Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Weekend Open Thread: Favorite Holiday Traditions & Gifts

Tomorrow morning Drew, Jackson and I are going to pick out a Christmas tree and then spend a couple hours decorating and sprucing the place up for the holidays. This is only the second year ever that Drew’s had a Christmas tree — last year was the first — and we debated whether to even get one this year what with a very mobile and curious toddler-baby on the loose (Is he a toddler? Is he a baby? Whatever! I’m calling him a “toddler-baby” until the other kids at the playground quit pointing at him and saying “Bay-bee!!”). But we’re suckers for the glow of the lights and the twinkle of the ornaments and the smell of fresh evergreen, so we decided to take the chance, curious hands be damned.

Since this is only the second year we’re doing the whole tree thing and it’s only the second holiday season we’ve got Jackson around, our traditions — if you can even call them that yet — are still pretty new. Last year, on the evening that we bought our tree, we ordered Caribbean food, drank Baileys martinis and listened to “Marshmallow World” (clip above) on repeat over and over as we strung lights and hung ornaments. Oh! And how could I forget! Before we bought the tree, we had an end-of-year change collection, emptying out our various piggy banks and jars of change. We took it all to the bank and got enough cash for a Christmas tree and a Hanukkah brisket. It worked out so well, we decided to make it a tradition. We also each guess how much cash we’ll get for our change and whoever is closest without going over gets a free dinner from the loser. Because what’s the holidays without a little friendly competition, amiright?

Anyway, when it comes to the holidays, I’m way more into traditions and spending time with family and friends than I am about the gifts, although I do sometimes really enjoy gift-giving. Mostly, I get pretty overwhelmed with all the shopping that has to be done, though, and breathe a heavy sigh of relief when my list is complete.

But what about you? Do you have favorite traditions or memorable gifts you’ve received or given? Are there any gifts this year you’re particularly excited about giving?

79 comments… add one
  • Fabelle

    Fabelle December 7, 2012, 4:20 pm

    Every year when I used to help decorate the tree in my house, we’d watch this http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51BEG2KKJ8L._SL500_AA300_.jpg movie. To this day, I absolutely have to watch it at some point during the season. (As an aside, are ANY of you familiar with it at all?? My friends look at my like I’m crazy whenever I talk about it)

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    kerrycontrary December 7, 2012, 4:28 pm

    My BF and I just decorated together for the first time. He has a fireplace and a loft, so we put on christmas music, I popped cookies in the oven, and we decorated everything. We are going to buy 1 ornament a year together, so we picked one with Ralphie and the leg lamp (from A Christmas Story). I can’t wait to have a family and start a lot of traditions!

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    bethany December 7, 2012, 4:32 pm

    I don’t really have a favorite holiday tradition… I love EVERYTHING about Christmas at my parent’s house! I love the smells, the music, the decorations, how warm it feels. I love being with my parents. I love how the TV is never on, unless it’s a Christmas movie. I love sitting around for 3 hour dinners.

    Well, now that I’m thinking about it, a newer tradition we have is that once everyone wakes up, we open our stockings. That’s kind of a free for all- everyone goes at the same time- we got lotto tickets, lip balm, socks, random little stuff. Then we have Cinnabons and coffee. Then we open presents. We always go one at a time, and go very slowly, so it lasts a long time. Usually somewhere in the middle we stop and have a real breakfast, and if my parent’s are lucky, I’ll take a shower. Then we go back to presents, and we finish sometime around 1 or 2 in the afternoon. It takes even longer when my brother and SIL visit. It’s awesome 🙂 Christmas is my favorite holiday ever.

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      Addie Pray December 7, 2012, 5:06 pm

      We do that too – open presents one at a time. But you know what? I never get presents anymore. Like, ever. I’m in a realy bad mood right now.

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        lets_be_honest December 7, 2012, 5:07 pm

        Ah, but you have a BOYFRIEND this year. All will change 🙂

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        lets_be_honest December 7, 2012, 5:11 pm

        I say that because every year I would have to buy myself a gift and wrap it from Santa to prove Santa is real (woe is me, right 🙂 ? ), and now I don’t have to thanks to Peter.

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        Addie Pray December 7, 2012, 5:27 pm

        Oh well, we’ll see about that. My sweet sweet boyfriend… got me ZILCH for my birthday a couple of weeks ago. He got me a card, wrote a sweet note (it *was* pretty sweet, though) and said, “sorry, I didn’t have time to get you a present but I thought I’d get you something for your condo so let me know what you want.” I wasn’t offended b/c: he *is* really busy; he spends all his free time with me so I don’t know when he would have snuck off to plan something special; money is tight; and I’m not used to ever getting presents anyway, so I never expect them.

