“Christmas is a day of meaning and traditions, a special day spend in the warm circles of family and friends.”Margaret Thatcher
Christmas has arrived too soon. I usually write a long list of Christmas wishes around the first week of December that I try to check off before the actual day arrives. Christmas is in 4 days. This holiday season, I decided to just go with the flow and embrace every moment instead making a frantic effort of checking off every single item on my list.
MY CHRISTMAS LIST THIS YEAR
Holiday traditions, or traditions in general are important to me. As much as I have my list of Christmas traditions that I have been so dedicated in observing every year, this time I decided to let go of some just for this year. Instead I am just focusing on ones that involve self-care and precious times with family and friends.
🎄 Holiday Outlet Shopping… Almost every year for over 10 years, my friend Jax and I go outlet shopping around the first week of December to kickoff the holiday season. We reserve one day in December where we shop at the San Francisco Premium Outlets. It is always a full-day of “shop till we drop” from 10 am until it gets dark and when we could not feel our legs anymore. It is also our tradition to break for a delicious tapas and wine lunch at Coco Cabana in between to rest our legs. I look forward to this every single year. It was not just the shopping part but the tradition of friendship with Jax. And as always, it was so great to spend this day with her. Sales were good but not as great as previous years’. I bought half a dozen sweaters as I intended to do this winter and stocked up on my favorite brand, L’Occitane of hand cream and face wash. I also got Mr Sweetie’s shirts from Ralph Lauren, my sister’s puffy coat from DKNY, a Kate Spade bag from my sis-in-law and earrings for my gals also from Kate Spade. It was a successful shopping trip!
🎄 Holiday Wine At The Ferry Building… This is a new tradition and it is here to stay! This is our second year in a row where BFF meet up at the Ferry Building to enjoy wine and cheese at the Ferry Plaze Wine Merchant. The historic Ferry building is so cozy and festive this time of the year! (And I made an exception to indulge in dairy because it is so worth it!) We did a Gingerbread tour after our holiday wine and cheese. So fun!
🎄 Gingerbread “Tour” With BFF… While BFF and I did not get to do our Christmas tree visit at Union Square and Gingerbread House visit at Westin St Francis as has been been our yearly tradition, we got to do a fun gingerbread house “tour” at the Ferry Building. We had a fun time admiring and taking photos of the cute gingerbread creations.
🎄 Girls Holiday Dinner… For over 10 years, my girls and I choose a restaurant in San Francisco where we have our girls Christmas dinner. We indulge in rich and delicious dishes, imbibe lovely cocktails and order almost everything on the dessert menu. Then we exchange beautiful thoughtful presents. This year’s venue was Bellota, a chic Spanish restaurant. Great choice by BFF! I will post full reviews of these great restaurants that I have tried this holiday season.
🎄 Holiday Lunch With Amiga… A short and sweet meetup at her favorite poke place at the Twitter Building before she flies to Florida with her family for the holidays. I am glad that I got to see her and we got to exchange presents.
HOLIDAYS AT WORK
🎄 Holiday Parties… I am not a big party person. I went to two work parties this season. I came royally late to one because I just wanted to support my co-workers who generously put it together. I was disappointed in the venue. (It used to be by the breathtaking Embarcadero with a view of the Bay Bridge but I appreciate the efforts.) The other big party was at my main office where people were also having their mini-parties at their departments including one right next door to office. As I was finishing up my work I was able to pop in to take a couple of sips of a very lovely cocktail, Mourning Dove. I was also able to break bread (ate 3 mini-eggrolls) with new friends as I tried to sneak out from the big main party in the atrium. Then I made a mad dash at the door to escape before the party even really started! Ha! Ha!
🎄 Holiday Brunch… One of my bosses treated us to a decadent brunch at Rusty’s Southern in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. It was a lovely brunch where we had hush puppies and mac and cheese for appetizers. I had a Green Tomato Benedict (Buttermilk Biscuit, Collard Greens, Fried Green Tomato, Two Poached Eggs, Hollandaise, Spring Greens). It was a very enjoyable brunch where our leader also went around to thank each and every person. (Just to think that I almost opted out because I stayed out late with the girls for our holiday dinner just the evening before! But I always show up and I never regret ever doing so!)
