Enjoying the Holidays

This Christmas, my parents, came up from Virginia to visit.  Even though I’m 26, I’ve never actually spent a Christmas at my own home. We’ve either gone to my husband’s parent’s house or my parent’s home for the Holidays.  It was the first time we spent it at our house.

family shot

I enjoyed seeing my family, and we had a lot of fun.  As most people know, my father was in the military, so we moved around quite a bit.  We never adopted a lot of traditions for Christmas.  We open gifts, have a turkey and spend most of the day relaxing or driving around looking at Christmas lights.  That is exactly what we did this year as well.

Christmas dinner

christmas turkey

My husband and I went out for a morning workout while the rest of the house was sleeping. After getting ready for the day, we opened a few gifts for each other. Of course who doesn’t like to give and receive gifts but seeing family was even better.

Dad

A tradition my husband and I do have, is cleaning up during the holidays and donate things we haven’t used in a full calendar year.  We were able to donate 5 bags of appliances (goodbye George Fireman grill), running shoes, random trinkets and everything in between.  Moving around so much (this is the first year we haven’t moved in 12 months), we don’t like to accumulate things.

tim-and-i-1

Believe it or not, this year I did not get any new running gear! I did not need any new running gear either.  My inlaws sent this beautiful Kate Spade purse I’ve been wanting (to match my Penguin wallet and sweater…and life).  I also got a few new pairs of pants to update the wardrobe.  It was a perfect Christmas.

 Kate Spade Penguin Wallet

We also went to view Christmas lights at the Shady Brook Farm in Yardley, PA.  If you’re local it’s a great place. You get to drive through and look at the festive Holiday lights and it’s an incredible layout. Yardley Christmas Lights

My photos don’t do it justice, but I would highly recommend going.

Yardley Christmas Lights

Questions for you:

How were your Holidays?

Do you typically travel or stay home?

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Holly Jolly Christmas

My husband and I were lucky enough to spend last week and the Holiday with my in-laws.  Despite working most of the week, we were able to make the easy 3-hour drive to central PA.  One reason I enjoy living in New Jersey is because we are so close to everything.  Both my parents and my husbands parents are within a six-hour drive.  We don’t have to get on an airplane to visit.  Not that my husband hates flying…

It could have been the unusual weather, but this year was hard to get into the Holiday spirit.  The pouring rain and 70 degrees didn’t help, but December was also a busy month for me.  I keep thinking we “just” made our first Turkey, but Thanksgiving was over a month ago!

We set up our own Christmas Tree at home.

Christmas Tree

We arrived on to my in-laws home on Christmas Eve.  We were able to see my sister in law play the flute in the Church service.  She is a local music teacher and truly skilled at playing.

tim and I

Afterwards, we celebrated at my sister in laws house with dinner and drinks.  It was fun to relax and enjoy just hanging out.  I’m lucky to be so close to my husband’s entire family.

A few delicious Holiday Eats: 

My inlaws enchiladas are the key to heart (one of them at least)
My inlaws enchiladas are the key to heart (one of them at least)
Egg nog and ice cream.
Eggnog and ice cream.
Pumpkin rolls with cream cheese frosting is the best.
Pumpkin rolls with cream cheese frosting are another key to my heart.

We spent Christmas with both Tim’s parents, grandparents, sister and husband as well as their daughter.

My husband, father in law and I even got to go on a nice peaceful run.  Running in Central PA reminds me a lot of running in my old college town.  It’s open country roads with minimal shoulders.  You can see for miles and the only thing that might bother you are a few cows.  Since it was Christmas, the roads were a lot quieter than normal too.

We opened gifts under the tree and watched as my two-year-old niece was excited about everything. Many people might not know but I love penguins and my mother in law got me penguin slippers.  They are the best!

penguin slippers

I had a great Holiday in Pennsylvania.  Now for a few days of work and then I’ll be traveling to my parents for New Years.  I haven’t been down to Virginia since Labor Day and the Rock N Roll half marathon so I’m excited for that too.

Questions for you:
How were your Holidays?
Do you have a tradition for Christmas? 

 

Five Types of Holiday Shoppers

There are several types of Holiday Shoppers you will see or have seen already.  Heck, you might even fall into one of these personality types.  I know I do!  Working in retail, I’ve already seen every personality type.

Five Types of Holiday Shoppers

First, it’s hard to believe Christmas is only a week and a half away. Maybe it’s just me but with the last few weeks of temperatures closer to 50 or even 60, it’s hard to get into the Christmas spirit.  That being said, I’m nearly done with my Holiday shopping.  It helps when everyone told you exactly what they want.