        But confession: I was hoping he’d do something special. I wasn’t expecting anything expensive, but I thought maybe he would do something special.

        Well, I got over it. That was a couple of weeks ago. But then last night my boyfriend came over and i had a couple friends over and they were giving him shit about not getting me a present. And I defended him: “you guys, he’s so busy, you know me I don’t care about presents!” … but I guess I do care, because I’ve been thinking about it all day. So I am feeling shitty today. Shitty about this and that and then petty on top of it all for feeling shitty about this and that.

        LBH: Would you be upset if your boyfriend of 4 months didn’t get you a present?

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        lets_be_honest December 7, 2012, 5:30 pm

        Well, I’m glad you’re friends said something in front of him. I’d be disappointed. I mean, I wouldn’t dump him or anything, but I would be upset. I had a similar thing, but for Valentines Day. Its a bummer. You are special and that should be acknowledged!

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray December 7, 2012, 5:41 pm

        3 weeks into us dating he had a birthday. I got him a card and a cake that I hid in the fridge the night before his bday. I also bought candles and a lighter. In the am, I woke up before him and was going to bring the cake to him in bed with candles all lit. But the cake was gone. He had woken up in the middle of the night and found the cake in the fridge and ATE IT ALL. WTF? So, I guess I didn’t get him anything either.

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        lets_be_honest December 7, 2012, 5:49 pm

        Oh that would’ve pissed me off, but I guess it was technically his to eat. Well, hopefully thansk to your friends, he knows for next time.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark December 8, 2012, 1:47 pm

        So he can’t buy gifts
        and HAS an eating disorder?
        MOA! MOA! MOA!

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        Addie Pray December 9, 2012, 8:02 am

        Well, in his defense, it was a small cake. But seriously.

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        GatorGirl December 7, 2012, 6:30 pm

        AP why don’t you have a discussion about of you’re giving gifts over wine this weekend? I’m a very firm believer in laying out gifting ground rules in advance of a gifting holiday so no one is disappointed.

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        bethany December 7, 2012, 7:29 pm

        Me too! We always talk about it and set a price limit for Christmas. This helps to avoid the tshirt incident I mentioned below from happening again!

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        GatorGirl December 7, 2012, 8:18 pm

        wow- can you tell I had just woken up from a nap when I wrote that?? “a discussion about what you’re giving for gifts”

        Goodness.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow December 7, 2012, 7:06 pm

        But AP, he looooooooves you. Your gift is love. 😉

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        Addie Pray December 7, 2012, 11:48 pm

        that’s true. and all you need is love, right?

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        lemongrass December 8, 2012, 12:30 am

        Not me, I need diamonds.

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        bethany December 7, 2012, 7:27 pm

        My husband got me a tshirt one year for my birthday. I would have rather had nothing!
        I’m sorry you’re bummed… I bet Christmas will be better

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      • theattack

        theattack December 9, 2012, 8:44 pm

        I got a pencil sharpener this year for my birthday…

        But he also bought me a new winter backpacking sleeping bag around the same time, so I just decided to pretend that was my birthday present instead. haha

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        Kerrycontrary December 8, 2012, 8:06 am

        Aw AP I would be upset too. One summer I studied abroad and hadn’t seen my boyfriend for 3 months, and my birthday had been during that period. He didn’t mail anything to me, and when I came back we were going on a vacation with my family. So he shows up with flowers…that were obviously going to sit and die in the house during that vacation. I was so disappointed. He hadn’t seen me for 3 months! And I had brought him back a lot of gifts. Ugh.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom December 8, 2012, 1:09 pm

        That’s sad AP and also not good in that you’re repeatedly telling him that you don’t want gifts so just setting it up to be disappointed at Christmas.

        It’s time to have the Hey, What do you want for Christmas talk.

        Think about what you’d like before you bring it up. Would you rather receive a thing, or an experience or maybe even a gesture. My husband always wants things, things that I’ve never heard of so he spends weeks before his birthday and weeks before Christmas looking at all sorts of things until he decides what he wants and he loves doing that. Then we buy him the exact thing that he has choosen. For myself, I’ve got everything I want. There are no things that I really want. I can’t be bothered to look for something just to get something. But, I like time with the family and I like relaxing and I love to go to the beach. So, for my birthday we went to the beach and relaxed and watched the sunset over the lake and then went to dinner. That’s my kind of present but no at all my husband’s type.

        So I’d suggest you think about what it is you’d like. Maybe it’s something that can be wrapped up and put under a tree or maybe it’s an experience. Some people might prefer a gesture, like scraping the ice off your windshield every morning all winter or your favorite bagels or ice cream or whatever in bed every Saturday morning. Just think about what you’d enjoy and appreciate and then have the Hey, What do you Want for Christmas talk. The great thing about it is if you talk about it you can each have totally different types of presents if that’s what you want or you can have a dollar limit and a list of things I would appreciate this year, pick one or two or whatever adds up to the limit.

