Happy Hump Day, everyone! – Now that I read that back, it’s an odd way to start a holiday entry, but I’m keeping it.
As of yesterday, it is officially Winter! My mom and I rang in the Winter Solstice with a bang- we went skiing! This year, we went to two resorts I had yet to ski, Vail and Winter Park. For all you military personnel, Vail has a really great military rate, but Winter Park stole my heart. Not only did we stay in a beautiful hotel, the hotel was right across from the slopes; I felt like a snow queen. Is that what Frozen’s about? If it’s not, it should be. One skiing tradition we have is that we always take a break at the top to get some hot chocolate. Back in the day, the slopes had big mugs of hot chocolate with lots of whipped cream. They have moved to disposable cups and no whipped cream…little disappointing, but still a treasured tradition nonetheless.
I guess you can drink anything and be happy when this is your view.
All in all, it was an amazing trip.
It snowed the entire time and we even saw a ram walking on the side of the highway; I couldn’t have asked for anything better. The older you get, the more you realize your mom is your best friend. Having to live away from home has taught me to really treasure family time.
She drives me crazy, but I don’t know what I’d do without my mom. I feel so blessed that my parents took us to the mountains every year.There is nothing like breathing in the crisp winter air from the top. I crave it, I crave the peacefulness and the calmness that overcomes me when I see the view from the top.
We hear a lot from our customers that they can’t wait for Spring so that they can use our tents- and I don’t blame them, our tents are awesome- but for me, Winter is where I have my best adventures. So, thank you mom, for a trip I’ll never forget.
I tried something new this Christmas for wrapping my presents. I was kind of bored with the same old wrapping paper. I was browsing on Pinterest and got inspired to use mailing paper and stamping on different holiday themed designs.
I bought a roll of paper at Target for $6 and I didn’t even use 1/4 of the roll- it’s seriously some bang for your buck. I went to Hobby Lobby and purchased a holiday themed set of stamps and an ink pad for $10. Word to the wise, go for the more expensive ink. I cheaped out, like I always do, and totally regret it. It’s worth that $3 extra dollars, trust me. Live and learn. My second wrapping idea came to me from a childhood tradition. For a couple of years, my family went through a real rough patch financially. To save some money, my mom would have us keep our paper grocery bags and decorate them to wrap our presents in. At the time, I had no idea we were poor, I just thought it was fun.
It wasn’t until I got older that I realized why we actually did it.I loved decorating the bags with my mom and sister, it’s one of my favorite childhood memories. I was probably more proud to give my paper bag than the actual present inside.
So, I had some newspaper laying around and I thought, “I’ll just use this to wrap my smaller gifts” and I actually love the way they look. I love how simple it looks and I love that I was able to reuse newspaper.
Every year, my family and I sponsor foster kids for the holidays and I wrapped a few of their presents with newspaper. In hindsight, I probably should have wrote a note explaining why…they probably just think I’m cheap, which isn’t far off. All jokes aside, they probably won’t even notice, they get most excited about the fact that it’s their name on the present. If you’ve never sponsored kids for the holidays, I definitely recommend it. Just Google your local foster organization and they’ll hook you up with a case manager who can tell you about their kiddos. It’s so personal and rewarding.
I really want to take some time to talk about Christmas. We’re all running around trying to get some last minute shopping done, buying food for Christmas dinner, stressing out about making everything perfect. It’s not the presents nor the meal that makes the day so special, it’s the people we spend it with.
My family is loud, we’re competitive, we’re vulgar (that’s mostly just me) we butt heads and it wouldn’t be a Christmas dinner if someone didn’t get mad- but I wouldn’t change anything about them.
The best part about your family is that they are yours. I’m getting to that age where my friends are settling down and having children. I have a friend who is raising two young girls on her own and she reminds me so much of my mom. She was so stressed out about having to give her girls gently used toys, when their friends will be getting brand new ones.
My mom is a great seamstress and she would make us matching PJ pants, winter hats, blankets, etc. and we loved them. Truth be told, I don’t really remember what I got for Christmas, I just remember our traditions. One Christmas, my mom gave all the money she saved up for Christmas to a woman who was an immigrant from Costa Rica. She hadn’t seen her mother in years because she couldn’t afford the airfare- she was busy giving to others here in the USA.
My sister and I didn’t care that we weren’t getting many presents that year or that we were only getting homemade ones, we were excited this woman was going to see her children. I don’t have children of my own and I’m certainly no expert, but keep in mind, your children learn from you. You set the tone for Christmas and what you value, your children will value. So, to the parents who are struggling and stressing about presents, don’t.
Stress giving back, stress tradition, stress the importance of family. New toys are only new for a day and things are just things. It’s people that matter and it’s people that are our greatest gift.
We want to give a special shout out to the service members who are deployed this Christmas and their families. We greatly appreciate the sacrifices you make each and every day. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the six service members who were killed from a suicide bomber in Afghanistan on Sunday. Sgt. Joseph Lemm, he leaves behind a wife and two children. Maj. Adrianna Vorderbruggen, she leaves behind a wife and a son. Staff Sgt. Michael A. Cinco, Staff Sgt. Peter W. Taub Chester McBride Steven Neuhaus, he leaves behind a wife and a young child.
As 2015 comes to a close, I’m looking back at the amazing year we’ve had. I’m grateful that my family is able to do something we’re passionate about. I’m grateful to be surrounded by amazing friends. My life is so rich in love and my heart is so full. This Christmas, may you hug your family tight, may you laugh, and may your heart be full.