Thursday, December 26, 2013

My Greatest Gifts

So I read an article about the unfortunate side about having a birthday near Christmas.  Most people who were born in December agreed that having a birthday near Christmas is awful.  To be honest, I didn't think it was that big of a deal for me that my birthday is on the Winter Solstice.  What is also funny is that I had classmates who spoke out for me on how "terrible" it must have been for me to get "Birthday-and-Christmas" presents, when I really wasn't upset at my own birth date.  Growing up, I wasn't best with keeping track of quantity when it comes to presents and I didn't care if they used Holiday gift wraps for my birthday presents.  I received some random things that I liked-- that was good enough for me.

I know for sure my birthday celebrations during some of my teenage years weren't the best.  Then again, growing through total awkwardness makes things less ideal in general.  As I got older,  the celebrations did get better because I figured out a lot about myself and was more in touch with my taste.  I think having a birthday near Christmas is nice  because when it comes to late night outings, I can observe Holiday decorations.  Sure, I may not be able to invite loads of people during my celebration since most are busy during December, but given that I'm a natural introvert, a big gathering isn't necessary for me.

Like the past few years, Adam took me out to dinner and we strolled around downtown and the neighborhood to observe pretty lights.  All the birthday celebrations I had with him have been magical.  Sometimes I confuse my own birthday for Christmas or Christmas just starts early for me.

On Christmas Eve, we wrapped gifts as we embraced the cute wrapping supplies we found from a box that Adam's parents had preserved.  There were shiny wrapping papers, cute-printed sticker tags, and sparkly bows and ribbons to pick from.  I was "that person" who likes to do pretty box- wrapping, therefore, I had enjoyed wrapping papers.

After that, Adam and I lie on a carpet in the dark next to the freshly-cut Christmas tree in his living room.  The tree had colorful lights around, which made them looked like glowing skittles.  We sniffed the tree scent-- it smelled like winter pine.  As we lie down on the carpet next to the tree, we talked all night reflecting on childhood memories that mostly involved our past holiday experiences.  Our conversation was a mix of sadness (nostalgia) and happiness rolled into one, and I can't really pinpoint why, exactly.  But I knew that deep reflection from that night was quite a gift.

I wore my favorite cream-colored coat on my birthday.  Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ten Inexpensive Winterfest Activities

While the Winter Solstice officially starts on the 22nd of December on the Gregorian calendar, I will just say that winter just started because it is damn cold outside! I'm sure for those who are residing in snowy regions (Northern Hemisphere at this time of the month), it's probably a lot more cold wherever you ladies are at.  Anyway, the coldness will not stop me from enjoying the pretty festivities during this season.  So, I made a list of activities for this winter season:

1.  If spending around 7- 15 bucks doesn't hurt, find a local ice skating rink and just go ice-skating!  It's a great way to test out your physical mechanics and keep your legs pumping!  If you fear that you'll fall onto your butt often, then take it slow!  Bring a friend to help support your balance, or skate near a fence until you're comfortable.  Ice skating (minus the tricks and stunts) is like riding on a bicycle.

2. Watch your favorite "chicken soup" movies/television episodes.  By the term "chicken soup", I mean movies and programs that make you feel fuzzy and warm inside.  A fun action film would work too! No emotional dramas, no tragic endings or brutal dark films (unless those things stimulate you); you know, the kind of films that don’t require too much thinking.

I personally would recommend:

DVDs of Soul Train Episodes, The Muppets Movie, Elf, The Princess Bride, Sixteen Candles, The Fifth Element, Adventure Time, and PBS Arthur Episodes

I'm sure there are loads of chicken soup movies out there!

3.  If the sight of holiday lights does not bother you, take an evening stroll around the neighborhood with a partner or a group of friends and bring a hot drink!  It's possible you might end up gawking at a house of that "one neighbor" who goes whimsical with holiday lights decorations! 

*Be sure to wear reflective clothes when it’s dark, just for safety!

4.  Plan out a scavenger hunt for holiday decorations and symbols!  It can be anything from the Star-of-David house lights to some sparkly bubbles from a champagne glass.

5.  Feeling creative?  Build a gingerbread house!  It doesn't have to be anything that looks as if an architect had built it (darn you crazy gingerbread house makers). You can even go as simple as using milk cartons (clean) and graham crackers to build a faux gingerbread house.  Decorate however you want with the house, and just use your imagination.

6.  Try cooking up a new recipe-- whatever you want to try, it doesn't have to be anything challenging.  Lately, I'm curious about cooking certain foods with a clay pot. Some of the stuff should be easy, but I’ve never had curry from a clay pot!

7.  Browse through Youtube and add fun videos and public domain shorts onto your playlist.  So far I have Betty Boop, Georges Melies films, Bravest Warriors cartoons, and Comicolor shorts.  I can get beyond hours worth of a playlist with these collected films.

8.  If you don't reside in a city, take a small trip to the nearest city with your family or (a) friend(s). Building decorations look pretty during the winter time.  Enjoy a simple hot chocolate from a cafe while you take in the atmosphere of the city.

*Now, don't just venture out to random neighborhoods.  Be sure you study/ plan your destination ahead before you go.  Again, stay safe before you head off to dreamland. :)

9.  Build puzzle pieces of a picture that appeals to you with your favorite music.  I would build a Totoro movie scene to the Flaming Lips' Imagene Peise Youtube channel.  If Holiday music isn't your cup of tea, then that is totally cool.  Sometimes, I find myself incorporating Missy Elliott's Get Your Freak On with John Denver's songs.  Yes, I have varied taste in music.

10.  Play with miniature figurines/ objects.  I would reenact a Die Hard scene with some calico critters doll.  If you want to be as daring as Mr. Bean, you can use your imagination with the Nativity scene.  Just don't tell your uptight peers that this was my idea, afterall, Rowan Atkinson attempted this!