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        Addie Pray December 9, 2012, 8:07 am

        That’s good stuff, Sky.

        I do have an update on this: Friday night (the day after my friends gave him shit about not getting me a birthday present), we had a long talk … He was feeling really bad about the birthday gift thing… In short: we had a nice long productive talk. All is good. But then I got the flu. And I spent ALL of Sat. in bed. … I feel better now. I think the present convo gave me a 24-hour bug.

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      jlyfsh December 7, 2012, 5:38 pm

      we do the one gift at a time thing too and i love it! i’m panicking though because this year we’re going to miss Christmas Day with both families. we can’t travel back until the day after because of my husband’s schedule. i’m trying not to act ridiculous about it. i’ve started about 10 billion new traditions this week in order to make myself feel better.

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    lets_be_honest December 7, 2012, 4:40 pm

    I’m trying to think of an actual tradition, not just the regular stuff everyone does. I give everyone PJs on Christmas Eve so they have new jammies (yes, jammies!) to wake up in Christmas morning.
    Apparently my darling child doesn’t think this is so great, because I was telling someone that you should always let people open 1 gift the night before, and she piped in saying ‘yea mom, but everyone knows its going to be pjs.’ Little snot.

    We do 1 gift at a time too, otherwise its crazy and you can’t see what everyone’s opening. I’m with Bethany. Everything about it is great.

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      lets_be_honest December 7, 2012, 4:42 pm

      Oh, we go into the city every year for the tree, etc. just me and her. I think it was yesterday me and gatorgirl were saying something about keeping just mom and kid traditions, so I guess this counts. I’m excited to hear everyone else’s traditions (and now i sound like Will Ferrell in the Elf).

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster December 7, 2012, 5:29 pm

        The best way to spread Christmas Cheer, is singing loud for all to hear!

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        GatorGirl December 7, 2012, 6:28 pm

        Thumbs up for mom and kid traditions!

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow December 7, 2012, 7:07 pm

      Aww, I always used to get jammies on Christmas Eve too! That was one of my favorite things growing up. My She-Ra nightgown was my favorite.

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    Addie Pray December 7, 2012, 4:42 pm

    I love holiday traditions – and I wish I had some! I’m going to try to start one this year. I’m spending Christmas with…. wait for it….MY BOYFRIEND! So I want us to start a tradition. Maybe we’ll listen to music and drink wine while we decorate xmas cookies to take to his mom. Or something like that. Or listen to music and drink wine while we wrap presents. Maybe we’ll just listen to music and drink wine, period.

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  • AKchic_

    AKchic_ December 7, 2012, 4:55 pm

    We’re postponing our Yule until February when we have more money and time. It’s just too damned stressful and busy and broke this year. Anyhow – off to another doctor appointment, then who knows what else. I’m ready for a fucking nap.

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    aredheadsguide December 7, 2012, 5:33 pm

    My manfriend and I started a tradition for December 23rd the last two years. Since we spend Christmas eve with his folks and Christmas Day with mine, on the 23rd we make cheeseburgers and fries with milkshakes and open presents from one another. We get to have our own private Christmas together and eat yummy food that we normally don’t make because calories don’t count at Christmas! 😉

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  • Lyra

    L December 7, 2012, 5:47 pm

    My absolute favorite tradition is New Year’s Eve. My high school friends and I are still very close, and we have been getting together every New Year’s Eve since 2003-2004. We all bring food, games, movies, and pj’s (and booze now that we’re all in our 20’s) and we have the best sleepover EVER. We still do this to this day even though we’re all out of college now.

    A close second is a tradition my dad’s family has. He has 10 siblings and the whole family gets together to bake Christmas cookies (aunts, uncles, cousins, and cousins’ families end up totaling over 50 people). The oven is usually cranking out cookies for 6 hours straight. It’s the craziest thing ever, but it’s super fun.

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  • FireStar

    FireStar December 7, 2012, 5:58 pm

    Just thinking about it – it seems like all of our traditions are around food. We have special West Indian meals we eat only at Christmas like garlic pork and pepper pot for Christmas morning – it is the best time of year for food – I so can’t wait. My favourite tradition is making black cake (like traditional wedding cake) with my mom and when it comes time to add the vanilla we put some on as perfume because my grandmother used to do that and it is our way of including her in the day.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark December 7, 2012, 5:58 pm

    My favorite solo tradition involves the silliest, most retro artificial Christmas Tree ever. I mean, its simply BEYOND fake. One of those 1970s forest green bottle brush trees… It has a green and red base and all the branches come off and you pop them into place as they are handily color coded. I’m sure in its day it was supposed to look real — yet fails miserably! My tree goes up in maybe ten minutes — and stands six feet tall.

