Christmas Traditions

One of my favorite things about the holiday season is learning about other family’s traditions. It’s fascinating that so many families celebrate the same holiday in such different ways. As a kid, I was so stuck in my own traditions. It hasn’t been until recently that I realized that not everyone celebrates Christmas exactly like my family does.

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My family traditions are very special. Most of my family resides in Pennsylvania, so we all head up to my grandma’s house. My parents met in high school, so both of their families were born and raised in the same area. That makes it easy to see both sides of the family during the holidays.

Every year, on Christmas Eve, we head over to my Aunt Linda’s house to celebrate with my Dad’s side of the family with a true Italian Seven Fishes Dinner.

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Obviously most of our time is spent eating, but we also find time to open presents, and drink fuzzy navels.

This year, on Christmas morning, my brother and I completed our 5th Annual Chrismas Morning Run.

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I got the chance to try out my new Under Amour gear!

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Compression pants = baller. It was a pretty rough run. We only did 3.2 miles, but my lungs were burning after the first mile. After that, my body started to remember what it was doing and I felt better. I really need to start running again.

After that, my mom’s side of the family started showing up at my Grammy’s house for a 2pm Christmas feast.

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Now, you are all well aware of my picky nature. Typically, for Christmas, my grandparents buy me cheese bread and I fight with my younger cousins about who gets more. This year, I went above and beyond and ate ham, corn, mashed potatoes, and scalloped potatoes…along with a slice of cheese bread (some traditions just can’t be broken).

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It was all so good that some of us (aka my cousin Eric) had to lick the plate!

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Then we all gathered around and opened gifts. Every year, all the grand kids take a picture with the grandparents.

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I ❤ my family.

Christmas was my Pappy's favorite holiday. He was such a grouch, but he absolutely adored Christmas. He loved the little holiday toys that played music and danced. So, every year around this time, it's impossible not to think of him. One year, my Aunt Renee, found a black Christmas hat that said "Bah Humbug", she wrapped it up with some coal and gave it to him on Christmas day. We all got a huge laugh about the hat and agreed that it fit his personality to a tee. The hat became a Christmas day tradition.

Last year, the hat stayed in storage. But this year, the tradition was passed down to the next lovable, grumpiest in the family…ME!

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I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to carry on this family tradition.

We all ate cookies. Lots and lots of cookies. Oh and fudge. Lots and lots of fudge.

And drank frosty navels. Lots and lots of frosty navels.

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And got to spend lots of time catching up with my awesome family.

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Oh, and my Pandora bracelet is almost complete!

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What a wonderful holiday! I love celebrating with family and friends who I just don’t get to see enough of.

What are your holiday traditions?

My “Grown Up” Christmas List

This weekend I came to the realization that it’s freaking DECEMBER already. And you know what that means! It’s time to hang those lights, decorate the tree, eat a metric ton of cookies, and listen to my *NSYNC Christmas album on repeat at an obnoxiously loud volume! I did all 4 this weekend.

As proof, here’s a photo of my painfully small tree.

This season brings about that inevitable plethora of holiday commercials with annoyingly catchy jingles. While watching football this weekend, I saw the same one for Walmart about 40 times. While I don’t remember the exact words of the obnoxious tune (I could hum it for you, but that wouldn’t help), I do remember that it consisted of two red-headed children waking their parents up at an ungodly hour by excitedly jumping up and down on their bed. Despite being annoyed by it, the underlying message tugged at my nostalgic heartstrings. I remember being excited into hysterics on Christmas morning when I was a kid. One year, we were out a little late on Christmas Eve and I literally cried all the way home because I was worried that we stayed out too late and that Santa was going to pass over our house. Christmas makes kids do crazy things, I swear.

Times have changed a bit. But opening presents with my family is still one of the highlights of the season. However, these days, I’m no longer wishing for Polly Pockets and Barbie’s dream house. I suppose my tastes (not necessarily in food) have changed a bit. Of course, this wish-list would be if we had unlimited funds (which we, obviously, do not), so it’s a bit far-fetched. But hey, that’s why it’s called a WISH-list right? 😀

Garmin Forerunner 405

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Okay, actually, any old GPS watch would do but this one is freaking sweet. This fall, my brother and I went on a 10 mile training run around our neighborhood. He had a Garmin watch and it was SO useful. It told us how fast we were going and how far. Ever since then, I’ve wanted one of my own. I chose Garmin because they are a nice, reliable brand and I trust their GPS systems.

Red Kitchen Aid Mixer

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We don’t have a mixer in my apartment. I feel like if I were to invest in one, I may have more incentive to cook and bake. My batters would be much smoother than they are now and my arm muscles would be seriously thanking me. I chose the red color for no other reason than vanity. It’s kind of cliche, but I’m obsessed.

SLR Camera

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Yes, PLEASE! I’ve been “borrowing” (read: stealing) my roommate’s nice DSLR camera literally for months now for this blog. I’m not claiming to be an expert on photography, but I would love to have my own camera to play around with. I love fiddling with all the different settings and staging up shots. If I got my own camera, I’m sure it’d be attached to my hip at all times.

Pandora Charms

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I suppose this is a more realistic wish on my list. I actually just got a Pandora bracelet last year and have slowly been filling it up with cute little charms. I’ve been receiving them as birthday and Christmas gifts and am pretty close to filling up my bracelet. After this Christmas, I suspect I will only need a few more!

A Pillow Pet!

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I know that this is supposed to be a grown up Christmas list….but, I am under the impression that even grown-ups are fully capable of loving fuzzy pillows that look like adorable, little wild-life creatures. I would love to have a giraffe or a penguin to cuddle with on long car rides.

iPad 2

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If you know me at all, you know I’m a tech nerd. I love to be on top of the newest technology, especially if it involves Apple. I already have a MacBrook Pro, an iPhone, and an iPod. I would love to round out my collection with an iPad 2, but I can’t justify buying one for any reason other than it’d be fun to have. I would love to be able to “test drive” a tablet for awhile to see if I use it enough to actually invest.

What’s on your wish-list?