Archives for posts with tag: christmas

Call this the clip show of my blog.

Here we have a Dilbert cartoon that completely describes my workplace.  It’s hanging up in my cube and it does make me chuckle even though I’ve read it 134 times.

Vulcan Tool Co. is close to my house so one day I decided to take a picture of it.  My husband says that he heard there was a fire there in the early 1900s and people died as a result.  So it’s most definitely haunted, of course.

So here I am getting ready for a meeting to start at work when I look up to find my name on the board.  So odd, yet it cheered me up.

One of the loveliest things about St. Anthony is that they light the Christmas star around Christmas each year.  However, I snapped this picture in June…

Just because my holiday posts have been a shade too heavy, I’ll share my favorite video ever.

No matter how hard I’ve tried to create a happy holiday for my family this year, the glaring omission of my father’s presence keeps undoing all of my hard work.  I didn’t know if I’d want to talk about it but I took a decongestant and now I’m as close to high as a good kid can be so here goes.

The memories I have of my father during Christmastime wouldn’t exactly make it on the Hallmark Channel.  The most prevalent memory is the annual emotional roller coaster of attempting to put up the fake tree and decorate it in the same space as the football game.  He would help for about two seconds and make a big deal out of detangling the lights down the hallway before grabbing another beer and sitting back on the couch.  We had these 12 days of Christmas ornaments and so we’d frequently sing the song as we’d find them, always completely out of order (now that’s definitely Hallmark Channel material).  Dad would get increasingly angry because he couldn’t hear absolutely ALL of the clever comments by the sports announcers.  After a few more minutes of this Cold War-style stand off in volume, we would pack up and I would end up finishing the decorating after school one day alone.  In fact, after my sister and I moved out, they never put up a tree again.

After Dad got sick, Christmas took on a new poignancy and he became much more interested in spending time with us.  I started having Christmas morning at my apartment, which really seemed to take the edge off since he didn’t have to witness the decoration in progress, only the finished result.  We’d all open our presents to each other, drink coffee, eat coffee cake (homemade by me!) and spend time together laughing and enjoying each other’s company.  Those might actually be my favorite Christmases because we were all happy and grateful.

Dad’s favorite part of Christmas, other than receiving presents, was watching us open our “big” present (big appears in quotations here because what made it big was not the price tag or the literal size of the item, but rather how much involvement he had in picking it out).  Before we had the first piece of wrapping paper off the box, he was already explaining how he watched the price for weeks and ended up getting it for a song, “I won’t tell you how much I got it for but it was originally ___.  Ok, go ahead and ask me how much I got it for, go ahead.  I have to tell you, it was ___, can you believe it?  Amazon didn’t earn their profit from me that day, that’s for sure.”  No matter what reaction you had, it was never as excited as he was hoping you’d be, I guess he was comparing it to my reaction to receiving a Barbie car when I was 5 or 6…  I loved knowing all of the research and time that went in to picking out my gifts, my parents are awesome at that.

I think the last Christmas memory I’ll drag out tonight is the earliest one I can remember.  It was dark and cold with snow flurries and Dad took me to go pick out the tree (we had living trees during my early childhood).  I don’t remember if he strapped it to the roof of the car or what but I remember afterward, he let me sit on his lap and steer the car in the parking lot, although I’m pretty sure my mom wouldn’t have been happy at all about that.  I remember he thought it was hilarious, though.  He had a great sense of humor.

It’s so hard not having my dad here to spend Christmas with us, but I know a lot of people have an empty chair or two this Christmas and it’s not just us who suffer.  I’m sure we’ll have a Merry Christmas, even if it is mixed with pain and loss.  We still have so much to be grateful for – gainful employment, my new house, our relative health, our pets (who provide hours of entertainment), the family members we have left, food on the table, It’s a Wonderful Life on DVD…I could go on for days like this.