    This relic was in unearthed from the storage bin of my first apartment in LA. (The Valley to be exact.) God knows how long it had been in there. It was beyond filthy and the lock on the bin was rusted shut and there was no key. The building manager had said that the bin hadn’t been used in years and years. Anyway, when I busted into it (with permission) I found this tree and it was covered with so much dust and cobwebs and crappy tinsel… it seemed almost hopeless. But by happy coincidence I cracked the storage bin on a warm early December day… It was LA and sunny and gorgeous. So I thought — why not? Lets see if this thing is salvageable… It was a tangled mass of pieces and so I assembled it — surprise! No missing parts! I then proceeded to scrub and hose it off and rip away the crumpled tinsel. (I never did get all that tinsel all off… all these years later, I still find a stray piece or three as I assemble it each season.)

    Anyway, as previously stated, it is BEYOND fake. I could tell ornaments wouldn’t hang on it very well at all and so I just raced off to Target and bought a couple strands of those chunky old fashioned ceramic indoor/outdoor lights (red, white, green, blue and orange C-7 bulbs). I think I could only afford two strands that first year. When my roommate came home he was so surprised and we laughed at how fitting it was that out first Christmas tree in LA was so wonderfully, so absurdly plastic…

    It actually looked really cool. Hey — still does… I was always way into retro even before it was cool. I mean, yeah, this was, what? 1995? Yikes! Anyway, I’ve always kept this tree. It now gets four strands of lights and it now boasts seven colors instead of the original five — yellow and pink were added when I found those bulbs on line a few years back randomly. Its only other decoration is a silver star on top from IKEA.

    Every year, right around the first of December I put on my DVD of that oddly melancholy Peanuts Christmas Special… the one whose story about the tree nobody wanted so parallels the tale of my own most prominent X-mas decoration… and then make some pricey hot cocoa as I put it up. Damn, it actually startles me how long this tree has been in my life now. This must be Christmas number 18? I have several small gatherings every holiday season and the tree always gets comments. Plus, it goes so well with the 1960s/mid-century vibe of my apartment…

    Merry Christmas little once forgotten tree! So happy that I found you and you didn’t get thrown away all those years ago…

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      Kerrycontrary December 8, 2012, 8:09 am

      Not related to Christmas….but I’m in love with mid-century modern homes and furniture.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark December 8, 2012, 1:49 pm

        That era rules all. It’s been downhill in design ever since. So much made today looks like utter crap. And I’m over the shabby bleak shit that refuses to die. 🙂

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  • CatsMeow

    CatsMeow December 7, 2012, 6:33 pm

    I am NOT in the Christmas spirit this year. At. All.

    I never put up a tree in my apartment because of my cats. I bought a small fake one once with the removable branches and Zeke totally destroyed it within about an hour. Normally, I put up other decorations – lights, knick knacks, and stockings for my cats – but this year I haven’t even taken my Halloween decorations down. Normally I bust out my most awesomest Christmas mix and stare at the Netflix yule log while drinking rumchata or red wine or hot chocolate with Bailey’s, but I haven’t done that this year either. Bah humbug.

    My family’s tradition is to celebrate on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day. I’m not sure why, but we’ve always done it that way. Since I normally come in from out of town, I sleep at my mom’s on Christmas Eve, and even though I’m OLD, I’m still a big kid. She puts presents out in the morning like Santa brought them, and my brother comes over, and we eat breakfast and then open presents together, just the smaller family unit (me, bro, mom and stepdad).

    A tradition I’m trying to get to catch on is KARAOKE on Christmas Eve. We did it one year and it was a BLAST.

    Oh, and one more thing: It’s not officially Christmas season until I’ve watched “A Muppet Family Christmas.” It’s the best thing you’ll ever see (if you haven’t seen it already). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWTSe_Y5Klg

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow December 7, 2012, 7:08 pm

      Oh, and my mom is obsessed with both the Chipmunks Christmas song and the Carpenters Christmas album, so when I hear those, it starts to really feel like Christmas.

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      • AnotherElle

        Laura December 8, 2012, 12:30 pm

        Freaking LOVE the Chipmunks Christmas album. That always gets me pumped for Christmas!

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    GatorGirl December 7, 2012, 6:38 pm

    The strangest family tradition we have is to put the Christmas tree up on Christmas Eve. Lame right? The best tradition is getting up super early and making muffins on Christmas morning with my siblings so my parents can sleep in. I think the tradition started when I was like 15 (siblings were 5 and 7) and we’ve been doing it for 12 years.

