28 December 2008

Key learnings and holiday recap

By: Jessica B.

Woo! I’m back from a few days off! I hope everyone had a great holiday and that Santa was extra good to each of you. 

I’ll get to the holiday recap shortly, but let’s bask in some key learnings!
Key Learnings:
  • Baked Cheetos are insanely addictive. Bags on them can disappear easily
  • It’s okay to eat a plateful of fudge for breakfast, lunch and part of dinner
  • Hiding in your bedroom at home is totally acceptable to get some alone time
  • Parents need to share the television because I can only handle so much Fox News and CNBC
  • Even though you have a designated room at home, you have absolutely zero privacy. Parents will still come in your room, with or without permission
  • Reading the same book at Border’s over the course of two days is fun, and cost-effective
  • Homemade cinnamon buns are a-m-a-z-i-n-g, way better than store-bought
  • Hiding disappointment at Christmas gifts is tougher to do as you get older
  • Text messages from friends on Christmas can totally make your day
  • After a tough day at home, nothing says “tomorrow will be better” like beer…or scotch
  • At Wisconsin weddings, Packer gear, scrunchies, bad faux fur and open-toed shoes with nylons are common sights
  • Despite multiple outfit/accessory options, it’s okay to stop showering daily and wearing full make up while home for the holidays, no one judges
Holiday recap and gift FAIL

Overall, my holidays were good, although the crazy weather did throw a wrench into a few things. But everyone got along, there was no crying (at least on Christmas Day) and everyone was in good spirits. Even when we’re strung out on stress and no sleep, all of my Christmas celebrations had laughs, which makes everything all good.
And, I don’t want to sound bitchy, but Santa came to visit me this year and honestly, it was a partial FAIL. I love buying gifts for people and picking out perfect items for everyone on my list. I take great pride in this, but I know not everyone does that. For example, dad and I went to Crate & Barrel to pick out wine glasses and champagne flutes for my apartment and Christmas morning, I eagerly anticipated opening up my gifts to find them. 
Turns out, I didn’t get the glasses I picked out because he thought I would like other ones better…that look nothing like the ones I picked out. I didn’t like the new glasses and now have to go through the hassle of returns, while my dad takes this personally. It’s not personal, I tell him, but he doesn’t seem to feel that way. Sometimes, maintaining the element of surprise as an adult is very tough.
Now I have a total of four gifts to go back, with replacement items (from my list) already purchased. It’s just so much work and frustration. But it’s okay.
Despite a few bad apples, I did get my new kitchen knife set and back-up hard drive for Lulu, so it wasn’t all bad :) And dad did surprise me with a Longchamp Le Pliage nylon tote. I have one in blue and use it all the time in summer. It’s a perfect size and is perfect for the rain because it dries easily. Yay!
And based on the other gifts I got, including a nifty decanter and bar set from friends, it appears as though I need to drink more. Ironically, I also received three bottles of champagne, so, I guess I can start working at meeting this goal. 
What about everyone else? Was Santa good to you too? What was your favorite gift this year?

When I left Chicago, we had several inches of snow, but it wasn’t too awful. However, Wisconsin was NAILED with snow, at least 10 inches, and it basically shut the city down. This meant I lived in my wellies for the first few days home because we had so much snow every day. The snow even caused my mom to reschedule our Christmas Eve activities until Christmas Day. Roads were awful and it was ungodly slippery, but I was spared from shoveling duty so I can’t complain too much. 
Here are some snow pictures from outside our house pre-Christmas. Overnight Friday, we lost five inches of snow from the mild temps. Crazy global warming.


  1. dolcechic says:

    Glad you had a good Christmas. The best part of mine was my grandma felt better Christmas day.

  2. kay* says:

    oh my gosh, hilarious, hilarious, hilarious! i too have trouble hiding the disappointment…feigning the fake excitement…oy.

  3. Lauren says:

    “Even though you have a designated room at home, you have absolutely zero privacy. Parents will still come in your room, with or without permission.”

    YES! Oh man. My mom doesn’t understand privacy. I still get the “so, who were you on the phone with?” UGH.

  4. Mega says:

    In terms of gifts, I got a haul this year. I don’t remember getting this much cash and gift cards.

  5. Blaez says:

    i’ve almost come to the point that i don’t like to buy gifts anymore. i mean i sit and list out each person on a peice of paper and thier personalities and thier likes and dislikes and try to get that perfect gift for them. no matter what the cost. and i don’t ever seem to get that back in return.

    i never once got an awesome christmas or birthday present from the exhusband. now i will tell you that Joe (my almost fiance) did a marvelous job on my presents this year. just amazing!

    last year i went all out on my sisters and thier husbands/fiances and my parents and my brothers and thier wives and kids. and i was so disapointed at the return. i lost out bigtime on that one. and i know that that is not the meaning or spirit of christmas but when your so excited about giving the awesome gift and you hope that someone else has put into as much thought and effort as you did and they didn’t. i makes me tear up. it makes me sad.

  6. Tough Girl 101 says:

    lol, i always hole up in my room at home. I also agree with you and the cheetos. Change Barnes n noble to Borders and you and I have another thing in common there too.

  7. S. says:

    Wine is a health food, right? Let’s all get to drinking more healthily in ’09 shall we?!

    A resolution I’m sure to keep!

  8. The Modern Gal says:

    There was a Borders next door to my old office and I managed to read an entire Harry Potter bit by bit over my 30-minute lunch breaks. It took forever, but I didn’t have to buy it!

  9. Katie Killary says:

    hehe I know what you mean with the fudge… I had cake for breakfast lunch and dinner every day it seemed!

