Life / What I Got for Christmas [2015] | Pennies & Paper: Life / What I Got for Christmas [2015]


Life / What I Got for Christmas [2015]

Saturday, December 26

Hello, everyone! Merry Christmas, if you celebrate, and happy holidays/winter if not :) 

Christmas is one of my favorite times of year, because I get to see my cousins and grandparents and aunts and uncles and, well, everyone! As the years have gone on, traditions have changed a little. This year, my mother's extended family opted for a "Faux Noel" a week before Christmas, which my family hosted. My high school friends had our annual Secret Santa. For the actual holiday, my mom's mother is now in a nursing home, so instead of the usual Christmas Eve at her house we got Italian and checked out the nursing home's conference room. We saw my dad's side as usual on Christmas day, but missing my grandfather who passed away in October. Despite all of the differences, I loved seeing my family and friends. As the Doctor says, "The good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant."  

This is a "what I got for Christmas post," so if you don't like these types of posts, that's your warning. Personally, I love these posts and videos. I think they're fun and similar to hauls, but with a more emotional background. I've only done one before, last year. On a practical level, they help me write my thank you notes and also keep me accountable for how lucky I am to have such caring coworkers, friends, and family.

The above gifts are all from my boyfriend, Matt. He bought me four perfect gifts--a remote for my camera (so I can stop stealing Dad's), a copy of Cosmicomics with my favorite design of Italo Calvino's books, a book I hadn't heard of but am very excited to read, and a selfie stick (I wrote a thesis on selfies but never owned a selfie stick--scandalous!). Since we exchanged gifts on Faux Noel, the selfie stick got a lot of us right away :)

Before Christmas I was given an assortment of things. My friend group's Secret Santa gave me colored pencils and a coloring book--Alex knew I liked books, but not how much I wanted a coloring book, so I am super excited about this! The Lindt truffles are from one of my bosses at work, the gift card is from the editorial director, Time and Again was from our first annual book swap at work (I contributed The Baron in the Trees, another book by Calvino), the William Sonoma Meyer Lemon Spread is from my publisher (and it is delicious), and the milk chocolate pieces and Burt's Bees hand cream are from another of my bosses. The three things off the to right were a mystery pack from when I ordered Birchbox items for my mother and aunt. Not shown are two Barnes & Noble gift cards, given to me by my manager when I left my internship in August. (Since I haven't used them yet, they count as Christmas gifts, right?) 

I haven't owned winter boots in years, not since I outgrew my last pair (and I haven't outgrown shoes in a loooong time), so snow boots were on my wish list. My Aunt Maura outdid herself with these gorgeous Clarks! They fit like a dream and are warm and comfy. (Now it just needs to snow!) Not shown are the gifts from my grandparents--money, which I've split between my Roth IRA (so fun, I know) and a travel fund and my grandmother's sewing machine. Now that she has Alzheimer's, my grandmother cannot sew anymore. And even though she is not aware that she is giving my her sewing kit, we all think she would have liked to do that anyway.

On Christmas Day, my immediate family opens stockings and presents. My parents always do a great job with stockings, a mix of fun, yummy, and useful. Of note here are the touchscreen gloves, a jar of coconut oil (since I kept stealing Mom's), funky black teas from Dad, battery powered lights, and the usual assortments of snacks and gum (including the annual Sour Patch Kids).

My parents gave me the warmest Michael Kors winter jacket. It's both practical and stylish, so I can wear it to work--ever since the buttons fell off my wool coat last winter, a new work-appropriate winter jacket was on my list. They also got me two scarves, a Cashmere scarf and a hand-knit scarf, coincidentally in the same colors. Not pictured is the generous gift certificate to my salon, enough to cover my next haircut and some Deva Curl product.

My brother, Sam, got me a magnetic bottle opener and pint glass from Ski the East--not only is it a good quality brand, but I've only ever skied on the East coast, so it's entirely appropriate xD

Since my dad's side of the family is rather large (he's one of nine), we tend to do smaller gifts outside of the godparents/godchildren. The dragonfly motif needs a backstory: after my grandfather died, multiple family members had random run-ins with dragonflies. My Aunt Cathy got the girl cousins dragonfly bookmarks, my cousin Allie made a bittersweet memory video, and my godfather gave me this beautiful, made-in-the-USA dragonfly necklace. Not pictured from Christmas Day are the (losing) scratch ticket, money from Nana, Gronkowski gummies, and homemade fudge from my Aunt Geri.

I am forever grateful for my family and friends, regardless of the gifts they do (or don't) give me. With so many significant changes in the past year, I'm reminded how important everyone is to me and how suddenly people can be taken away, but also added.  
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