    My other favorite Christmas thing is Cream Cheese cookies. I love them.

    This is the first Christmas my fiancé and I are spending together and splitting time with our families. Being That they like 400+ miles apart it kind of sucks.

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      GatorGirl December 7, 2012, 6:54 pm

      Oh I almost forgot, The Year Without a Santa Clause is the best Christmas special and I am obsessed with the Heat Miser and Snow Miser.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yon2YuXssvo

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow December 7, 2012, 7:10 pm

        OMG that’s one of my favs too!! I try to watch it every year along with my Muppets.

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      • paperheart

        paperheart220 December 7, 2012, 9:31 pm

        That’s always been my favorite, too! 🙂

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      • mandalee

        mandalee December 8, 2012, 1:07 pm

        Yes that’s my favorite too!! I was so obsessed with that movie as a kid, that my mom used to write out a gift tag from Heat Miser and Snow Miser until I was 10. haha I loved it!

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        Megan_A_Mess December 9, 2012, 2:06 pm

        White Christmas, The Year Without A Santa Claus, and The Muppet Christmas Carol are my all time favorite Christmas movies. Doesn’t feel like the holidays without them, although I do also love any kind of old Rankin-Bass movies. They are kind of creepy, but always remind me of Christmas in high school, when my grandma was still here, and the house always smelled like cookies.

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    lemongrass December 7, 2012, 6:46 pm

    My husband is trimming the bottom off of our tree with his chainsaw as we speak. Actually he’s done in the time it took for me to write that sentence. We’re about to decorate it right now! Egg nog and christmas cookies. I hope you all have a great Friday night, decorating the tree is one of my favourite things to do, ever! My parents got us each an ornament every year as kids so that when we got married we would have ornaments to decorate our trees with. Yes, they made me wait until I was married even though we had been living together the past 3 Christmases but now that I have them it is extra special because I did (was forced) to wait for them.

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    • bittergaymark

      bittergaymark December 7, 2012, 7:12 pm

      Put a little 7-Up in the water from time to time… The acid opens up the bottom of your tree so it will drink more water and stay fresher longer!! 🙂

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        lemongrass December 8, 2012, 12:40 pm

        Thanks for the tip, I’ll try it! And by “I’ll try it” I mean my husband will. Because there is no way I could fit my pregnant belly underneath that tree right now but even if I could my husband is way too OCD about watering any kind of plant to let me be in charge of it. He would kill all of my houseplants by overwatering them if I let him.

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    quixoticbeatnik December 7, 2012, 7:23 pm

    This year is the first Christmas that my family is having since my parents moved away from my hometown, so it’ll be a little weird this year…they are coming into town for a few days over Christmas and my brother and I will have dinner with them at a Chinese restaurant Christmas Eve and then go to my aunt and uncle’s Christmas Day. Things will be different, but it’s okay. Change is good – or can be good.

    I am SUPER excited for the presents that I am giving this year. I got my boyfriend this zombie weapon set – its a tomahawk and a knife set that is so, so fucking cool and I know he will love it and I cannot wait to give it to him! I don’t know if I can wait until Christmas even, haha. I got my bff a groupon for American Apparel that I know she’ll love, my parents I got two wine sippy cups for (Vino 2 Go – go check it out, it’s so cool! But they have limited stock right now!) and I’m getting another friend a gift card to Marshall’s so that she can get nice teacher clothes for her teaching certificate. Those are the presents that I am most excited about!

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    Lindsay December 7, 2012, 7:31 pm

    I’m not really a Christmas person. I’m a Grinch. I go to Christmas parties, spend the holiday with my family and buy people gifts, but left to my own devices, I probably wouldn’t really celebrate it. It’s probably a combination of typically being away from my family (up until I got my current job last year) at the holidays and not being religious (though I know there’s more to it than that). I do like the smell of Christmas trees, though, and always admire Christmas lights. I guess my favorite thing to do is spend the day with my aunt and uncle, and their children and grandchildren. I don’t see them enough, and this is usually the one day I get to see almost all of them.

