Friday, December 19, 2014

Happy to be Alive, Because: It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

the happiest season of all

If there's ever a time that makes me over the top happy to be alive, it's Christmas time. 

1. The Macy's Day Parade at Universal. This is tradition, and whatever day we do this on ends up being one of my favorite days of the year. This year was no exception.


A small note about the above picture...I have recently discovered that if you take a picture of me A) after 10PM or B) After 8PM on a day that was full, I will look like I've had too much to drink. So that's fun. 

2. Tonight is mine & Christopher's annual Christmas date night. We go to the mall and split up so we can buy our last presents for each other. It turns into a fun game of avoiding each other and pretending we didn't buy anything. Then we have dinner and celebrate how freaking fantastic the week of Christmas is. 

So yes, I'm voluntarily going to the mall on the last weekend before Christmas. Glutton for punishment over here. 

3. My week has been full of playing Santa. Making lists and shopping and wrapping and mailing...I love buying presents!

4. Christmas music. Can't stop, won't stop. I've been going strong with the Christmas music since midnight on Thanksgiving, and I'm not even close to sick of it yet. 

5. Because Christmas is in six days. If that's not a reason to be happy, I don't know what is. 

Why are you happy to be alive this week?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fitting Christmas into One Week.

Sometimes, Christmas sneaks up on you. And that can either leave you feeling panicky over all you have to do, or leave you super bummed and feeling like you missed out on the holidays. Maybe you had plans to make homemade Christmas decorations, or throw a super sequined Christmas party, or something else to ensure this was the greatest Christmas ever.

We've got a week until Christmas--it's not too late! Here are ten things you can do to fit all the cheer of the season into one week, making sure you get your fill of celebrating.



1. Christmas movies. Nothing gets me feeling festive quite like Christmas movies. If you feel like you haven't gotten your fill of the season, watching movies that are full of celebrating the season can fix that. If you need some suggestions, click here.

2. Christmas music. Make yourself a Christmas playlist and blare it non-stop for the next seven days.

3. Make your to-do list festive. You have to buy and wrap a billion presents in the next seven days? You have to clean your house for company? So what. Make it festive. Do it while listening to Christmas music and sipping on a peppermint mocha.

4. Do a Christmas Story devotional. Take some time in the mornings to remind yourself of what Christmas is all about.

5. Make Christmas cookies. Take one night (or afternoon!) this week and make some Christmas cookies. Put on a Christmas movie or Christmas music in the background, and there's nothing more festive!

6. Buy A Christmas tree candle. This year is my first year doing this--I've always had a fake tree, but now I have a fake tree and my house smells like I have a real tree. It's hard to not feel all warm and fuzzy inside when your house smells like a Christmas tree.

7. Go look at lights. So you didn't quite make it around to decorating this year--that doesn't mean you can't go look at other people's decorations! Print off this list and go enjoy the lights! Even if you do this on your way home from running errands, it's sure to put you in a Christmas-y mood.

8. Have your own Christmas party. Miss out on Christmas parties this year? Have your own! Get dressed up and meet your friend for a drink somewhere festive, order dinner in for your family and watch Elf, or just take yourself on a coffee date. It doesn't have to be expensive and well-planned to qualify as a Christmas party.

9. Celebrate Christmas Eve. I will never understand people who don't celebrate Christmas Eve--it's two holidays for the price of one! I grew up always celebrating Christmas Eve, and I love it just as much, if not more, than Christmas itself. So if you don't normally do anything out of the ordinary on Christmas Eve, change that this year. Celebrate!

10. Do the one thing that you do every Christmas. What's the one thing you always do at Christmastime? Bake a certain kind of dessert? Decorate a tiny tree? Buy a new ornament for your tree?

No matter what it is, do that one thing. Of course you're busy--it is the week before Christmas, after all. But you do have the time to do what's special to you. It may mean staying up a little later or waking up a little earlier, but it's worth it. Do something that makes Christmas feel like Christmas for you. 