When you are having Christmas morning for your family, what’s the worst a pretty bad thing to happen?  You could get sick!  Like me!!1!  So in lieu of any actual content, here are some of my favorite pictures I’ve taken with my iphone from the past few weeks prepping for Christmas and working.  Someone pass the Mucinex-DayQuil-laced egg nog, please and thank you.  Also, Merry Christmas to the Christians, Catholics, and festive atheists, Happy Hanukkah to the Jewish people, Blessed Yule to the pagans, Happy Kwanzaa to the African Americans, and have a great non-celebratory coincidental family gathering to the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Yes, I think that about covers everyone… oh and Happy Festivus for the rest of us.  Anyways, no matter what you believe or why you’re celebrating or not celebrating, I hope everyone reading this has a wonderful and peaceful holiday season.

My family had a birthday party for me last night and the highlight of the evening had to be when I opened a present from my grandma that she bought at the dollar store – a collar and hat for Julia for Christmas!  It was tricky getting her to wear something so humiliating but she calmly let us take a few pictures before ripping it all off.  My mom captured my favorite one and posted it on her blog, Pets Jubilee.

I’m so sick of hearing people refer to this time of December as “last minute” concerning Christmas shopping.  I grew up in a household where having all of the shopping done by December 23rd was regarded as a win.  And honestly, shouldn’t the rule be if you have time for online stores to ship to you (non-expedited), you are still within timely shopping parameters?  So for all of us last minute punctual shoppers, here are some neat ideas.


For anyone, really:

Wall Garlands

These are adorable wall decals (available from the store Twine) that can frame an important photograph, quote, or maybe a wall outlet or light switch.  Wall decals in general are great gift ideas for friends who live in apartments with rules against painting or using nails.


Build Your Own Camera Kit

I can’t hardly believe how cool this is.  The kit allows you to build your own camera and take photos using the same cool effects we fake using Instagram. Priced at $38.00, this kit is available from Twine.


For your girlfriend, or a girl who’s just a friend; for your sister; etc.:


Just buy…well, anything from Ruche and she’ll love it.


For your coworker, Secret Santa, people you don’t like but to whom you are obligated to give presents:

Table Top Garden

Gardens are relaxing and this little kit from CoolStuffCheap brings the garden to your coworker’s desk.  It’s a neat idea and around $20, thereby satisfying your obligation to join in on the office Christmas party this year.


Chrome Kinetic Desk Toy – Thing

I think no desk should be without one.  Also available from CoolStuffCheap but only $9!


For anyone very close to you who (really?) still doesn’t have an iPhone:

iPhone 4S

So he will stop borrowing yours every time he wants to check the score or find directions or update his status…

I’m a huge fan of Christmas so I prepare my family’s stockings each year and have Christmas morning at my place.  This year I have a new house to celebrate in and I noticed that on the mantle, there are metal hooks already in place to hang stockings!  Now I can fill them as heavily as I want – I used to have to keep it in check because I used pushpins when I lived in apartments.

I have a million stocking stuffer ideas and even though I would love to, I can’t use all of them each year (note to self:  Next year everyone gets TWO stockings, mwahahaha!).  So here are some of my favorite ideas:

For women and girls:

Lip Stains

Lip stains are really popular this year and for good reason:  One application can last up to 8 hours so just reapply some clear lip gloss throughout the day and you’re good to go!  My favorite is called KissInk from mark. which is the hip offshoot of Avon.

For men and boys:

Aveda Men Products

Men are not always eager to try new hair products but they might when they smell the Aveda for men line of products.  Aveda offers travel sized mini-products that are perfect for stocking stuffers.

For kids:

Drinking Glasses

Such a cute idea.  Just fill the glass with something that won’t get the kid too hyper and let the fun begin!

For couples/newlyweds/new homeowner:

Address Labels

I have been buying address labels from Avie Designs since 2008.  The designs are always fantastic!  This stocking stuffer requires a little advanced planning in that you will need to know the person’s address ahead of ordering.

For anyone:

Fountain pens

Pilot 90010 Varsity pens are disposable and therefore inexpensive but you could certainly find the refillable variety.

Recycled Circuit Board Bookmark

These are so neat and useful!  Available from DebbyAremDesigns of Etsy.

It’s taking me a lot longer than normal to get into the holiday spirit so I’m trying to inspire myself with pictures of my Christmas tree last year.  It really was lovely…

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