1. I used to think the words were, "Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer yoogled down in history."
(Kinda like I thought it was "Starbucks Lovers" instead of "long list of ex-lovers" in Taylor's "Blank Space")
2. Two of my favorite and most memorable childhood gifts were "shoe skates"(you know, instead of the strap on metal kind of roller skate) and a matching Gloria Vanderbilt outfit - courdoroy pants/ matching sweater with large swan insignia on front.
(Just saw a pair of those retro "Shoe skates" at the mall the other day ~ next to a record player and a vinyl record selection!? So weird to see things from your childhood become "cool" again.)
3. In second grade, Wendy Reardon told me that there was no Santa Claus at a Girl Scout/Brownies meeting, and when it was confirmed later that evening by my mom, I felt very grown up to have this secret knowledge that my siblings did not.
(My own children have always known there is no Santa, but Kayla still insists on believing and leaving out treats on Christmas Eve. We just thank her for the late night snack.)
4. My sister and I were convinced that the red flashing radio tower light we could see from our bedroom window was Rudolph.
(And Cooper claims to have seen a couple of UFOs in recent years...)
5. I have never seen the Nutcracker Ballet. I really want to though, and hope to take my own little ballerina next year!
(I STILL haven't seen the Nutcracker, and NEITHER has Kayla! Maybe someday...)
6. But I have seen the Rockette's Christmas Spectacular in New York City with my whole family thanks to the gift of my sister, Melissa and her husband! They went too, and it was spectacular!
(I really wish we could do this every year. My brother and his wife from California are spending three nights in NYC this weekend before they come and spend Christmas with us, and I am SO excited for them. Nothing like Christmas in New York! I'm having a HARD time not being TOO much of a remote tour guide.)
7. I hate the thoughtless consumerism that goes on, but absolutely LOVE it when I can buy my kids something I know they really want. Stuffing their stockings is equally as enjoyable
(But it gets more and more difficult the older they get! What do you get 17 and 19 year old boys??? I really don't trust myself to pick out clothes for them. Kayla, on the other hand, provides me with a list via email ~ complete with links to the gifts. And guess what she wants this year? A record player and vinyl albums! If she gets this heart's desire of hers, it will go very well with her vintage typewriter.)
8. As a child, I became an expert gift wrapper at Rowland's department store in Uvalde,TX during the season. (It was a family owned business)
(I still enjoy wrapping gifts, but my 75 year old father takes the gift-wrapping cake! He is a loyal Container Store shopper and purchases only the very finest of boxes, wrap, and ribbons. He then MAKES his own ribbons at home and attaches them to each gift.)
(And while I'm telling stories on my dad, I may as well tell you that he is known by NAME at Dillard's J. Crew, Ann Taylor, and more. My sister texted me from Barton Creek Mall in Austin to tell me that she felt like a celebrity while helping him shop for the grandkids ~ all the sales clerks giving him a personal "welcome back.")
9. My grandmother, Memo, made something every Christmas that she called "Divinity." I HATED it, and for some time just the thought of it could make me gag. Now I think it was simply meringues, and I LOVE this gluten free treat! (Especially mint chocolate chip ones!)
(I don't make meringues for Christmas much, but I do make a lot of cut out butter cookies, peanut butter blossoms, and a new favorite is "Insanely Delicious Turtle Cookies." Will be mass-producing cookies in just a while for Kayla's annual Christmas tea party.)
10. My two favorite Christmas albums are Carpenter's:An Old Fashioned Christmas (Karen Carpenter's voice always reminds me of Christmas) and Christmas with the Rat Pack. Consequently, my daughter's favorite "Christmas carol" is "Baby, it's Cold Outside."(which is NOT a carol. Sad.)
(I also never get tired of Amy Grant's Christmas albums, but Karen Carpenter is still hard to beat!)
(Kayla will be moving into her brothers' room next week, in order to give her room to her Aunt Melinda, who is coming in from Denver. For some reason, none of the siblings are very excited to be "moving in" together, and I even bought them Christmas lights for their room!?)
12. I never watched It's a Wonderful Life in it's entirety until 2 years ago - but I'm so glad I finally did.
(And since then, I've watched it every year. A few weeks ago, my seminary professor even used a clip from it in class. And Elf is my favorite Christmas movie from recent years. It's a tradition now to watch it every year on the day we decorate our tree. I crack up every time. Love it.)
(And speaking of Christmas movies, how come no one ever told me about the Hallmark Channel? I've been following Candace Cameron Bure (Kirk's sister, D.J. from Full House...) on Instagram, and she's in nearly every Hallmark movie ever made, I think. We watched her movie Christmas Under Wraps this year, and I tried to win the scarf she was wearing in the movie by responding to her "live tweeting." (yes, really) (I did not win) The movie was not at all predictable or sappy. I'm kidding. It was, but I didn't care.)
And even though it was only supposed to be 12 random facts, I added a 13th. This one also holds true in 2014.
13. Aside from church on Christmas Eve for a candlelight service, and New York City's 5th Avenue and Rockefeller Center, my next favorite place to go at Christmastime (anytime really) is Starbucks. What is it about that place that charms me so? The warm wall colors, the hard wood floors, chalkboards announcing the newest seasonal drink, the cool music selections, the chai lattes (with half and half, of course) And during the holidays, the decor draws me in all the more. What can I say? The Mermaid mesmerizes me, and I am simply compelled to enter every Starbucks I walk (or drive) past.
(We have a new one in town WITH a drive-thru which is particularly dangerous. I use it as an incentive for my big 3-store grocery trips. Ugh.)
(Oh! And Whole Foods! THAT'S a fun place to browse at Christmastime!)
And now I'm off to make cookies and a whole bunch of these for a houseful of teen girls tomorrow. No one ever outgrows decorating a gingerbread house!