So spill it, what kind of Holiday shopper do you fall under?

Procrastinating Peggy

Picture this: It’s December 24th and 10 minutes before closing.  This customer is in the store getting their last minute gifts.  You are trying to get home to your family…Normally the shopper looks frazzled and in a bit of sheer panic. Personally I’ve been there and I know I’ve frustrated the employees in retail stores.  internet meme

Gift Card Gerry

You get a gift card, you get a gift card…everyone gets a gift card!  At a local running store, it’s always good to get a gift certificate because unless someone explicitly tells you what shoe they run in, then it’s impossible to know.  Plus, who knows…today they want running shoes, a few days after Christmas maybe they want whatever’s on sale.  gift card meme

Early Bird Etta

They were asking about Christmas sales in July.  By the time I publish this post, they’ve already bought Christmas gifts for 2017.

Grumbly Gina

This person would hide in a hole during the Holidays if possible.  Yet here they are at check out telling you why Christmas is awful, why even bother and whatever else they can complain about. christmas shopping meme

Online Oliver

Forget those holiday shopping crowds.  Everything for everyone is purchased online.  There are no crowds to deal with and if a product is out of stock, it’s just back ordered.

Question for you: what kind of Holiday shopper do you consider yourself?

Hollie Jolly Christmas

I always find it interesting to see how others celebrate their Christmas holidays.

For some it means gathering family and extended family.

For others it means a small get together at home.

Some families open gifts together, some families open gifts as they wake up. 

My family is small and close.  I always enjoy coming home to see them (Holiday related or not).

Last year Tim and I spent Christmas with his family.  I love Tim’s family as much as my own.  We were supposed to drive to see them again this but plans change. Hopefully next year we will be able see them for the holidays again!  It’s crazy (overwhelming and also crazy) that plans can change so soon!

I didn’t make an effort to take a bunch of family selfies, photos of my family or scan the internet to get the best Holiday dessert ideas.  Maybe this is why I win the worst blogger of 2014…oh well next year I can win best blogger.  There is a New Year’s Resolution for everyone.  Anyways, we had a cute Christmas tree at my parents house and celebrated as a family.

Here are some photos of my family that were not taken on Christmas:

My family is adorable.  I'm a weirdo.
My brothers high school graduation
Here is from last year
My extended family at a 2 mile open water swim
Very cold family photo.
Lake Placid.  It was -22 degrees when that photo was taken

familyportrait1

My Christmas was pretty quiet.  We did our traditional Christmas of opening gifts and having an early Christmas dinner (around 3pm).  Then we just relaxed and sat in a food coma the rest of the day.  It was honestly the relaxing and rest I needed.

Christmas tree

The craziest part of my Christmas was I didn’t drink any coffee! 

The next day, mom and I went and got some nice clearance items.  I ended up finding a blazer at New York and Company as well as a couple pairs of pants. I always love a good sale.  I’ve always found a few good updates to my wardrobe post Holiday season (mostly because everything is on sale). Boxing day was no exception.

Blazer in action getting froyo
Blazer in action getting froyo

My Christmas was very laid back (exactly what I needed and liked).  I have no complaints and I’m truly glad to have enjoyed the company with family.  Of course I missed my significant other I had a really good Christmas with my family and friends.

Questions for you:

How did you celebrate the Holidays?

Have you found any good deals post-Holiday season?  

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

It seems like this Christmas snuck up on me.  It was my first Holiday season working in retail and boy was it exhausting.  There were some days I didn’t sit down for more than 1 minute in 10 hours!  Yesterday after work I drove directly to my parents.  I’m glad to spend the time with some of my family. I’m so lucky I appreciate everyone inviting me into their homes after T was deployed.

Happy Holidays and I hope you enjoy them!

Happy Holidays to all of the men and woman deployed away from their families.

Happy Holidays to everyone having to work jobs today.

Happy Holidays to everyone having to spend time away from their families.

Happy Holidays to everyone.

Very cold family photo.
Very cold family photo.

Enjoy this time with your loved ones!

Last Minute Shopping

To be honest if I wasn’t on the Sears Blogger Squad I would have started my Holiday shopping the week before Christmas (IE: this week).  Every year I’m always a late starter but I’ve always gotten what I’ve needed.  This year being a part of the holiday blogger campaign with Sears, I felt the pressure to start a little bit earlier (LOLZ, blogging pressure).  Everyone is different and I even know people that had half their Holiday shopping done before Black Friday (go you guys!).

