. 25 days of christmas, 10 through 18 .

by Amanda @ .running with spoons. on December 18, 2012

Hello, hello!

Things are finally starting to settle down around these parts, and can I just say thank goodness for that. Don’t get me wrong, I adore travelling and my trip was awesome, but the craziness of Vegas mixed with airports, taxis, and luggage is definitely not a lifestyle I could maintain for any extended period of time. Let’s just say that my consumption of coffee pretty much tripled during my short stay, and I was still operating on a borderline zombie level of consciousness. Good times; but I’m happy to be home…

For one, it’s almost impossible to get into the Christmas spirit in Vegas. I know I complain about the insane amount of snow that gets dumped on us up here in Edmonton, but it really does make a huge difference in how Christmassy things feel. Despite the abundance of holiday decorations and music in Vegas, I pretty much forgot that Christmas was right around the corner while I was there, and it wasn’t until I came back home that it really hit me that Christmas is less than a week away. Seriously? Eep!

That being the case, I really need to play catch up with Jenny’s 25 Days of Blogging Christmas challenge, soooo I’ll be doing that while tossing in random pictures of  Vegas in Christmas mode. Deal? Deal. Oh, and click here if you missed part 1. Oh! And I also picked the giveaway winner, so scroll to the bottom to see if it was you.

10. Favorite holiday scent. This one is a tie between peppermint and evergreen. I wouldn’t say they’re some of my favorite scents ever, but they’re definitely the ones that remind me the most of this time of year.

11. Favorite Christmas tradition. Wigilia, which is a traditional Polish celebration of Christmas Eve. It starts with a meatless dinner made up of traditional Polish dishes, moves on to the opening of presents, and finishes off with going to midnight mass. My family celebrates the 24th more so than the 25th – Christmas Day is usually pretty quiet and only really involves a dinner in the evening.

12. Wrapping paper or gift bags. Paper! Don’t even get me started on people who put gifts into bags. Yes, I know it’s convenient and probably more environmentally friendly, but since when has convenience been fun? Unless you’re going all out and wildly ripping bags into smithereens while tossing the pieces into the air to watch them rain down like colourful snow, the excitement of tearing into Christmas presents is entirely lost! Paper all the way – especially because bags make it all the more tempting/easy to peek ;)

13. Favorite Christmas book. The Velveteen Rabbit. I got it for Christmas when I was really young, and it remains one of my favorite children’s stories to this day.

The famous MGM lion all decked out in Christmas cheer… aaaand a cowboy hat. The reason for the hat is that the National Finals Rodeo was taking place while we were there, so there were a lot of cowboy boots and hats scattered throughout the city. Yeehaw!

14. Real or artificial tree. Artificial. I may be going against the grain here, but as much as I like the smell and idea of a real tree, I prefer the convenience and cleanliness of a fake one. We’ve only had a real tree on a few occasions while I was growing up, and it was always a pain in the butt. Not only is the pickup and transport a painful and cold process, but the needles end up everywhere. No. Fake tree with an evergreen candle for me.

15. The best gift you’ve given. Hmm. I don’t know! I try to put a lot of thought into every gift that I give, so it’s hard to pick just one. Uhm. OH! Ok. I’m a big fan of personalized and meaningful gifts, so one year I made a photo album for my parents that was packed with pictures and stories of all our Christmases together since I was born. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house by the time we were finished looking through it…

16. Hardest person to buy for. This title would normally go to my dad, but this year? The boy. I mean, men are hard to shop for in general, but what are you supposed to get someone that you just started seeing? Help!

17. Post a picture of an old Christmas card. If you insist…

I keep pretty much every card that I’ve ever gotten, but the majority of them are still at my parents’ house. This card is special because it’s the one that my parents got me for my first Christmas in my new place. Gush.

18. When do you open gifts? Christmas Eve, with a stocking from “Santa” on Christmas morning.

. – . – . – .

