Tag Archives: christmas

10 Years of Movies on Christmas Day

It’s been our tradition, every year since Drew and I got together, to go see a movie on Christmas Day. For a while it was big movie musicals – then we went through a weird period of kind of depressing movies. Theoretically this year we would have brought it back around with Into the Woods, but then we ended up seeing it earlier in December.

But in honor of our 10th Christmas together, let’s just call Into the Woods our Christmas movie this year (although the plan is still, ever-optimistically, to watch something at home tonight after B goes to bed. Haha).

Here’s our list of movies we have enjoyed for the past 9 December 25ths.

  • 2005 – The Producers (Daly City, CA)
  • 2006 – Dreamgirls (Queens)
  • 2007 – Sweeney Todd (Queens)
  • 2008 – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (42nd St)
  • 2009 – Sherlock Holmes (Lakeport)
  • 2010 – 127 Hours (San Francisco)
  • 2011 – War Horse (San Bruno)
  • 2012 – Les Miserables (San Bruno)
  • 2013 – Saving Mr. Banks (Lakeport)
  • 2014 – Into the Woods (San Francisco)

Merry Christmas to you and yours, and may you be able to go see a movie if you want! (Into the Woods is great, fyi.)

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Filed under Drew, Holidays, Memoir, Movies, Nonfiction

Heartwarming Christmas Stories, Vol. 1

We’ve been trying to really do up Christmas this year, so I thought I would share some heartwarming Christmas stories that show off what it is to have a toddler.

On Friday morning we took B to meet Santa. We’d been telling him about Santa and “prepping” him to say, “Hi Santa, Merry Christmas, this year I’ve been a very good boy and I would like __________.” (Whatever the blank happens to be: books, a puzzle, a dog, more letters, etc.) (Of course there was no chance he would say all that, but it’s fun to practice anyway.)

So we get there and we’re first in line, because I’m overzealous and I think that everyone’s going to the mall to meet Santa on a Friday morning. So without anyone to use an example, B was not happy to be sitting on a stranger’s lap (I can’t say I blame him) and he basically made this face the whole time:

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I love this photo so much.

And PS. he was totally fine once we got him out of there. Like, completely happy.

On Friday night, we finally cleaned off our kitchen table, which has been accumulating STUFF for, like, weeks. And somewhere near the bottom of one of the piles, Drew found a sticker advent calendar, which I think my parents brought over for us around B’s birthday. So Drew sat down with B to catch up on advent stickers, and we’ve never done stickers before, so neither of us was sure how it was going to go. But B patiently took each sticker that Drew handed him, and stuck it on (or near) the paper tree. Drew and I were all heartwarmed already. But it gets better.

The next day, we did one sticker (in classic advent style). Fine.

The next day, we did one sticker…and then B started saying, “More, more,” and I tried to explain the premise of the advent calendar, but that he could LOOK at the stickers. And then he took the page over to Drew and said, “Help” (which he has just recently started saying). And Drew was like, “Oh that’s adorable.” And then B said, “Peese?” And we both knew it was all over. Drew and I decided that since we had already messed up the first 12 days, what did the second half of the advent calendar really matter, when your toddler just asked you for help please? So they did the rest of the stickers, which was really one of my favorite things that happened this weekend.

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The third, and possibly most heartwarming, story is from Sunday. We were doing laundry at Drew’s grandma’s condo, where the laundry room connects the house to the garage, and has a door on either end. I was detained elsewhere for a minute, when I got a phone call from Drew. I answered and he said, “He locked me in the garage! And then locked himself in the laundry room!”

I opened the door to the laundry room, where B was just standing, looking around. And then I opened the locked garage door and found Drew cracking up. What would he have done if I wasn’t there?

So Merry Christmas everyone, and I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season, whether or not you have a toddler around to spice things up. =)

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Filed under Awesome, Family, Humor, Nonfiction, Sentiment

The Correct Way to Work a Holiday Gift Exchange

Tonight is our work holiday party, complete with yankee swap gift exchange. In honor of this tradition, I thought I would reuse this blog post from a few years back, which basically sums up my priorities and my wisdom in one anecdote.

Originally posted on Dec 14, 2011.

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Alternate title: My Shameful, Gleeful Secret.

Despite knowing about my work holiday party, and the “yankee swap” type gift exchange, I didn’t remember to buy a gift until the day of the party. (Also despite browsing at Macy’s over the weekend, picking things up and wondering if they were appropriate for a holiday gift exchange.)

On my lunch break I ran to Target to pick up some boring stuff and also look for a gift. On the drive there I decided to buy a book, because I’ve talked about books with several other people here, and I thought that would be a nice diversion from the numerous bottles of wine that I was sure would be there.

