Tag Archives: christmas

First weekend of 2012

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Weekends in my life are often filled with more work or homework than anything else, so when I manage to mix it up a little, I’m so so happy. This was one of those weekends, and it looked something like this:

Thursday: After work I met up with my friend Melanie for a lovely evening of shopping, dinner, and relaxing at my place. She got me into the show Big Love WAY BACK when it first started, and we had promised each other we’d watch the SERIES finale together at the beginning of the summer. We never made the time for it, but she came over after shopping, I made us some hot chocolate and we finally finished watching the show together.

Me shopping for wine glasses (I was thinking of getting that big bowl as a wine glass, what do you think?!), some shared Thai food for dinner, and Mel hopelessly trying to park her parents’ van close to the curb at my house. Ha!ย 

Friday: I had the entire day off (yay!) and slept until almost 11am which felt AMAZING. At around one in the afternoon my brother came over to pick me up & we ended up spending almost the entire day together. This has only happened a few times in the last couple years, and I completely forgot to take lots of pictures! Besides pictures of my nephew because seriously he’s the cutest.

Healthy lunch courtesy of my sister-in-law!ย 

Playing on his Baby Einstein piano!ย 

Saturday: Although I worked all morning, I got to finish an hour early (hurray!) so that I could come home and finish wrapping presents for my belated Christmas party.

I celebrate every single holiday with my girls, and although we didn’t have time actually DURING Christmas-time, we made a point to get together this weekend. We spent the night taking pictures of ourselves in our ugly Christmas sweaters, eating a TON of food, playing some games, and of course opening PRESENTS ๐Ÿ™‚

The six of us in front of the Christmas tree! I’m 2nd from the right, sporting a lovely train/Christmas tree button up sweater!ย 

Sunday: Basically spent the whole day relaxing, catching up on TV, organizing some things in my room and all around being superbly lazy. It was fantastic! ๐Ÿ™‚ After dinner I headed over to my neighbors’ house and watched her 6 year old son, D, for a couple hours. He entertained me with about 5 different games in 2 hours, and then we read some books before I put him to sleep! Ended my night with some much needed reading time and, of course, one last mug of tea (gingerbread spice! So good!)

I drank tea nonstop all day, my friends got me 10 different kinds on Saturday night! Yummmyyy. ๐Ÿ™‚

Making snow cones with the Snoopy Sno Cone machine!ย 

How was your weekend? What did you get up to?

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Christmas Wrap-Up

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I can’t believe Christmas is already over! This time of the year always just flies by, but it amazes me every time I go to sleep on the 25th. Luckily I get to enjoy a little extra holiday time on January 1st, because that’s the day that my mom hosts a huge family brunch at my house. I also have quite a few holiday parties coming up in the next two weeks, so I can still enjoy the holidays a little longer- but the crazy work days are slowly coming to an end, and life is going to be getting back to normal before I know it.

I had a really lovely weekend with family. I always have the best time when I see them (which is pretty often), but there’s always some added awesomeness when Christmas trees, extra yummy food, and presents are involved! Also when we have excuses to make my nephew look cuter than normal:

On Christmas Eve, I worked until 4:30 (the longest shift of my life) and then hurried home to get ready for my first family dinner. I headed over to my brother and sister-in-law’s house who were hosting for the evening. It was my family as well as my SIL’s best friend (and her 10 year old son and mom), so overall not a huge event, but lots of fun anyway. We spent the night talking, relaxing, EATING, and we opened a few gifts.

My nephew’s first stocking! Also included: the blue Santa hat he’s wearing in the first photo.

So much delicious food! My SIL is a seriously good cook.

He doesn’t look super happy in this picture, but I needed a shot with him in his cute little suit!

We stayed at my brother’s house until around 2am. Earlier in the night I got to babysit my nephew and I put him to sleep- he slept for SEVEN HOURS- and then we just hung out as families do. All around really lovely evening that is lacking pictures because I basically forgot to take them. I was too busy relaxing ๐Ÿ™‚

I got to bed pretty late that night and I was up before 9am on the 25th- I have NO idea why. We decided to only do our gift exchange after dinner on Christmas day, so I literally had all day to just relax. My mom and I ended up doing our gift exchange together in the morning, and my mom spoiled me with lots of awesome clothes. Now I just need a place to go!

ย 8:30am on Christmas day in one of my new outfits!