COZYING AT HOME
My home is the coziest during fall and winter. I prefer to stay in and avoid traveling to really enjoy the solitude of being home. I try to spend as much time as I could at home to enjoy looking at the Christmas tree, cuddle with my cat, read, spend time with Mr Sweetie and take advantage of the solitude that this season brings.
🎄 Christmas Tree… I am proud that I put the tree up on the first of December even though it was not until a week later when I finally put up the decorations. For the second year this year, I put up my white Christmas tree. I decided last year that I did not want to get a real one for a while. For years, I only bought freshly cut trees. I just want to simplify the holidays. As much as the real tree is lovely, it is a lot of work to buy and haul it from the tree lot, put it on a stand, constantly water and sweep the needles. I decorated the tree one week night while Mr Sweetie and I were watching TV but I was also trimming the tree. It was as close as I could get him to decorate the tree with me! 😉
🎄 Creature Comforts… We had some very cold days and nights where the temperatures dropped in the low 40s. We found out that our central heater needs maintenance. Aside from using every space heater that we have and lighting the fireplace, I also bought an electric mattress pad that makes us feel so toasty and comfy at night, and a heated shoulder wrap that Mr Sweetie loves. Cozy moments!
December is the season for solitude, reflection and enjoying simple joys.
🎄 Days of Solitude… I have my own personal traditions in December where I take a day off to rest and enjoy my home. I was able to enjoy two vacation days during the first two weeks of December. I spent “me time” at home where I got to watch (corny but so nice!) Netflix holiday movies while wearing Jumpin Jammerz (one of Mr Sweetie’s presents for me from Christmas pasts) while wrapping presents. I was also able to enjoy a quiet moment reading holiday novels while enjoying my Christmas tree and decorations while my cat was serenely sleeping in his little bed by the tree. I was also able to light my candles scented with cinnamon and pine which I do not get to do when Mr Sweetie is around because he is allergic to scents.
🎄 Cups after cups of hot chocolate… Special shout out to Trader Joe’s hot chocolate! Hot chocolate is coursing through my veins right now! Ha! Ha!
🎄 Everything that I love during this season… cozy weather, rain, pumpkins, giant Christmas trees, gingerbread houses, apple pies, quiet evenings by the fireplace, hot chocolates, the delicious scents of peppermint and cinnamon, happy reunions with friends and family, etc.
🎄 “C”… Many of the things that I love start with the letter “c” such as Christmas tree, cozy home, cuddling, hot cocoa, smooshy cat, cold evenings, chocolate candies, cookies, cinnamon, cozy mysteries 🙂
🎄 Thoughtful little presents and all the goodies at work… I am not expecting anything from anybody but it is such a joy to get little presents. The cookies, donuts and chocolates are also arriving non-stop in our office staff room!
WHAT I MISSED DOING THIS YEAR
There are some things that I do and places that I visit every year that I did not get to do this holiday:
- Visit the gingerbread house display at Westin St Francis with BFF.
- Visit the cats and dogs on display for adoption at the Macy’s window at Union Square.
- Visit the giant Christmas tree at Union Square.
- Window-shopping at Crate and Barrel at Union Square.
- Do a Christmas walk in San Francisco to look at holiday window displays.
- Participate in the holiday cookie exchange at work.
Now that I actually wrote down what I have missed, I realize that they are not really a lot. Praying to get to do these again next year.
And I hope to get to do this……
🎄 Holiday get-together with my family
🎄 Watch more holiday movies
🎄 Bake cookies and cakes
🎄 Eat a gingerbread cookie. I have not had one this year!
It is only few more days before Christmas but I intend to enjoy every moment. I am also looking forward to the solitude of winter after the holiday frenzy is over. I am looking forward to quiet moments of reflections, cold nights by the fireplace and devouring great reads.
I don’t want much for Christmas. I just want the person reading this to be healthy, happy and loved!-somewhere on the internet