Tag Archives: Holidays
My husband and I don’t have many tried and true holiday traditions–for example, we don’t have a special night where we decorate the house, or hold any sort of holiday party. We don’t really watch holiday movies to get into the spirit, and I don’t send out Christmas cards. It’s not that I am a Scrooge; rather, I just never grew up with a strong holiday season tradition because I am Indian, and quite frankly, my family doesn’t really celebrate Christmas in the way most people I know do. Sure I exchange gifts with people I love and we certainly gather together as a family on Christmas, but for the most part, I feel like I am on sort of on the fringe when it comes to wholeheartedly diving into all kinds of holiday festivities.
That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy doing holiday-y things, because I sure do! In fact, I do think that when I have children someday, I will make sure that they get to experience some of the more meaningful and fun holiday happenings that I never really participated in as a kid. One tradition I now declare to officially have started and that I am adamant about carrying on is one that I am sure lots of people across the land also call their own– that being an annual trip to watch a performance of A Christmas Carol!
My husband and I are lucky to have our wonderful friends K and J– they are so awesome and we make it a point to hang with them as much as possible. When they invited us to see A Christmas Carol at our local Trinity Rep Theatre, both my husband and I were psyched– not only because we got to catch up with K and J, but because we were so excited to see the play! I have to say– upon having seen the performance, I am now officially in the holiday spirit!
The tree in the theater was quite inspirational!
We headed into the theater. . .
and because K and J scored us epic seats that were only a few rows away from the stage, I managed to catch a few pics before the performance really got going!
The opening set:
The infamous clock:
And, of course, the first actors on stage!
We had such a great time– the play didn’t even have an intermission, which I am a fan of, causing the action to go on non-stop. My husband and I have officially declared one of our first holiday traditions ever– we must see A Christmas Carol at Trinity every year!
Do you have many holiday season traditions? If so, what are your favorite ones?
**Reader Alert** Today, I have decided to share my Christmas in a two-part post! It’s a special day when I decide to post twice! I hope you enjoy both recaps, Christmas Cheer Part 1 and Christmas Cheer Part 2, which follows immediately after this post! Have a great day!
Christmas Day is by far one of the best days of the year, and it has nothing to do with the gifts or food. I love Christmas Day because it is one of the few days in a year all of my family has the day off, and we all come together to just hang out! I love the fact everyone is relaxed, content, and together, and it’s smiles all day long!
I started my day watching television and blogging while my husband caught up on some sleep. As soon as he woke up, he bounded over to me to give me a gift he apparently was extremely proud of. As I have mentioned before, I technically do not celebrate Christmas, as it isn’t a tradition I grew up with. However, my husband always does a fantastic job of getting me the one thing I really want. Of course, he came through on this Christmas morning, when he presented me with this box:
Compression sleeves! I have been dying for a pair forever, so he ordered Zensah compression sleeves in black for me, which is exactly what I wanted. As you may know, compression sleeves aid in recovery of your legs from running. I often get calf cramps, especially at night, so I have been talking about these things forever! Thank you husband for the listening to my hints and picking up a pair for me! I had to put them on immediately:
The rest of the morning was spent hanging out with my husband on the couch. He played some video games, which he only has the time to do on slow holiday mornings while I read blogs/napped/watched the Real World reunion on-line. By the time 1:30 rolled around, we got our acts together and headed to my sister’s house to see my sister, her husband, my two nephews, and my mom. As we opened her front door, my eight-year old Om presented his gift to me. He was so proud (this is the first time he has gotten me a gift all on his own from his school holiday fair!) and when I saw what it was, I donned it immediately! Look how adorable this is!
Just in case you were wondering, he gave me the big bling on the right!
My nephews had already opened all of their gifts in the morning, so the house was relatively under control– the mess of wrapping paper and boxed had long been cleaned up. Instead, the house was dominated by lots of food!
Since it was well past lunch-time, my sister presented me with a plate of two pastas: cheese manicotti and a spinachy, cheesy pasta bake.
I had this times two!