I  know people that start their Holiday shopping in May.  By Black Friday, they are pretty much done with everything.  I also know there are people like me, who panic and start 5 days before Christmas.  Everyone’s different and in reality, the Holiday’s are about enjoying the company of family and friends anyways.  My Holiday shopping is never stressful and I hope other people’s isn’t either.

black friday shopping meme

This year was a bit of an odd ball year for me.  I would have normally started shopping for everyone this week (Last minute LOLZ).  Since T has to leave and I am working in retail during the holidays, that wasn’t an option.   I am almost completely done with shopping except for my parents.  Sometimes I think my parents are the hardest to shop for.

———

I came across this LOLZy article from Huffington post about Christmas shopping.  I can relate to almost everything.  I thought the post was so relateable I wanted to dedicate a post to it!

Two tips really stuck with me: The first was “stay to the list”.  I love when someone gives me a list of things they want for Christmas.  Sadly most adults don’t give lists and I’m stuck guessing what people want…if everyone gave a list I think Holiday shopping would be easy.

christmas list meme

One thing I have been enjoying about doing holiday shopping at Sears is free shipping or the free in store pickup.  It keeps me able to stick to lists.  I just ordere what I want I want/need and pick it up.  I don’t mindless browse.

Mindlessly browsing stores always ends up like this:

Buy the gifts intended to purchase for friends and family .

Buy random things for Hollie she doesn’t need.

End up spending twice as much on random things Hollie doesn’t need.

I ordered all of Tim’s gifts online and then picked them up in store.  It makes it really nice.  Sears has been a staple for 75% of my gift purchasing this year.  I cannot thank them enough for opening my eyes to some of the great deals.

The second was that smart shoppers don’t buy something, “just because it’s cheap”.  I’m someone who doesn’t care for trivial junk.  If I haven’t used an item in a year, I donate it.  This includes clothing, random accessories or anything in general.  I always ask myself “will I even use this”?  Yes, it’s cheap but it’s pointless if (or the person intended) won’t use it.

So long post short my holiday shopping is almost done.  I have a few odds and ends left to purchase but all the major shopping is finally completed.

Questions for you:

When do you get your Holiday shopping done?

What is on your Christmas list?

Hollie Jolly Christmas and Life

I cannot believe Christmas is less than a week away.  I know I have said frequently but I have been lost in the last two seasons and still think it’s summer time.  Too bad all of that time has both come and gone.  It’s no longer fall and it’s nearly winter.  Good thing for me that Tim’s birthday is on the 21st and the first day of winter.  Therefore I can remember both!

Since it’s his birthday plus we went to my house for Thanksgiving,  we are in Pennsylvania  to celebrate.  I truly enjoy spending time there with his family so I’m very excited.

In other worthy news we put up a Christmas tree in the house.  We went to good ole’ Lowes and pulled it right out of the cement.  Not that this has anything to do with the Christmas spirit but we spent 90 minutes in Lowes.  I don’t think in all of my life I have spent that much time there.  Tim needed a bunch of materials to do man things so I spent time with his mom wondering the store.  They have the most random things in Lowes that I never would have thought of.

336

But what do I know about home improvement? 

I got a few questions about how I like New Jersey.  Is it better then Texas?  Is it better then VA?  Do I like it more then Upstate? 

I really enjoy the area that I live in NJ.  It’s a very quiet and remote place.  In my town (yes town) there are two restaurants (an amazing diner that we go at least once a week) and a pizza place.  There is a gym, grocery store and state park (with roughly 50 miles of trails) so it has everything I want.  When I do find a job I’ll be commuting upwards of 30 miles but it’s fine because there is 95% of everything else I want.  So to answer all the questions at once: yes I like it and I’m extremely happy here.  (mostly happy to finally be settled!).

We do see these planes frequently though...so there's that
We do see these planes frequently though…so there’s that

Running has been going nicely.  I took yesterday off but I think I’ll be getting some good running in next week in Pennsylvania and it will be a nice change of scenery.  I finally feel like I’m getting some of my base back and hopefully in a couple of weeks I’ll feel like I did in September and October.  Then I will be able to make a decision about a spring marathon or waiting until fall.

As seen on a run this week.  The lake is frozen over and geese like to attack.
As seen on a run this week. The lake is frozen over and geese like to attack.

Questions for you:

Where did you get your Christmas tree?

What are you doing for the Holidays?