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  • katie

    katie December 7, 2012, 11:04 pm

    i dont have any really solid christmas traditions that i can think of, but ive only been celebrating it since i was like 17/18 so thats why… one year my mom just decided we were going to start, lol.

    my boyfriends family have some weird ones. first off, the scratch tickets… they are crazy about the scratch tickets. everyone gets a ton of them in their stockings and they scratch them off at a certain point during christmas morning. then there is the pickle. the pickle ornament that his mom always hides in the tree while everyone is sleeping… whoever finds the pickle gets all the winning scratch cards. so that is kind of cool. we have never done christmas at his mom’s house though, so the two of us have just always copied this, and im pretty sure i ruin it because i hate searching games so i look for 5 minutes and then give up. i guess his family is super competitive, so its a big thing all day long to find it and no one gives up.

    the only other thing i can think of is that apparently his family doesnt go anywhere on the holiday. like, christmas day/thanksgiving day is this sacred day where you dont leave the house. i find it very odd. and that ended up in a big fight at thanksgiving when i wanted to go to my aunt’s on thanksgiving, so now that tradition will be going away, at least some of the time…

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      GatorGirl December 7, 2012, 11:15 pm

      I have a pickle ornament!! I love it! We don’t do the searching thing though.

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        lemongrass December 8, 2012, 12:32 am

        We got my husband’s niece a pickle ornament a few years ago because she loves pickles!

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      • katie

        katie December 9, 2012, 9:40 am

        haha yea, i wonder how many pickle ornaments exist because of the love of pickles and then because of the game. i have seen them in like a little box with instructions on how to play the game, which is dumb i guess, but its like a tradition in a box, so that is kind of cute.

        im sure a lot of people just see the single ornament and are like awww my dog’s name is pickle/i call my husband pickle/my kids first food was pickles/i really love pickles/ect

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        lemongrass December 9, 2012, 1:19 pm

        Yeah, I’ve never heard of the game before. She just really loves pickles haha! Anything pickled- she once a whole jar of pickled ginger while hiding- because at 4 years old she knew that she wasn’t supposed to eat that much pickled stuff.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark December 9, 2012, 2:30 pm

        We’ve done the pickle game thing for years and years in my family… and yes, we ALL love pickles!!

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        lemongrass December 9, 2012, 4:40 pm

        You’d love it at my house! My husband and I pickle every year- we make our own pickled beets, carrots, beans, cauliflower and of course, pickles.

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        GatorGirl December 10, 2012, 9:07 am

        I love pickles. A lot.

        @lemongrass I’ve eaten an entire of jar of pickles at 27, so apparently pickle loves don’t learn. It was a rough few hours.

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      rachel December 8, 2012, 12:28 am

      Oh, is that where the whole argument stemmed from? It’s funny, we never went anywhere on either of those days when I was a kid, so I always thought it was super weird that movie theaters were supposedly packed on Christmas day.

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      • katie

        katie December 8, 2012, 12:41 am

        Yea, when we finally got down to the real root of it that’s what it was. I politely informed him though that 1. I refuse to isolate myself on holidays and 2. If we ever have kids that will never fly.

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        Eagle Eye December 8, 2012, 10:26 am

        As a Jew on Christmas, finding the right time to go to the movies was like an art form. We figure that everyone gets sick of their family by like 3 or 4, so the 1pm showing was always our best bet to get their while it was still all empty!

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      AliceInDairyland December 8, 2012, 6:15 pm

      We have a pickle! Whoever finds it gets to open their present first in the rotation. I never cared (noncompetitive!) so it was normally my brother and sister trying to find it at like 5am Christmas morning.

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      • katie

        katie December 9, 2012, 9:41 am

        what if no one can find it? we have gone until after dinner until people give up/find it!

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  • iwannatalktosampson

    iwannatalktosampson December 8, 2012, 11:41 am

    When I was growing up in Canada we had this tradition of every Christmas Eve going ice skating with two other families. It was the BEST. There was an open fire in the middle of the lake and chairs and pick up hockey games. It was so much fun. I found out in later years the purpose of this tradition was so that the kids would be so worn out they wouldn’t wake up at 4am to open presents. We also got to have a slumber party in the basement that night. Turns out this was also so that we were away from the tree.

    It’s weird how things change when the kids are now grown ups. Now it’s pretty standard for us all to sleep in until at least 8. We also normally get showered and dressed before opening presents. I have been lucky that we always spend Christmas with my family since we can spend every weekend of the year with Ethan’s if we wanted to. We spend all other holidays with his family.

    My favorite Christmas’s are the ones where we go up to my grandparents condo at Big White in Canada. They have a ski in ski out and there is absolutely nothing like Christmas in the mountains. My Grandpa is doing radiation this Christmas though so we’re not going up there. 🙁 Instead we’ll be in sunny Arizona. Blech. Not my choice… but my mom and I were outvoted. I guess I can be happy that it’ll be warm though.

    Speaking of AZ – any AZ people out there know of any good yoga studios? I need one that involves hot and humid room and free weights.