I spent the rest of the day relaxing, catching up on Top Chef, cleaning up a little bit, and all around enjoying my first day off in a LONG time. I had to finish wrapping my presents for that night as well, and actually had lots of fun doing it! Around 6:45pm, my brother and SIL came over and opened a gift that my mom got for them- a huge playpen for my nephew! She didn’t want to bring it all the way to my SIL’s parents house, so they got their big gift here. Afterwards we all headed out for more yummy food and lots of present-opening.

I wear my Santa hat each year because I give the gifts out during our exchange ๐Ÿ™‚

This time it was just the close family- there was only 6 of us- so we enjoyed lots of quality time together, laughing, playing with my nephew, and obviously eating.

Gifts under the tree! Or basically gifts in the living room… We may have spoiled the baby this year.

Playing games with his daddy! (AKA trying to tire him out so he would go to sleep- it was 10pm!)

We un-wrapped presents until around midnight, and everyone (ESPECIALLY my nephew) got super spoiled. My family made sure I got some spending money for my trip to Orlando in February as well as some gift cards to go shopping before I leave. We also all got a gift card from my SIL’s mom to go eat out together at a super fancy restaurant, so I’m definitely looking forward to that! My brother gave out a bunch of souvenirs from his trip to Brazil- he bought a bunch of stuff from underprivileged children who create things with the few materials that they can find- so we all really loved those gifts a lot.

Finally, on December 26th, I got to sleep in! It’s been too long. I woke up just past 11 and got ready to spend the afternoon with two of my best girls. We went over to my friend Kate’s apartment and she made us a super delicious brunch, and then we just talked for like 3 hours. We were GOING to watch a movie, but of course, we got carried away in our chit-chatting. We clearly need to hang out more often!

How were your holidays? Did you get spoiled? Spent lots of quality time with family?

And Breathe.

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Even though I finished school a week ago, I’ve still been a busy bee. Between working full time at complete random hours, trying to do my Christmas shopping, blogging, reading blogs, watching some TV, sleeping and basically just every day nonsense, I feel like I have no time to just breathe.

Even though I’m more or less blogging every day, I don’t feel *present* around my blog. I love writing, and I spent a lot of time preparing posts before the New Year comes, but this weekend I’m going to take a well-deserved break from writing and posting… And just breathe.

I’m looking forward to completing the craziest work week of the year and spending enormous amounts of time with my family in the next few days. I just want to be able to have a few days where I don’t worry about ANYTHING before I get back to school on January 2nd because right now, even though I’m done with school, I’m still feeling overwhelmed and anxious. I haven’t completely settled down after a super hectic semester.

So, with that, Merry Christmas to you and I hope you also enjoy some relaxing time with family this weekend! I know that I’ll be stepping away from my computer for a little while and I’m very much looking forward to it. Next week I want to get back into the swing of things… I have lots to share already and I know I’ll have even MORE once Christmas is done!

For now, I’m off to bed to read a little bit (something I haven’t been doing much of in at least a month!) in anticipation of tomorrow- the last day of work, and the beginning of the holidays for me. I have a little bit of Christmas wrapping left to do but other than that I am free as a bird! It feels fantastic. ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy holidays!ย 

Lessons in Christmas Shopping

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As Christmas comes closer, my work-place becomes crazier. Now, it’s not just weekends that are filled with hectic shoppers- all hours of every day of the week are just plain nuts. I’ve been working in retail for 4 years now, 3 years at my current job and 1 year at a previous place… But both stores have taught me SO much about customer service. I often get really bitter around the holidays because it’s the time of year that as employees we are most mis-treated. People take out all of their stress and problems on customer service representatives… Probably without necessarily realizing it.

Luckily, there are some really amazing people out there who make the days better. Over the years, I’ve learned to deal with the customer service craziness, especially around the holidays… I thought I might share some of my wisdom with the world & see what you all think about shopping at this time of the year!

1. If you shop anywhere between November 1st and January 1st, expect it to be busy. It’s not the employee’s fault that there is a huge line-up, it just happens. So take a breath, grab a magazine, and wait your turn.

2. If you are in a store and need help, that’s fine. Just remember that a lot of other people do too, and interrupting an employee as they help someone else is frustrating.

3. If you’re in a rush and need something in five minutes or less, it’s not the store’s fault if you’re late. Shop earlier. ๐Ÿ™‚

4. This might be the most important. Don’t be rude! Even if you have a million questions, if you’re NICE, you will be helped a million times faster and more happily than if you’re just shouting out random things and hoping to get an answer. My favorite is when someone walks up to me and, without saying hello, just tells me the name of what they are looking for. This irritates me a lot. Don’t be that person.