  10. Daisy says:

    Wow cinnamon buns and a white Christmas- I’m jealous! I don’t think a bar of Toblerone and English drizzle quite beats that.

  11. thatShortChick says:

    enduring hours of foxnews? wow, you have quite a strong resolve.

    the homemade cinnamon buns sound heavenly.

  12. erin says:

    i have given up on expecting awesome presents at christmas. my dad gives me wine and starbucks cards (which are totally appreciated) and my mom pays for my phone (very much appreciated when i am trying to save money). everyone else in my family gives me money.

    no complaints but no surprises either.

  13. Rebekah says:

    No snow in St. Louis :o(

    This year’s presents for me were a partial fail too, for reasons to be explained in blog… sometimes I really just wish no one got me anything.

  14. Katelin says:

    oh man that is so much snow. and boo for present fails, i hate returning stuff, at least now. but glad the rest of your christmas was fun and full of good times it sounds like. woo.

  15. Hope says:

    I love the snow! LOVE! It finally snowed here on Christmas after years of it not… WOOHOO!

  16. Erin says:

    MMMM, baked cheetos!

    My family and I all make Amazon wish lists. Some people think it takes the fun out of gift giving, but I say that getting the wrong gift takes all the fun out of gift getting!

  17. Arielle says:

    I looove Cheetos. Also, that’s a crapload of snow, and I got NOTHING for Chanukah this year because my parents sort of just..forgot about it. And finally, all those drinks I said I needed on facebook are “tomorrow will be better” drinks. Oy.

    Oh, and I pretty much only wear makeup when I go out to bars or weddings. Because I’m a lazy ass.

  18. Nilsa says:

    Let me offer you this silver lining. At least you have gift receipts / know where the gifts were purchased, so you can make returns/exchanges. Try some of our (very close) family members who opted to IGNORE our wedding registry, not even look at it for ideas of what our style is and purchase god-awful wedding gifts that we’ll never be able to return because we don’t know where they were purchased. We just re-gifted one of the gifts and we’re saving the second gift for a white elephant swap. One that doesn’t involve said family members. Ugh.

  19. liz says:

    Hiding disappointment is SO hard. Also, I really want homemade cinnamon buns now, Mmmm.

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  21. Jenn says:

    Baked Cheetos are pretty delicious.

    This Christmas was good. I agree it’s difficult to hide disappointment when opening a gift. It seems like this year my family finally paid attention to me. I’m really happy with everything I got!

  22. Cheryl says:

    Scotchy, scotch, scotch…Given how cold it was a week ago in these parts, I’ll take a little global warming! My mother takes direction well, it takes a lot of surprise out of Christmas, but it works. She also knows my taste. My sister, on the other hand, takes EVERYTHING as a personal affront so, you know, it’s all about balance. ;)

  23. Miss Grace says:

    My mom just gave me cash. I actually like getting presents, because I always end up using money for boring little things like gas and food and everyday living, and if I get a gift, I HAVE it. But it was still nice.

    Baked cheetos are indeed heaven.

  24. SA says:

    Okay, I can forgive the Packers gear, and the scrunchis, and the bad faux fur. I can and will not forgive nylons with open-toe shoes. As my mother says, that’s a big no-no.

    I think it’s kinda sweet your dad tried to surprise you. Granted it’s not exactly what you want but it’s suppose to be the thought that matters, right?

  25. Vanessa says:

    Hiding in the bathroom is also acceptable! A perfectly timed text message always makes things look better in the face of an uncomfortable situation.

  26. Alexa says:

    open toed shoes with nylons drive me nuts!!!

  27. Classy in Philadelphia says:

    That sucks about the failed gifts. Like you said, but the opposite: I find it harder and harder to fake excitement and surprise as I get older. Haha. Although, we got tickets to Disney World (Fav. gift) and I ran around the house like a 4 year old screaming! Haha.

  28. EP says:

    I feel like I need to try baked Cheetos. I cannot even imagine, but I know they have to be good. Yum!

    Also, the snow looks gorgeous! I would love to have a white Christmas, but I fear that if I did, it would be marred with disaster since no one knows how to drive in it down here. Ah, c’est la vie.

    I’m happy things went well for you. Good luck with the returns!

  29. emmaelizabeth says:

    haha love the last 2 key learnings :)

  30. Maki says:

    I’m glad that you had a good Holiday.

    And the snow looks so pretty (although people there might not feel that way).

    It was warm, almost hot Christmas in Florida…

  31. Mandy says:

    Taking presents back is the worst, even more so when you had already picked out what you wanted! Lounging around in pjs is the best isnt it?

  32. Rachel says:

    This was the first Christmas in…ever…that I was absolutely head-over-heels with my presents.

    It probably has something to do with my boyfriend finally “getting” my taste. After eight years.

  33. LBluca77 says:

    Scrunchies at a wedding? Wow I thought the government had permanently banned that.

    Sounds like a nice trip home.

  34. Heidi Renée says:

    Oh, and I was totally hitting the bourbon, wine and champagne (but not mixed) with my sister and her fiance while we were staying at my mom’s. It was, ahem, necessary. Nice how our parents drive us to drink sometimes, right?

  35. Heidi Renée says:

    I second the hiding your disappointment part. I purposely opened the gifts from my in-laws that my husband had brought back for me (I didn’t go to his family’s Christmas because I went to my own family’s) even though they wanted to get together so they could see me open them. I always know I’m automatically going to hate whatever they get me, and this year was no exception. Ugh.

  36. Angela says:

    I LOVE being at home because it means I can lounge around in my slept-in makeup and PJs ALLL day, and no one cares!

  37. LJ says:

    wow the snow there looks a lot nicer than Chicago dirty snow! mmmmmmm baked cheetos!