What are you doing to celebrate this week? 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Christmas Letter to You.

A Christmas Letter

Dear you,

I hope that this Christmas is one of your best yet. I hope that you spend this next week surrounded by people who love you fiercely. If you can't, I hope that memories of those people hug you tightly this week.

I hope that you take time to remember what this season is really all about. I hope that if you haven't really been celebrating this season, that you celebrate to the fullest this week.

I hope you allow some of the wonder and curiosity left over from childhood to shine through this week. I hope you allow yourself to believe that there's some magic left in the world, even if it's just for this week.

I hope that you choose to not let stress weigh you down, no matter how many presents you have to wrap, no matter how many miles you have to travel.

I hope that if this Christmas is hard for you this year because of someone you lost in 2014, that you tell someone. I hope that you choose joy over grief and precious memories over tears.

I hope that you give back this Christmas. Whether it's with your time or your money, whether it's food or a smile, I hope that you get to experience the joy of giving.

I hope that you make this Christmas special for you. I hope you don't let the pressure of the expectations of others change what you do this week. I hope you spend your time how you want to spend your time, that you see the people you want to see, and that you avoid all adult responsibility as much as possible.

I hope that your Christmas is filled with all things merry and bright, with love and joy and magic, with glitter and confetti and wrapping paper with your favorite forest animal on it.

I hope that you laugh at Will Ferrel parading around Central Park in yellow tights, that you tear up a little when Linus reads the Christmas story, and that you fall asleep each night warm, happy, and full of magic in the glow of a Christmas tree.

I hope that this Christmas is magical for you. I hope it goes down in the books as one to remember. Merry, merry Christmas, you beautiful soul.

xoxo

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

So You Still Haven't Bought Your Significant Other A Gift...

Some people are easy to buy for, and some are difficult to buy for. And sometimes, the ones that should be the easiest to buy for end up being the most difficult to buy for. Say, your significant other, for example.

We all know how this goes. You're convinced that this year will be the year you get your boyfriend/fiance/husband the best gift ever. But then somehow it's the week before Christmas and you still haven't bought it--nor do you know what it is.

If you find yourself in that position, here are some ideas to help you out.

christmas gifts for your boyfriend

A Year of Dates. 

Why it's a good gift: It gives him a chance to go on dates all year long without having to plan or pay for them.

How to pull it off: Buy 12 big envelopes. Think of 12 dates he'd like to go on in 2015, then pre-pay for all of them. Label each envelope a separate month, and stuff them with a note about the date and then the money or cards for the date.

For example, you could do drinks and appetizers in January, take-out and a Red Box movie in February, a movie and dessert in March, etc. So at the beginning of every month, he'll get to open an envelope that has a date already planned out, plus cash or gift cards to pay for the date!

A Scavenger Hunt. 

I did this for Chris on our second Christmas together, and it was such a fun night.

Why it's a good gift: It gives you a chance to be sentimental, plus it's an activity and not just a second of sitting down and opening up a gift.

How to pull it off: Think of all the places around you that are special to your relationship: Where you had your first date, where you had your first kiss, your favorite place to get coffee or ice cream. Make up different "clues" for all those places.

At each place, give him a small gift and a note about why that place is special to you. It makes for a fun night of reminiscing and opening presents!

A Scrapbook. 

Why it's a good gift: It's a keepsake that's special to just you guys.

How to do it: At first glance, this is no easy task. But trust me, it's not at all as complicated as you may think.

Send tons of photos to be printed at Walgreens.  Then, head to the nearest Hobby Lobby and buy a scrapbook. Next: The sticker aisle. Grab alllll the stickers you like. The more, the better. Then go down the scrapbook aisle and throw everything you like in your cart. Swing by Walgreens on your way home, and voila, you're basically finished.

Throw it all in the scrapbook and call it a day--it's impossible to make it look bad when you use fancy stickers. No one will ever know you're not a scrapbook pro.