We quickly moved on to dessert. My sister made a chocolate bundt cake:
I skipped the bundt cake in favor of these golden beauties:
Pineapple ooey butter cake! It’s originally a Paula Deen recipe, and it is basically like the best, buttery pineapple cheesecake ever! So delicious, and soo rich! The best part was the caramelized crusty edges!
I also had an unpictured slice of coffee cake to end the dessert festivities. After we ate, we all hung around in the living room, watching my nephews play video games. Around 4:30, we had to head off to our next destination– my husband’s family’s house! I had a fantastic time there, but I’ll save that recap for tomorrow!
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and I hope you continue to enjoy this holiday season to the fullest!
P.S. Keep reading if you want to hear about my Christmas day, part 2!
What did you do on Christmas morning?
Last I remember, I had just wrapped up my recap of Christmas at my sister’s house, and I was on my way to my husband’s family’s home for Christmas dinner. We are quite fortunate our two families literally live ten minutes away from each other, making these dual location holidays so easy.
As soon as we arrived, we had some food. I had a small plate of sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, and glazed baby carrots, since I was still full from my sister’s pasta feast. After everyone ate, it was present time! My mother-in-law does such a wonderful job finding the perfect, useful gifts for her whole family, right down to her dog and cats! My mother-in-law definitely had a theme in mind when shopping for my gifts, indicating exactly how well she knows me. As a person who is always cold, her gifts to me definitely focused on warmth and comfort!
I just want to highlight some of the awesome-sauce things she got me!
First, check out these North Face gloves– not only are they super warm, but somehow, these gloves are touch-screen friendly too!
I also was given a warm and cozy North Face fleece– something that’s been on my list for a long time, but I never purchased for myself!
Let’s not forget the softest, warmest blanket I have ever felt!
My husband’s sister, Jill, came all the way from Cali to spend time with us for the holidays. She gave me a gift reminiscent of the time we spent together in San Jose and San Francisco earlier this year. Even the symbol on the shirt has a special significance!
I love this t-shirt– it’s perfect for they gym!
I am not one who normally gushes about the gifts they receive, but really, I am so touched by the thoughtfulness of my husband’s family when it comes to the presents they give. Clearly, they took the time to really think about what makes me smile, and I truly appreciate that! I love each and every item so much, not just because they’re so sweet, but because my husband’s family gave them to me! Love you guys!
By the way, I think my mom and mother-in-law both loved their Alex and Ani bracelets! They have officially made it to my wish list too!
After the food and gifts, we spent a few good hours chatting about various things. Eventually, we made it home by about 9 P.M. Of course, we were pretty spent, so we immediately crashed for the night.
It was undoubtedly one of the best Christmases to date! I am definitely sad to see it go, but look forward to the fresh start of the New Year!
What was your absolute favorite gift given or received?
I started my day with a trip to the mall, not to shop but just to celebrate the festive, last-minute shopping frenzy that only happens at the mall on Christmas Eve.
I then relaxed for a few hours before visiting my neighbor’s newborn daughter. Cutest baby ever! Congratulations Will and Lana!
I napped on the couch while the husband watched some Pats football.
Then, we were off to hang with my sister’s family, and I enjoyed watching my nephew’s’ steadily building anticipation of Christmas morning and all that it would have to offer. I had to sneak in some gifts while they weren’t looking!
My husband I then headed over to his parent’s house, were we were reunited with my sister-in-law, who made it to Rhode Island all the way from sunny California! Hi Jill!
And here’s where the food comes in– we enjoyed a nice selection of snacks as we chatted over the dining room table.
Cheese and crackers
Some delicious sun-dried tomato and basil chips
A fun veggie and dip tray
And the best part by far was the sparkling cider!
I have never tried sparkling cider in my life, and let me tell you, I am a fan! For someone who doesn’t drink alcohol, it was nice to be able to sip something along with everyone else. The thing that really got me was the fizz– I usually avoid carbonated beverages, but this was one exception worth making! Thanks dad for having a non-alcoholic option for me!