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    Megan_A_Mess December 8, 2012, 12:40 pm

    My favorite tradition used to be when my grandma would make cookies. She would make a variety but my favorite were her homemade honey cookies that the grand kids got to decorate. They always tasted like Christmas to me, and when anyone pulls out her recipe to make them, I always think of how comforting and warm the house used to smell when she would spend a few days in the kitchen just baking away. She would also make a sour-cream dough snowman, with Reese’s Peanut Butter cup hat (my favorite candy!) the chocolate cookies that would crack on top and sprinkle with powered sugar, chocolate chip and oatmeal, jam thumb prints, and in the later years, the cornflake/marshmallow Christmas Wreaths. But, she passed away three years ago, so it’s a little sad to try and make them now. But I’ll never forget the way the house used to smell, and cuddling up on the couch by the tree to watch Christmas movies.

    But this year, I have to say, the kindness from my friends and family has been overwhelming, and that’s the biggest gift. My mom and I have been out of work (Although I am going back to waiting tables, which I hate, but it gets the bills paid, without me spending forty hours at work!), I’m also in school (struggling, but making A’s so far! Finals Monday, can I get a Hell Yeah?!) and we’ve been struggling to make house payments and pay the normal bills. Mom also has a sick cat, a sister who was diagnosed with Lymphoma, a great uncle who just had a stroke (what her grandma and her mom died from) and 15K in credit card bills. I know once I go back to waiting tables, I’ll be able to help, but right now it’s so hard. Plus my boyfriend lives with us, and he’s been out of work due to ACL surgery, and his loss of wages checks haven’t kicked in yet, so it’s not been easy. But our family and friends have stepped up, and even inspired me to start giving what little I have, back.

    One of my resolutions is to be super on top of my money this year and I’ve decided that I am also going to take 25% of my tips every week, and give them to a different charity/organization every month. I know for sure I want to give some to suicide prevention, gay rights groups, animals rights groups, mental health organizations, and something to veterans, but if anyone else knows of any, let me know! (Just to give you an idea on me, I’m a 27 year old forward thinking female who loves everyone.)

    Also, my birthday is the day after Christmas, and my favorite store in the whole wide world (LUSH) has their ONE sale a year starting on my birthday. So not only do I get to celebrate my birthday around the holidays, I get to drop some cash back into our economy (if I have any!) at my favorite place in the world.

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      AliceInDairyland December 8, 2012, 6:18 pm

      Heifer International! Also do a lot of research on Animal Rights Groups depending on exactly where you stand on that (are you vegan?)

      Local animal shelters almost always have a rolling wishlist of items.

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        GatorGirl December 10, 2012, 9:13 am

        Heifer International is awesome. I got half a yak one year from my grandma! I still giggle about that present.

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    • katie

      katie December 9, 2012, 9:44 am

      i dont know if your looking at specific places, but i know the owners of a cat only no kill no cage shelter in colorado called Almost Home Adoptions. they do good stuff there.. probably the cutest/sadest was a tiny kitten found matted in like a dead bush… there was so much damage to him that they had to amputate one of his back legs, and then they did a drive to get him a prosthetic, and the video of him now running around and happy with his false leg makes me cry.

      anyway, they are good people, i know them.

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        Megan_A_Mess December 9, 2012, 2:18 pm

        Thank you both for the suggestions! I will look into them. I know there are a few animal shelters around where I live, so I’ll probably put most of the money at first into them, especially since winters get brutal around here. (I live in Michigan, so far it’s been nice, like last winter, but it could easily change.)

        @AliceInDairyland – I am not vegan, but am working on becoming that way (I also have family members that are vegetarian/vegan). Another reason I love LUSH so much, most of their products are vegan! I love that website, thanks for the suggestion.

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      GatorGirl December 10, 2012, 9:16 am

      As far as places to donate, Planned Parenthood or a domestic violence shelter in your area might be a good fit.

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  • mandalee

    mandalee December 8, 2012, 1:15 pm

    I LOVE Christmas, in a very unhealthy way lol My family was big on traditions as a kid, and I carried some of them over into adulthood. When I was a kid,my dad’s Italian family would get together and have the a “Seven Fishes” dinner on Christmas Eve. Then, we would head over to my maternal grandmother’s house for a Polish/Greek dinner. They also did a breaking of the bread tradition, where you would go around and break off a piece of someone else’s bread and tell them a wish/thought that you had for them for the upcoming year. Then, we would all head off to midnight Mass and come home and have a cocktail or hot cocoa if you were a kid, and watch A Christmas Story.