Oh geez! I almost forgot to announce the winner of the giveaway…

Congrats to Lisa! I also wanted to thank everyone who entered… I wish I could send things to all of you, buuuuut between the goodies and shipping, I would probably end up going broke in no time. There’ll be other giveaways in the future, though, so keep your eyes open for those :D

See you guys tomorrow for WIAW!

. – . – . – .

Are you a present peeker? I used to be notoriously bad for this when I was little. My mom actually wouldn’t put presents under the tree until it was almost time to open them because of how clever I got with figuring out what was in them. Nowadays it’s not so bad, buuuut I can’t deny that the temptation is still there ;)
Favorite Christmas tradition?
Any advice on that to get the boy?! 

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Aimee December 18, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Favorite Christmas tradition- that’s a tough one -I love everything about Christmas – especially decorating our tree while listening to “John Denver and the Muppets Christmas”, and the famous Italian Christmas Eve dinner finally followed by a new hallmark ornament each year in our stockings.
What to get the boy? Mmmm what about something you guys could do together – like tickets to something or a dinner date?
Hope you had a great trip in Vegas – :)

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2 Amanda @ .running with spoons. December 18, 2012 at 11:40 pm

Ooo a date night! That actually sounds like a great idea… Gonna have to look into some good places to go.

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3 Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers December 18, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Sadly, I have absolutely NO tips on what to get the boy. Men are hard! Women like smelly stuff, sparkly stuff, and just stuff that lets us know you thought of us. Men? If they really really really want something, they’ve already bought it themselves. Sigh…
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4 Khushboo December 18, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Soo I’ve been sitting here trying to think of present ideas and I’ve got nothing for you! Shopping for boys really is a difficult feat! What about a goodie basket with several little things that he would like/remind you of him? You cold definitely could include something Starbucks-related as you guys ran into each other there? Or instead of an actual gift, what about a voucher to do something which he would enjoy (e.g. a massage, driving a sports car, etc)?
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5 alicia December 18, 2012 at 5:49 pm

My go to gifts for boys (or my boy, rather):
- Fun, fancy coffee
- A guys night out on “me” (Visa gift card to be used at a bar)
- Cool workout gear
- Batman Pocket Knife (this one is really cool)
- Gift certificates to places he can grab lunch at near the office, or coffee

Just a few ideas to toss around!

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6 Amanda @ .running with spoons. December 18, 2012 at 11:44 pm

Those are all really great ideas! Thank you, thank you!

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7 Matt @ The Athlete's Plate December 18, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Haha my GF was definitely the hardest one to shop for this year. She is so picky!
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8 Sarah December 18, 2012 at 5:50 pm

I’m still super jealous of your trip to Vegas. I bet it’s nice to get back to reality, though. And now you’re back just in time to celebrate all things Christmas! I still keep all of my cards too. I have a stack of about 40 graduation cards in my desk at home. That was 3 years ago…
That’s really cool that you open all your presents Christmas eve and just do the stocking Christmas day. I like that!
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9 Miss Polkadot December 18, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Welcome back, Amanda! Now Vegas does really get all out regarding Christmas decorations, huh ;)? I do get that you weren’t able to get into the mood, though.

Funny how you mention present peeking. While I don’t think I’ve ever been thaaat bad as a child – though who knows ;)? – I recently was tempted. My mum and I were traveling on the train together the day after she had done most of her Christmas shopping. When she left for the toilet I do have to admit I was tempted to take just a tiny little peek into her bags. In the end though, I was a good girl – and well, Christmas wouldn’t be all that exciting without the surprise anymore.

Regarding the boy’s gift I second the Starbucks-related idea. Maybe some kind of Starbucks collage or – if you’re good at drawing – a story of how you met adding a voucher for your favourite drinks with smuggled in homemade cookies? Because baking is the way to a guy’s heart, right :)? Sorry I don’t have any real ideas.
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10 Amanda @ .running with spoons. December 18, 2012 at 11:46 pm

Those are such sweet ideas! I’m definitely going to have to bake him something because he loves cookies, but with all of the delicious recipes out there, it’s hard to pick!

