Things I Love Thursday: Twinkling Lights & Chilly Weather

It’s been a while since I’ve posted one of these.  I could say I’m not sure why I haven’t kept up with it, but that wouldn’t be very honest of me.  I just been feeling so “meh” about everything lately, so it’s been difficult to do even the things I really do want to do, such as write and blog and create.  But, I’m trying.  And this is a perfect day to post such a list.  Here we go…

  • Spending time with family.
  • Homemade chicken and dumplings.
  • My grandma’s pea salad.
  • Cupcakes!
  • Iced sweet green tea with raspberry (a new Starbucks favorite).
  • Fireball cinnamon whiskey in cream soda.
  • Watching my kitties play with their Christmas presents.
  • A nice Christmas day phone conversation with my super-amazing friend Cynthia.
  • Twinkling lights and chilly weather.
  • City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare.
  • Playing with my dad’s dogs.
  • Giving gifts.
  • Painting my nails dark green with a red glitter coat over the top.  So festive!
  • Having a log on the fire.
  • Hozier’s “From Eden”.
  • Watching Guude play Alien: Isolation.

What’s on your list today/this week?  I hope anyone reading this is having a beautiful holiday!

Holiday Activities and Traditions

Today I want to talk a little about the holidays, particularly holiday activities and traditions.

Here at my mom’s and step-dad’s house, the tree is decorated per their tastes.  Therefore, it is covered in tropical and beach-themed ornaments.  There are Santas in Hawaiian shirts, on surfboards, and in beach chairs, glitter-covered shells, glass whales, crabs, seahorses, and fish, flamingos, a cruise ship, a sand castle, and lots of other things.

Christmas 2013 013

For many years now, we’ve drawn names to see who we will each buy for.  I know a lot of people with big families do this, but it began for us out of financial necessity, and is something we’ve just sort of stuck with.  That may change in the future, but for now it’s become one of our traditions.  There’s a budget we’re all supposed to stick to, but we can buy as many or as few gifts as we want with the set amount (and of course depending on what the person we each buy for has on his/her list).

My twin sister Chantel and I are particularly enthusiastic about finding small gifts and snacks for the stockings, so most of the stocking-stuffing is done by us.

On Christmas Eve we gather, five of us including my step-dad’s mother, and have a simple meal or a variety of appetizer-type foods.  Chantel and I are usually in charge of desserts, and we also typically like to do a festive drink as well.

After we eat, we get to empty our stockings, open presents, and enjoy our time together.  It’s a simple and quiet affair, but one that is enjoyable and fun.  Besides, Chantel and I also have our dad and his side of the family to visit as well.

Christmas day is usually reserved for just spending time together, relaxing, and having a special meal.

Besides the family festivities, there are certain things I like to do every winter/holiday season.  Here’s a list of some of the things I’ve already done or plan on doing to celebrate Christmas/winter:

  • Drink hot cocoa
  • Bake yummy desserts
  • Go Christmas shopping
  • Mail Christmas cards
  • Listen to my Christmas music play list (I love holiday music!)
  • Wrap presents
  • Watch holiday movies (some of my favorites are Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Elf, Love Actually, Look Who’s Talking Now, Jingle All the Way, How the Grinch Stole Christmas [the movie with Jim Carrey], and Scrooge [the musical version with Albert Finney]).
  • Drive around looking at lights

What about you?  Do you and your family and/or friends have any special holiday traditions?  What are your favorite things to do during the winter?  Got any favorite holiday songs or movies?  I’d love to hear about them!