    Now, that my husband and I are hosting our first Christmas, I can’t wait to start our own traditions! We are going to go ice skating at Frog Pond in Boston Commons the Sunday before Christmas and maybe go see the Nutcracker. Then, Christmas Eve were going to bake and cook all day, listen to corny Christmas music, and combine two old traditions and eat a crap ton of homemade pierogi and seafood. None of us are particularly religious anymore, so we will probably go to one of the liberal congregation in our area for a Christmas service. My parents are leaving on Christmas Day and my husband’s aren’t coming until the following weekend, so our plan is to go out to a Japanese restaurant and then to a movie and eat and drink until we pass out haha

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  • MELH

    MELH December 8, 2012, 1:46 pm

    I love Christmas. Its my favorite holiday. This year I put up more decorations than ever! My dad calls our condo balcony “the griswold family balcony” because I put so many more lights up than the neighbors. Our most unique tradition, which was a family tradition of my dad’s family, then when my parents got married it became our family tradition, and now my husband and I do it. We get a real tree, and then on the night we decorate it, we decorate the tree then have a junk food dinner.

    I love shopping for gifts, I love finding presents that I am excited about giving people. I have a ton of shopping done and wrapped already because I’m so excited!

    My cousins on my Dad’s side of the family used to have a day after Christmas tradition where we would go to a movie the day after Christmas. And they always picked to go to the theater at this busy mall. I think I killed this tradition through the meltdowns I always had trying to find parking at the mall. I had plenty of other driving age cousins, I don’t know why they always picked me as a driver. So one year, it took me like a half hour to park and I was furious and I came into the food court where they were all sitting and I sat down and was bitching about how crowded it was while I snacked on some of the fries they bought. I ate like 5 fries before they told me that no one bought those fries and they were sitting on the table when they sat down. After that year, the movie tradition kind of died out.

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    LANY December 8, 2012, 2:00 pm

    So I’m about to out myself as a huge geek, but I’m proud, so it’s okay…

    Every year for almost a decade now, I absolutely require that the week of Christmas includes watching all three extended versions of Lord of the Rings, with lots of bottles of good New Zealand pinot. Usually takes about 3-5 viewing days, and the DVDs has traveled with me to Aspen, Sedona, New York, and Paris, among some other places I’ve celebrated the holidays. This all started the after the 2 week trip I took to NZ in 2004, and somehow became a “thing” that I’ve subjected all boyfriends too since then.

    Going on our 5th Christmas together, and the current Mr.LANY hasn’t left yet, so it seems my tradition hasn’t scared him away 🙂

    I suppose another Christmas tradition is dealing with mortgage financing paperwork – I bought this place 4 years ago around Christmas, refinanced last Christmas, and am dealing with paperwork to buy a place with the boyfriend this Christmas… So it may soon be “bye bye” to my fabulous beachside condo (if any of you guys are interested! ;)).

    Happy holidays, all!

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      Amanda December 8, 2012, 5:23 pm

      How fun! Have you seen The Hobbit yet? Personally, I can’t wait for the Dr. Who Christmas special!

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        Rachel December 9, 2012, 10:41 am

        I’m glad I’m not the only one! I think I care more about Doctor Who than actual Christmas this year, and I’m excited my boyfriend will be here to watch it with me!

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  • theattack

    theattack December 9, 2012, 9:00 pm

    This is the first year that P and I are spending Christmas together. We still have no idea how we’re distributing the time with our families, but mine budged on Thanksgiving, and I really think his should budge for us on Christmas since there are several days to work with this year. Starting to get stressed about this…

    My family always puts up the tree on the weekend after Thanksgiving, and Elvis’s “Blue Christmas” is always the very first Christmas song we allow to play in the house. We pull out the vinyl and decorate the tree together. My dad and I always do a puzzle together on Christmas. Those are really the only two traditions we have. Honestly, Christmas is a huge bore to me. I’m looking forward to starting traditions with my fiance and making Christmas more interesting.

    We couldn’t afford a tree this year unfortunately, since I only allow fake ones in the house. One year growing up we had a praying mantis nest hatch in our live tree, and we were still finding them in the house six months later. It doesn’t really feel like Christmas without a tree, but we put a string of lights around our window, and we’re going to wrap up our door like a present.

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      GatorGirl December 10, 2012, 9:26 am

      Bummer about the tree! We got one last year for I think $20 at Target. It is only 3 feet tall but it’s nice to have a little something. I’ve seen adds for Walmart and some other places for little trees around the $20 mark too.

      This is the first year we are doing Christmas together too. Since our families are so so far apart we can’t really see more than one on Christmas day. It was quite a frustrating conversation to have, and my family “won” out this year.

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    convexed December 10, 2012, 12:18 pm

    Hey Wendy, I’m a preschool teacher and we call our 1 yr old program the Tiny Tots. I teach the Toddlers, who are 2. Kinda makes me think of Tater Tots…but the kids are definitely more active than any potatoes }kve ever seen…

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