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11 Nicole December 18, 2012 at 6:01 pm

Haha, yeah, Vegas is not the place to go for the Christmas spirit. Rather, it’s to get away from the insane cold of other places!

And I wouldn’t go too big for your boyfriend, I mean, how long has it been? Get him a Starbucks gift card or Starbucks mug with some candy in it as a cute way to remind him of the way you two met ;)

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12 Ashley @ AlmostVegGirlie December 18, 2012 at 6:17 pm

I’m a fan of the artificial tree too! We’ve always had fake ones at my house and even though it might be fun to go up into the mountains to pick a real tree, I just prefer the fake trees that you can set up easily and they don’t shed needles all over the place.

My favorite tradition is the Christmas Eve church service we always go to. It’s so cool to see it all lit up at night and sing the classic Christmas hymns. At the end we sing Silent Night while holding candles in the dark and it gives me chills every single year.
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13 Amanda @ .running with spoons. December 18, 2012 at 11:50 pm

Singing Silent Night in candlelight sounds pretty amazing. Our mass starts out with dimmed lights and then tonnes of bells start ringing and the lights come on when we start singing ‘Gloria.’ Seriously love that kind of stuff.

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14 Alex December 18, 2012 at 7:21 pm

My mother is the type of person who’s REALLY obvious when it comes to buying gifts, so if we’re in a store somewhere and I say, “OHMYFUDGE’NGOSH I LOVE THAT”, she’ll not-so-discreetly tell me to go somewhere else that’s not there for a while. So, I wouldn’t say I’m a PEEKER…:)
My favorite Christmas tradition would have to be baking a BOATLOAD of cookies the weekend before Christmas; dough + cookies + holiday music = Happy Alex
Present for THE BOY? Well, I would go back to where you first met and get something from there :)

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15 Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin December 18, 2012 at 7:27 pm

I’m terrible at coming up with gift ideas for guys. :P But maybe you could give him an experience instead of an actual gift – like a special date or activity you could do together.

I have so many favourite Christmas traditions! Making a gingerbread house, playing board games on Christmas Eve, decorating the tree while listening to Bing Crosby… I can’t wait!
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16 Sam @ Better With Sprinkles December 18, 2012 at 7:47 pm

Hehe I was such a present peeker when I was little…every year, I knew at least half of what I was getting. So sneaky!

Ugh, boy presents are never easy! I like the idea of something Starbucks themed – it’d be cute/memorable of where you guys met.
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17 Caitlin December 18, 2012 at 7:49 pm

I hear you on the tired after travel thing…I always try to take an extra day or two off when we get back so that I can just recover…recover from vacation…fun right? As far as present peeking goes, I really like to be surprised…butttttttt, the boy had all of his presents for me shipped here, since he doesn’t have a PO Box on his base anymore (yay for almost being done), and I’ve been throwing them in my closet so I “forget” about them…I haven’t forgotten, though…and I really want to go shake them. Bad girlfriend :( favorite christmas tradition is christmas eve with my family and christmas jammies which have to come back next year…and I SUCK at coming up with boy presents…always rely on him…although I did find a mini air hockey table for $16 that I’m really excited about…fingers crossed he is too :)
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18 Devon @ Health in Equilibrium December 18, 2012 at 8:17 pm

I am totally an artificial tree girl too! They look better, they are more convenient, you don’t have to water them and the ornaments stay on much better! Plus they’re less painful to decorate, how can you lose?
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19 Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl December 18, 2012 at 8:29 pm

I have never been a present peeker. I generally don’t like surprises, but I ALWAYS like being surprised on Christmas morning with my presents. It makes it so much more fun! :)
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20 Amanda @ .running with spoons. December 18, 2012 at 11:59 pm

That’s the kind of logic that I’ve been using now that I’m older, but I didn’t think that far ahead when I was little. All that mattered was knowing what was in the box, and the fun came when I could finally play with whatever it was!