5. Try and be as helpful as you can to the salesperson when Christmas shopping. If you’re looking for specific items, come with a list prepared so that you don’t forget half of the information when it comes time to being helped. The color of the item and the first word rarely help.

6. If you’re not sure what to buy for certain people, salespeople are usually quite good with recommendations. Important- try and have some background info about the person. A “really popular item” doesn’t usually cut it. Who are you buying for? What are their likes and dislikes? Hobbies? Similar favorites? These things help. Provide your salesperson with information.

7. Be understanding about time constraints! It’s Christmas time, many people need help. Salespeople can’t necessarily dedicate 100% of their focus to you, even if they truly WANT to. Lots of customers need help and, more often than not, they need it RIGHT NOW. Be cool about it. It’s so helpful.

8. Long line-ups on December 17th-24th are inevitable. If you complain to a salesperson, you will not get their sympathy. Remember you’re probably the millionth person to make the obvious comment that it’s a long wait. If you’re being funny about it and aren’t actually upset, that’s more fun!

9. If you’re looking at a product but don’t want it anymore, try and put it back where you found it. This isn’t ALWAYS possible, but don’t put it one shelf over because you’re too lazy to walk back 5 steps. This happens regularly. On top of customer service non-stop, salespeople have to deal with the constant mess. It makes our lives about 100x more difficult to keep everything clean and shoppable. If you can’t remember where you got something? It happens! Just leave it with a clerk.

10. SAY THANK YOU and SMILE when you get good service! Letting the salesperson know that they were helpful brightens their day ENORMOUSLY. I can tell you from experience that a genuine thank you and ‘that was exactly what I needed’ means a lot.

I hope that if you read this, you’ll think twice before being rude while Christmas shopping. Just remember, if it’s stressful for you, imagine the people working who aren’t allowed to be snappy, rude, and often don’t get nearly enough break-time from the chaos.

Happy Christmas shopping, don’t forget to ENJOY it!

What kind of Christmas shopper are you? What good points of advice have you learned over the years?

Christmas Time!

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I think most people will agree that Christmas is the best part about winter. I mean, that’s the only explanation I can think of as to why on December 26th I immediately hate the snow, the cold and the early afternoon darkness. I’ll admit that each year I’m usually a little bit late to jump in on the holiday-cheer-wagon. Here’s why:

1. I’m usually in school until the week before Christmas
2. That often means I leave most of my shopping for that one week
3. I’m probably more stressed than the average person due to last minute shopping
4. I work in retail
5. I have to deal with crazy people for almost 3 months… Because I work in retail
6. I get yelled at a lot in November/December.. Because I work in retail
7. Have you ever worked Boxing Day in retail? If yes, I don’t need to explain further. If you haven’t, I hope you’re not one of those people who tries to return their Christmas gifts on the 26th. NOBODY does returns on the 26th! No one!
8. Constant Christmas music. I love a Christmas song as much as the next person, but on a loop for 8 hours at work? Not cool.
9. The stress of how much money to spend and who to buy for.

I’ve been working in retail for four years now, and I can honestly say that it puts a little damper on my Christmas. It’s not easy working a job where everyone dumps their stress on you as they attempt to get all THEIR shopping done, while I am stuck leaving all of mine for December 20th.

THAT being said, I still love Christmas. I love the holidays as a general rule, but this year I’m trying my best to look past all the usual stress to enjoy all the amazing little things that only come around for a few months. I’ve become really bad at ignoring all the *little* things that I actually adore about this time of the year:

1. Holiday drinks: coffees, teas, hot chocolates, you name it. I love it.
2. Decorations! I love looking around at all the lights and things that people put up. My mom ย is a huge Christmas decorator- always has been- and I love how my house slowly transforms into a place that Santa would be proud of. ๐Ÿ˜€
3. ย Spending day after day with family!
4. So. Much. Yummy. Food.
5. Christmas cards! Strangely enough, my family isn’t big on these, but I LOVE them. I worked at Hallmark for a year when I was 18 and have since had a totally new appreciation for giving/receiving cards.
6. I’ll take any reason to have a tiny break from school. Those two weeks are heavenly.
7. That feeling when you wake up on December 25th
8. That similar feeling when you wake up on January 1st
9. The feeling of setting up new New Year’s Resolutions (I really like goals, you guys)
10. Christmas log cake. SO GOOD.

I think it’s pretty clear that there are a lot more awesome things about the holidays than non-awesome ones. As November comes to an end, I’m promising to be more holiday-spirited throughout December. It’s time to enjoy the whole month like I should, instead of just those two weeks where I’m out of school!

What are your favorites and non-favorites about the holidays?!