Twelfth Week of Christmas: “MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!”

IMG_0913The day has finally arrived! After waiting all year long it’s once again December 25th! I hope this blog post finds you happy and healthy and enjoying your day so far.

This past week was the final week of advent. I finished up some Christmas shopping (it’s a good thing the holiday is here because I kept thinking of stuff to get people and kept buying), went ice skating in the city (see image), and got started on the Christmas festivities!

Tuesday was my last day of work for both jobs and I had a mini-Christmas party at both. The first we went and got drinks and relaxed before we took the rest of the week off, and the second we exchanged gifts at the end of the day as we were heading home. It was nice to see other people excited about the holidays besides just me!

Yesterday was Christmas Eve and my family and I continued our holiday traditions by going out to breakfast in the morning and then bowling. In the evening we went to Christmas Eve mass and my family came over for dinner and we all sat around the tree opening presents. That is probably one of my favorite parts of Christmas. The build-up to the big day. Obviously as I’ve gotten older, it’s not quite as exciting since I’ve been desensitized with the reality that life goes on (depressing, isn’t it?), but I still try each year to get as excited as I can for the holiday, and I think that makes all the difference.

Well, it’s been quite a ride as we countdown to another Christmas. I want to personally thank you all for stopping by the blog this Christmas season and celebrating the spirit of the holidays with me. Each year the blog gets more and more visitors and this year is no exception, so thank you.

Merry Christmas!

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Eleventh Week of Christmas: “Christmas in 1849”

IMG_0889One week from today is Christmas Day! Are you all ready yet?

This past week was filled with even more Christmas activities with the family. Saturday my family and I visited an historic village that was putting on a Christmas tour of what the season looked like for those who lived in 1849—the year New York State declared Christmas Day a holiday. It was interesting to learn that a lot of people weren’t happy with that decision because it didn’t explicitly say that Jesus was born on December 25th.

Previously, December 25th was a day the pagans celebrated the winter solstice and so the Christians feared that the government was forcing pagan beliefs on them. Also, non-Catholics were upset that the Catholic tradition of celebrating Christmas would be forced on the other religions. Another fear was that the holiday would become too secular. People would go into debt to buy Christmas gifts or decorate their homes without remembering the true meaning.

The tour stopped at eight different places: a family home of those who were upset about the declaration of a holiday, two stores, an inn, a church, a mansion—where we were read A Visit from St. Nicholas (or, as it’s more popularly known today, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas), a meeting house where young people were looking for mates and participating in a dance, and finally, a house where a family had decided to put up their first Christmas tree, complete with candles and everything. It was a nice trip, and the houses were warmer than I expected.

After the tour, we went to a restaurant that we always visit around the holidays since it’s completely decorated for Christmas. Each year they have a contest where they choose an object and put it everywhere and guests have to guess how many there are. This year the object was stockings and the winner will receive $500 cash.

Sunday we made cookies. Sugar and chocolate cherry. Of course, we won’t be able to eat them until Christmas Eve, and we’re not done making them—two more batches this coming weekend!

Enjoy the last week before Christmas! Soak up the season as much as you can!

Tenth Week of Christmas: “Christmas in the City”

IMG_0875The Christmas celebrations keep rolling on! This past week was spent spreading the holiday cheer and embracing the festivity!

Last Thursday I finished up my Christmas shopping. I spent way too long and way too much, but it was worth it cause I finished it (well, I think…).

Friday I spent all day wrapping.

All.

Day.

Long.

Talk about exhausting. I only stopped so that I could go to my town’s annual Christmas in the City. This year was the first year they had a holiday parade featuring floats from area fire departments and town staff. It was a little short and not very well planned, but it’s only the first year. I’m sure each year it will get better. But, what I am impressed with is how creative some groups got with their floats. The above photo is a snowman attached to a snowplow to make it look like he’s getting plowed out of the way. Others included full bands on the floats and firemen acting as reindeer for a firetruck. The leader even had a red nose like Rudolph!