Greeting Card Memories. 

Why it's a good gift: It's a super creative way to reminisce on the time you've spent together. 

How to pull it off: If you want a simpler alternative to scrapbooking, this is a winner. Grab cheesy greeting cards for all the holidays you guys have spent together--birthdays, Valentine's day, Christmas, all of them. Then write your favorite memories in them and put a picture of you guys inside. 

You can get really creative with this one. A happy Valentine's day card with your favorite memory from your first Valentine's day together, an "I miss you" card with a list of pros and cons of your long distance relationship, a "get well soon" card with a memory from when he took care of you when you were sick. Add in pictures and it's a super sweet, super creative gift.

Fix a Problem. 

Why it's a good gift: You know the things in your life that you are vaguely aware that you need, but you also know that the chances of you buying them for yourself are slim? Those are the kind of things I'm talking about. It makes a good gift because it's not something he would buy for himself, and it's something he actually needs--and guys are weird, they like getting gifts that they actually need.

How to do it: Think back over the last few months--what did he complain about? If he's always complaining about his computer screen being dirty, get him a laptop cleaning kit. If his shoelaces on his favorite shoes are dirty and frayed, buy him new shoelaces. If his car has black leather seats that feel like the surface of hell when he drives home from work, buy one of those windshield guards that keeps the car from getting too hot.

Alone, those don't seem like great gifts. But if you can make a little collection of gifts like that, it can be a thoughtful present that's incredibly useful.

Have you bought your significant other a Christmas present yet? 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Favorite Christmas Movies to Get You in the Spirit of Christmas!

If you can't tell by now, let me just spell it out for you: I love Christmas, and I love Christmas movies. Here are some of my favorites:

Elf. 





Do you get the fact that I'm obsessed with this movie yet? It's my favorite. If you've never seen it, I feel so sad for your life. Nothing says "Merry Christmas" quite like watching Will Ferrell parade around New York City in yellow tights.

Favorite quote: "You sit on a throne of lies. You don't smell like Santa, you smell like beef and cheese." 

The Grinch. 



This movie never gets old. I always forget how funny it actually is! We watched this after we decorated our tree this year, and we laughed so much. It's a must-watch every December. 

Favorite quote: "Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more." 

The Holiday. 



Jack Black and Jude Law in a heart-warming movie about Christmas? Pass the popcorn and the tissues, please.

Favorite quote: "In the movies, we have leading ladies and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason, you're behaving like the best friend."

Home Alone. 



I love Christmas movies that make me laugh--and this one never fails to do that.

Favorite quote: "Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal!"

A Charlie Brown Christmas. 



I cry every time Linus reads the Christmas story.

Favorite quote: "That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

Polar Express. 




I'm not a huge fan of animated movies, but this one is absolutely incredible.

Favorite quote: "Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see." 

What are your favorite Christmas movies?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Happy to be Alive, Because: Hot Cocoa Bars & Elf.


1. Christmas memories. We went to see the tree lighting last week, but ended up getting caught standing in the rain.While that normally would have been frustrating, it's hard to get mad about something when there's a gorgeous Christmas-tree all lit up like magic in front of you.

2. Hot Cocoa Bars. 


My mom and I set up a hot coco bar for a Christmas party on Tuesday, and it was adorable. And delicious.

3. Elf.


This is how we ended our weekend--with the greatest movie ever. Have you watched it this season yet?!

4. These pens. You need them. You'll love them. Buy them immediately. I got a brand new pack on Tuesday, and I can't stop journaling and making to-do lists, simply because these pens are so fantastic.

5. Christmas in love. I wrote about it yesterday, but MAN...I love spending Christmas with my partner in life. Sneaking around to hide presents from each other, having someone to share the late night drive home from Christmas parties with, and a billion other things that make my heart feel like it's just going to explode with love. Spending Christmas with my best friend is just my favorite thing in the world.

What made you happy to be alive this week?