giftapalooza 2010

Christmas is, by far, my favorite holiday. And not just because there are gifts involved…though opening gifts with my family is a FUN event. When it’s Christmastime, I love the festive spirit in the air, the homes bedecked in sparkling lights and luminaries, the cheerful music, the excuse to watch holiday movies (we saw It’s a Wonderful Life on the big screen a few weeks ago), the tasty treats, and the abundance of family time. It’s all so warm and cozy, and there is nothing else like the holiday season! I’m sad that it’s now officially over and the chill in the air is a lot less charming — now it’s just plain cold. Blerg.

I did my best to get shopping done early this year or ordered things online, so I really never felt stressed about getting things done. And, we all know how pleased I was with myself that my cards got in the mail on time. We also kept the home decorations at a minimum since few people ever see our apartment over the holidays, but all of our Christmas cards taped onto the panes of the French doors separating our living room and my office made things just festive enough without a lot of work. (You can see our mini tree peeking out on the left!)

But…back to the gifts! We spend Christmas eve with my dad, stepmom, her mother and some of their friends for gift exchanging, good food and good company. Christmas morning consists of my mom, stepdad, brother, sister-in-law, Nick, and me, all gathered at my mom and George’s house. With the fire glowing and the Christmas tunes spinning on Christmas morning, we go around and each open one present at a time, so it takes about an hour and a half to get through everything. We don’t even go overboard (like we used to) with the gifts themselves — it just takes a while because everyone gets their turn! Nick did not understand this when he first started spending Christmas with my family — he wondered why we didn’t just tear into those gifts one after another and get it done so we could eat and nap sooner — but I think he’s finally learned to appreciate the way we do things. Each gift, no matter how large or small, gets its own time in the spotlight as the recipient excitedly tears open the package, which is likely meticulously wrapped, if SIL Kim or I had anything to do with it. Nick and I get another shot at exchanging gifts later that evening, when his parents join us for Christmas dinner.

I got some lovely gifts this year — some that were on my wish list, and some that were thoughtful surprises. Here are some of my favorites:

Grey Chuck Taylor All Stars; Neo-Geo belt in Lilac from Anthropologie; aqua Divine Twine; Color Study locket from verabel on Etsy; recipe cards by Rifle Paper Co.; Astro Pants from lululemon; DSW, Fossil, and Stephen’s gift cards (the gifts that keep on giving!); and this flip style case for my Kindle.

The favorite gift that I gave? This army watch from J.Crew that Nick has been blabbing about for months. Any time he mentioned it I’d brush it off, saying it was more than we budgeted for each other this year, maybe next year, but little did he know that I bought it on sale the day before Thanksgiving! I loved his reaction of genuine surprise, and he has already picked up a few more bands to go with it.

What are your favorite gifts that you got lately, for Christmas or any other reason?


  1. We too open gifts one at a time! At my in laws it’s custom to guess what the gift is. I don’t actually like that much because if you guess wrong it’s almost like you feel bad that you “wished” it was something that it turned out not to be. You definitely have to control your emotions about how excited you are about a gift potentially being something…LOL does that even make sense? Like I guessed one of my gifts was a blanket (I was SURE of it) so I was like, “OMG, is it the fleece blanket I asked for last year?!?!?” And then it turned out to be something else so I was embarrassed about even mentioning the blanket. Haha.

    So far my fave gift has randomly been a garlic press! Chopping garlic is so tedious…with the press it’s squeeze and done! It’s expensive enough (for what it is) that I’d never buy it myself but am so happy to have one. Those are always my fave gifts…things that I want but would never spend the money on (like I think the press is like $19…an asinine amount to spend on something that just squeezes garlic). :)

  2. I love it when the “giftee” is genuinely surprised (and excited) about their gift!

  3. We pretty much do the one-at-a-time opening at my Mom’s house too… hubs really doesn’t get it! I spy my Christmas card- YAY! :)

  4. Oooh, love love love that watch. I wanted to get it for my husband this year, but it got bumped with other stuff that he actually asked for. Haha. Bummer for me. Turns out my mom got him a kind of similar Swiss Army one, but I loooove that one.

    I got a new flat iron for Christmas which is sweet. I had a thinner one, but as my hair has gotten longer, it’s been taking forever to straighten it. The new one has wider plates which makes it much faster. Love it! Also excited that my husband got a sizeable Container Store gift card from his parents – we might actually get to park in the garage sometime this winter!!

  5. Best gift I gave was to my husband: a copy of the new Call of Duty game. It took three separate attempted shipments from Amazon to make it, but I’m so happy he has it because that means I get a respite from his playing another video game that has been his obsession for a year now. You know it’s bad when watching him kill zombie Nazis is considered a respite!

    I ended up with a lot of movies (mainly foreign–not because I’m a snob as some of them look gloriously cheesy but because I’ve been working on improving my Spanish), a few books, a few sweaters, and all-important gift cards. Oh–and a pair of vintage-inspired silk tap shorts from J.Crew that I adore.

    What do you end up using the twine for? It seems far too nice to tie up a roast before it goes into the oven.

  6. oh you got that locket from etsy?!? i have been coveting it for weeks now! that, and the rest of your gifts, are fab :) (but i would expect nothing less for someone with such great taste!)

  7. You got some great gifts. We’ve had a digital frame we got at our wedding last year that has been sitting in our living room empty. My husband bought an SD card, formatted all of our vacation pictures together and loaded it onto the card. It was one of the best presents I got all year.

  8. @Brandi and @Sarah – I have had my eye on that locket for a while, after first seeing it on Pinterest, so when Nick was looking for some gift ideas I figured, why not? I was super excited that he got it for me!

    @Elizabeth – I love using the twine on gifts, particularly those wrapped in brown postal wrap :)

    @Cathleya – that is so funny about the guessing-gone-wrong… I’d be hesitant, too! (But someone should take the hint next year and get you that blanket you want!!) I should totally get Nick a garlic press… we love us some garlic around here.

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