to where the presents were hidden. It was a scavenger hunt! I was kind of annoyed at the time that I had to work for my presents, but looking back, it was such a cute idea (thanks, mom :))

My cute puppy in his Christmas collar

My cute puppy in his Christmas collar

When do you open your gifts?
Christmas morning- EARLY. Well, 7ish.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever gotten?
My first American Girl Doll (Kirsten) was really special. That was in 1st grade, I think.

What’s the worst gift you’ve ever gotten?
UGH- business clothes. Like a literal work suit. Those were returned ;)

Give or Receive?
Give. It’s so much fun to watch loved ones open up special gifts.

Ham or Turkey?
I prefer turkey but we usually have roast beef on Christmas Day and fish on Christmas Eve.

White Lights or Colored Lights?

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

The Evolution of a Christmas List

Even though I posted a Christmas wish list last week, we’re changing directions today and talking about the meaning behind the list. Let’s start out with a little Christmas timeline, shall we?

0-3 years old: I have a really good memory, but not this good. My mom tells me stories of how she would re-wrap old toys for me to open. She said the baby/toddler years were very cheap!

3-7 years old: I started tuning into Christmas. I would write elaborate letters to Santa, ask him questions about his year and end the note with one big gift request. I remember asking for a playhouse, my first American Girl Doll and Britney Spears everything during that period.

7-11 years old: I got smarter. I realized that Santa does a pretty darn good job at picking out gifts so maybe I could get a little more specific (and greedy). Now I didn’t just ask for one thing…I wanted a karaoke machine AND an American Girl Doll in one year. A gymnastics mat AND a digital camera.

The fact that I'm sharing this photo means I really like you guys

THE karaoke machine. The fact that I’m sharing this photo means I really like you guys

At the latter end of this time, I learned the truth about Santa. It kind of changed my Christmas demeanor for a while.

11-15 years old: I was a Christmas list making professional. I would start weeks in advance and make a PowerPoint presentation (with links to exact products). I set VERY high hopes for Christmas morning and may or may not have cried after opening gifts. Whether I was crying because there weren’t anymore gifts or because I didn’t get what I want, who knows. But I placed a very heavy importance on the gifts.

15 years old-now: I get it. I get the meaning of the season. I am very strong in my faith and was raised in the Church, so it’s kind of embarrassing to admit that it took me that long to embrace the reason for the season. But Christmas is about so much more than just the presents now. While I still have wish lists and usually ask for one big-ticket item a year, I don’t expect (or want) to receive everything. More than anything I LOVE seeing other people open gifts that I picked out for them. It doesn’t have to be expensive, in fact, some of the best gifts aren’t. One year I had all of our home movies turned into DVD’s (instead of the ancient videos) so we can watch them regularly. Another time I bought an ornament and wrote a special quote on it for my parents.

DSC_1003Over the years I’ve thought less and less about what I want and more about I can do for others. The things I ask for now are practical, and dare I say boring. Workout clothes, yoga packages, running sneakers, cooking ware (?!), bras, and underwear. I was tempted to even ask for a gas card so I can take a few weeks off from paying for that, even though it’s so cheap now.

I still have a Pinterest board of “wish list items” because I’m human, it’s fun to dream, and in all honesty, I am fortunate enough that my family gives a big gift or two every year, so a list is helpful for them. But seeing my family smile, laughing together, and making memories will forever be at the top of my real list. Those things make me more excited than any present ever could.

What is on your real list this year?