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21 Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table December 18, 2012 at 9:43 pm

I forgot all about the Velveteen Rabbit!!! That is such a sweet book!
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22 Lisa December 18, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Ah SO dang excited Amanda!! Awe, the Velveteen Rabbit!! That was the best book ever! I completely forgot about it. It’s funny, because I’m a total present snooper, but once I find out, I instantly regret that I ever looked in the first place haha. I should learn from past mistakes, but I never seem to;)
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23 Lisa December 18, 2012 at 10:03 pm

oh forgot to add, should I e-mail you my info?:)
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24 Amanda @ .running with spoons. December 19, 2012 at 12:00 am

Peeking and regretting – #storyofmylife. And yes to the info, but I’ve already e-mailed you :D

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25 Lisa December 19, 2012 at 10:15 pm

SO weird, I didn’t get the e-mail haha. This seems to be happening with it lately! Other people have tried to e-mail me and I haven’t got it :/
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26 Lucie December 19, 2012 at 12:40 am

I think the date night is a great idea. I give my boy a gift voucher for a session in a flight simulator. I have not the slightest idea why one would be happy about sitting in a fake plane pretending to be a pilot. Well, he obviously is and will be thrilled about this present :-)
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27 Jess December 19, 2012 at 1:12 am

I prefer artificial tree too! Just had to say it, because no one else seems to feel that way! :)
Boys are hard! My go to boy presents are belt, wallet, movie or dinner gift voucher, cool Tshirt, workout gear like boxing gloves or whatever he is into, hoodie, expensive international beer or wine. They are tough- hope that list helps. I’m always trying to think of things for my husband who has everything!
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28 Sara @ Nourish and Flourish December 19, 2012 at 1:12 am

Eeeeep! Shopping for guys is SO hard. And the difficulty is magnified times 1000 when he’s a *special* guy. I started dating my last boyfriend in mid-November, and remember struggling with the same question. I didn’t want to come across as being over-committed/exuberant/obsessive (?) about what we had, but I also wanted him to know that I truly cared about him. After agonizing for weeeeeeeks, I finally went with a Swiss Army pocket knife money clip (my brother’s suggestion). He LOVED it, and used it every day. I’m sure it’s in the trash now, but it sure got good use while we lasted. ;-p I also like the idea of giving a voucher for a fun activity that the two of you can do together. What does he love? Another year, I gave my guy tickets to a pro football game, which he was pretty excited about. We went to his favorite restaurant for dinner beforehand, and I made a batch of his favorite cookies for us to nibble on during the game. :)

One of my favorite Christmas traditions in my family’s Christmas Eve yule log party. When I was young, we always spent the holidays in the San Francisco Bay Area (where both of my parents are from). My dad’s side of the family has been throwing this party for over 100 years, and everyone–everyone!–comes. Most are relatives I never knew existed (kidding, kind of), but my cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles were always there too. At the beginning of the night, the newest born family members “ride” the yule log, as sort of a rite of passage into the family. Basically, they sit on a big piece of wood strapped to a mini sled, and all the cousins pull it several feet down the street. Pictures galore are taken etc etc. Then the wood is brought inside, thrown in the fireplace, and everyone gathers for a reading of the Christmas story from the family Bible. Afterwards, we sing carols and eat traditional appetizers like tea sandwiches and deviled eggs. I don’t go every year anymore (not this year), but it’s such a fun and meaningful tradition!
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29 Amanda @ .running with spoons. December 19, 2012 at 1:48 pm

That’s seriously one of the sweetest traditions I’ve ever heard of! I love hearing that people still do things like that, and I can only imagine how meaningful it must be to you guys :D

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30 Chelsie @ Balance, Not Scale December 19, 2012 at 2:30 am