I looked through the book section, but there wasn’t really much of interest. There was a wall of trashy teen romance, a wall of trashy adult romance, a wall of trashy thriller/suspense…and then I saw a single copy of Stephen King’s recent collection of novellas: Full Dark, No Stars.

I know of at least two other people in the office who like Stephen King, and he’s pretty mainstream, so I thought it would be a better gift than, you know, Twilight or The Chocolate Cat Caper or something like that. (Although, I also thought about getting Dollhouse, the book “written” by the three Kardashians.)

So I bought the book and wrapped it in a little bag, and told no one except Jonathan what it was. I deposited it under the tree at the holiday party and waited for the gift exchange to begin.

Soon I started feeling like I needed to leave the party soon – later that night Drew, Erin and I were going to a screening of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – and for a minute or two I wondered if I could get the present back out the door if I left before we started the swap.

But then we all settled down and the fun began, and I’m glad I stayed, because it was super fun. The entire thing (there were around 30 people participating) took about 90 minutes.

I was number 26 in the lineup and I had decided I wouldn’t just select my own gift, even though Full Dark, No Stars was one of the few Stephen King books I didn’t own. When my turn came, I stole a set of balsamic vinegar and olive oil from someone else, and I was very happy with that steal. After all, I could always go back to Target and buy another copy of the book.

In a few more turns, a girl sitting next to me selected my gift, and once she’d unwrapped it, she looked less than enthusiastic. No one seemed to want to steal it either. Perhaps I had completely misjudged this group – and neither of the people who I know like Stephen King were at the party.

In another few turns, the hostess of the party stole my balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and I made a snap decision to steal Full Dark, No Stars. Which I did. That girl opened another present and seemed much happier with it. No one stole the book from me after that.

When I got home, I told Drew the whole story and then displayed the book, and he said, “Well, I guess that worked out perfectly.”

And it did.

Merry Christmas!

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Filed under Awesome, Books, Holidays, Humor, Memoir, Nonfiction, Work

Christmas and the Four Gift Rule

This time last year, Drew and I were brand new parents. B was still technically an infant, and still novel to us, and Christmas was our first chance to really spoil him. He was growing out of all of the neutral-colored infant clothes we had started out with, and he was beginning to be interested in rattles and other toys. It was the perfect opportunity to go a little crazy with presents, buying him cute outfits and colorful stacking cups and yes, even some stuffed animals.

We have a picture of him from Christmas 2012, strapped in his bouncy chair, with all of his gifts piled around and on top of him. It’s an embarrassment of riches, especially for a 3-month-old. (We also have a picture of him lying on the floor, almost totally covered with wrapping paper – but that’s just for fun.)

This year, I’ve been asked the question multiple times: What does B want for Christmas? And the truth that I keep telling people is: He literally doesn’t need a single thing. Thanks to friends who are liberal with their hand-me-downs, he has clothes to get him through the next year and a half. Thanks to an admittedly lavish first birthday party, he has a ton of toys – several that we haven’t even given him yet. He has all the gear, all the furniture, everything a toddler could desire. We didn’t even know what we should get him, and we’re his parents, for crying out loud. (But no more stuffed animals. We’ve learned that lesson already.)

Then a friend on Facebook posted a PSA about the “mistakes” she has made as a parent. She said that she has spoiled her kids by buying them piles of gifts for every occasion, and now that they’re older, they’ve grown used to it, and even started to take it for granted. She was very honest and blunt, and I really appreciate that she was willing to open herself up like that. Most parents I know wouldn’t have come clean in such a way. At the end of her cautionary tale, she referenced the Four Gift Rule – “Something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read.”

I love it. I love the idea of taking some of the emphasis off of gifts, and simultaneously shifting focus to other holiday activities – but not in a chastising way, or a “you ungrateful child you” way. It just feels like a gentle guideline. I also love the foundation it gives me in figuring out what to get this kid (who’s not going to remember any of this anyway). Now that we have categories, it’s easier to come up with ideas.

And the four categories cover all bases well. We’ve already established a tentative “new pajamas for Christmas” tradition, and I’m always up for buying more books (even board books). So we’re halfway there.

Perhaps, in another year or two, when we have more room for large presents, and an older child who actually has a Christmas wish list, the four gift rule will go out the window. But for this year, I’m happy to enforce this for everyone in our family. (For B, we’ll just need to fudge the “something you need,” since he needs nothing. “Something you want” is easy – he’ll want it as soon as he sees it, at least in the moment.)

Merry Christmas! May your gifts be meaningful, your families be joyful, and your smiles be plentiful. And a Happy New Year!

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Filed under Baby, Children, Holidays, Nonfiction, Self improvement, Writing