Despite the crappy I-phone picture, I just wanted to show you how I look enjoying a beverage. It’s so unusual for me to have a glass in my hand that isn’t water– I just wanted to preserve the memory!
After our family visit, we headed back home to fit in some couch time. Not going to lie– I may have had some Ben and Jerry’s pumpkin cheesecake ice cream straight from the carton!
At around 10:30, I fell asleep, all comfy and cozy on the couch while watching Family Guy. It was a perfect end to a fantastic day!
How did you spend your Christmas Eve?
Happy Holidays to all!
My mother always insists she wants nothing for Christmas, and this year she was more adamant than ever about making sure she told my brother, sister and I loud and clear that we should not give her a single gift. Despite her commands, though, I could not help but shop for the ideal gift for her. Isn’t always the case that a lady who insists she doesn’t want anything actually, deep down inside, would appreciate a little something?
Last year, I purchased my mom’s first ever Pandora bracelet and charms. She certainly loved it, so I thought this Christmas, I would buy her this year’s trendy bracelet phenomenon– Alex and Ani bracelets.
If you are unfamiliar with Alex and Ani, it’s an eco-friendly, local Rhode Island company founded by jewelery designer Carolyn Rafaelian, selling bracelets, necklaces, rings and earrings that “that adorn the body, enlighten the mind, and empower the spirit” (Source). Perhaps most famous for their expandable bangle bracelets graced with adorable, spiritual charms, Alex and Ani sells unique, funky, simple, yet meaningful jewelery that is easy to customize to one’s tastes and likings. Since an Alex and Ani story is literally three blocks from my home, I figured this would be a great gift for my mom, assuming I could find some perfect pieces that would resonate with her.
My mom’s greatest loves (other than me of course!) are my nephews, Prem (age 10), and Om, (age 8). “Prem” means love in Hindi, and Om obviously comes from the Om symbol, referring to a sacred incantation often recited in Indian religious prayer. Don’t my nephews just have the coolest names by the way?
Anyway, I did some on-line research before hitting up the store, and found that Alex and Ani sold bangle bracelets both with Om symbols and heart symbols, therefore perfectly representing Prem and Om. When I went into the store, I had a mission to locate both bracelets, figuring that when paired up, they would be the absolute perfect give for my mom.
Fortunately, I got lucky!
Here’s the Om bracelet, which I purchased in “Russian Gold”:
And, here’s the heart bracelet, which I purchased in silver:
I purchased both bangles for under seventy dollars, and I know for a fact my mother will love them. It’s also the kind of gift that I can build upon– now for Mother’s day, my mom’s birthday, and any other gift-giving occasion, I will buy her another bangle charm bracelet so that eventually, she can have a crazy awesome layered look like this:
There are so many fantastic things about Alex and Ani as far as gift-giving goes: 1) the jewelery is widely available on-line, 2) it’s affordable, 3) it is totally customizable to the person you are shopping for and 4) it’s totally adorable! In fact, I nearly purchased a bracelet (or 8) for myself; however, I resisted, convincing myself I would treat myself after the holidays.
I also purchased my mother-in-law’s Christmas present from the Alex and Ani store. Since I couldn’t think of any particularly meaningful symbols that would match her, I decided to go for one of the other bracelet styles they offer. I purchased this gorgeous peacock feather bracelet, since peacock feathers are a very prominent symbol in Indian culture, and though my mother-in-law is not Indian, I figured she would like the design itself and appreciate its meaning.
I asked the sales clerk what would work well with this single peacock bangle, and she suggested a simple trio of unadorned bangles, so that the peacock detail was not overwhelmed by other dangly charms. I agreed, and ending up purchasing this to accompany the bracelet:
Such a nice combo!
Alex and Ani bracelets are so incredibly cute, sassy, and full of significance, and I cannot wait to see my mothers’ faces when they open their gifts. I also can’t wait until I get some for myself!!
By the way, no Christmas gifts were ruined in the making or publishing of this post– my mom doesn’t have a computer, and I don’t even know if my mother-in-law knows about the blog!
Have you ever heard of Alex and Ani? What did you get for the moms in your life?