LOOOOOOOVE the Velveteen Rabbit. Now. haha. When I was young I wouldn’t let my Mom read it to me because I thought it was too sad.
As for the boy. Pick something small, but that reminds you of something funny or ridiculous about him. Like a weird pair of socks/slippers or a goofy stuffed animal. Something that doesn’t cost a lot, but that means something really cute about your relationship. I’ll try to think of some specific examples and text you if they’re too personal about him. But somehow I’m thinking Grey’s Anatomy or Starbucks should come into play.
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31 Jessie December 19, 2012 at 3:17 am

What a sweet gift to your parents. So thoughtful & just absolutely beautiful <3 They are lucky to have such a wonderful daughter!
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32 kaity @ kaityscooking December 19, 2012 at 3:58 am

i always was a present peeker but still never could tell what i got lol im still like a kid though my parents will be like on xmas eve u want to open a few gifts tn n im like uhhh no i gotta wait til morning. lol and cinnamon bun bfast is my favvvv tradition <3
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33 Amanda @ .running with spoons. December 19, 2012 at 2:02 pm

The cinnamon bun breakfast seems to be a really popular one, but we’ve never done it at home! I feel like I’m missing out…

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34 Laura December 19, 2012 at 6:05 am

My parents actually get mad at me because I’m so good at just looking at a gift and knowing what it is. Sometimes it takes a little shake, but NEVER a peak. I guess I’m just that good ;-)
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35 kris December 19, 2012 at 9:24 am

It’s kind of sad, but I had completely forgotten about the smell of evergreen until I was in New York two weeks ago and walked by a christmas tree stand and the smell just hit me. Smells AMAZING. My family used to do real trees when we were young, but as we got older it was just more convenient (and clean) to go with the artificial tree.

I’m actually kind of freaking out that christmas is less than a week away. I still need to finish buying presents!! Guys are so hard to buy presents for!
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36 Olivia @ Life As Liv December 19, 2012 at 9:32 am

Haha, I’m definitely not a present peeker! I prefer to wait until Christmas and then just have present overload. :)
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37 Meghan @ After the Ivy League December 19, 2012 at 10:46 am

I wish I could help you out with #16, I’m in exactly the same boat! No idea what to get the bf! And I completely agree about wrapping paper vs. bags…I think the only gift that’s acceptable to give in a bag is a bottle of wine. Because the bags are made special for it and wrapping it would just be awkward.
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38 Molly@This Life Is Sparkling December 19, 2012 at 10:51 am

Christmas Eve we always open our pajamas and go to church and then dinner at Outback Steakhouse. Then Sunday we open your stockings (one from mom & dad and one from “Santa” ;)) and then presents. All followed by a big brunch!
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39 Akexus December 19, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Oooooh I love artificial trees!!! It means we get to leave them up longer than real ones :) My favorite Christmas tradition is putting up our Christmas tree the weekend after Halloween we’ve been doing it ever since I can remember! Good luck on finding present for the boy I wish I could offer some advice but I’m just as baffled
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40 Kat December 19, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Def would say some sort of date night. Or make him suffer through an evening of trying all your baked goods. Blindfold him and make him guess what they are ;)

And I am a huge lover of peppermint and evergreen smells!! I could seriously just stand in a christmas tree lot all day smelling the air. And you know me and my love for mint :) Ive been trying all sorts of ways to insert crushed up candy canes into my food!
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41 Gina @ Health, Love, and Chocolate December 19, 2012 at 11:11 pm

When I was younger I would actually snoop around my parents room and look for presents before they were even wrapped hehe! For the boy’s present, you could always consider doing a gift you could both use, like tickets to and event/game/show, whatever he is into. :-)
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42 Irina @ Chocolatea Time December 23, 2012 at 11:03 am

I find travelling to be very tough, both mentally and physically, as well. This is totally ironic because I basically travel for work multiple times a month, but it’s still an adjustment for me! I also haven’t gotten into the Christmas spirit AT ALL yet because of the odd warm temps and lack of snow. I miss snow, and this is coming from a girl who hates the cold! When I had a bf I also had no idea what to get him every year, I there are no wise words/suggestions I can offer :(
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