Saturday I spent in the next town over participating in a holiday 5K run called “Jinglin’ All the Way 5K.’ My friend and I dressed in our holiday attire (ugly Christmas-sweaters, jingle bells on our shoes, and fuzzy winter hats) and ran the 3.1 miles scoring 52nd and 53rd out of 300. Not too shabby for only our third race! The run was supposed to coincide with the town’s tree lighting ceremony, but unfortunately the timing didn’t work out so we missed it. There’s always next year!

This coming weekend is packed full of even more holiday festivities and I can’t wait! What have you been doing to celebrate the season? Did you town have any Christmas celebrations?

Ninth Week of Christmas: “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”

IMG_0872Black Friday marked the official start of the Christmas season. While some celebrated by braving the stores to go Christmas shopping and others decided to stay in and heat up some leftover turkey or pie, I spent my Black Friday with my brothers and my cousin. We went ice skating, and for people who haven’t really ice skated in their lives…it was an experience (especially when the six-year-olds were flying by us like pros).

That following Saturday we decorated the house for Christmas. We tend to over-decorate, but it just shows our holiday cheer!

The day after that we spent all day putting up the Christmas tree. We experimented with white garland with white lights (previously we only had color lights with blue garland). Plus we moved the tree to in front of the window, so now the house shines even brighter from the outside. The tree is stunning. The white lights really make it pop.

What do you prefer on your tree, white or colored lights?

Eighth Week of Christmas: “Happy Thanksgiving!”

Happy Thanksgiving to my followers from the U.S.! The next major holiday after today is Christmas! Less than a month left now! How are you all celebrating Christmas?

Last weekend my family and I went shopping for clothes so that my parents could have something to give me on Christmas day. We also decided to put up the tree this weekend! December is filling up fast for us with Christmas activities and before we know it the day will be here! Enjoy it while it’s here.

Tomorrow is also Black Friday, which officially starts the Christmas season (although I’m sure we’ve all been starting it a little earlier…).

This week we finally turned on Christmas music at work, which, of course, spurred all kinds of conversations about which songs are the best, if they’re starting too early, and whether pop stars should record Christmas albums or not.

For those of you who will be enjoying a nice big turkey dinner today, enjoy! Have some pie too!

Seventh Week of Christmas: “Snowvember”

BackyardFor those of you who live in the warmer parts of the country (or the world) you may not think of snow when you think of November. Instead you’re likely thinking about turkey and pies and whether or not they’re playing Christmas music too early. But for those of us who live in the snowier parts of the world, November is basically another part of winter. 

This week has been an eventful one for Buffalo, NY as it has once again made national news for the extraordinary amount of lake effect snow it has accumulated in just 24 hours. Being that I live near Buffalo, I experienced some of this phenomenon.

The photo I posted last week was just the start. It had barely started then, tapering off as the weekend hit and really coming to town on Tuesday, hitting areas south of Buffalo the hardest. This image is of my back yard, with only two feet of snow (compared to the nearly seven feet places like West Seneca experienced). 

Needless to say, this weather was a good way to start winter and the holiday season with a bang! Check out this BuzzFeed post for more images of the places that were hit the hardest. 

Sixth Week of Christmas: “Let It Snow!”

Snow!Another week, another step closer to Christmas! This I have seen a conversion of sorts. This year, one of my best friends will be celebrating the Christmas season on her own for the first time. She has her own apartment and last weekend she sent me pictures of her putting up her Christmas tree and other decorations. She used to be a staunch believer in only-after-Thanksgiving celebrations. But it seems her independence has converted her!

In other news, my mother started her Christmas shopping Tuesday. Every year she starts shopping on Veteran’s Day. When do you guys start yours?

Also Tuesday, I went to work at my second job and heard Christmas music on the radio. This, of course, prompted the whole debate among my co-workers on when Christmas should be celebrated (same story every year…).

This morning I woke up to snow softly falling. It’s barely anything, but the forecast calls for low temps for the next ten days, so that’s exciting! I was so happy about the snow that I listened to Christmas music on my drive into work today.

Hope you’re all enjoying the entry into the Christmas season, as well as the posts on this blog!