My favorite time of the year is here. I'm home, cuddled up with my cat, a cup of hot cocoa and of course my technology (iPhone, iPad and laptop). It feels so good to be done with finals and not have to worry about anything. Well I do have quite a bit of wrapping to do because my family makes me do it (I'm the best wrapper in the family to be honest).
What I love about being home is all the little traditions that we have. Black Friday shopping, December shopping, January shopping, February shopping ... wait where was I going with this? Other than buying things, our family always visits Portland for Christmas, where the rest of my family resides. We bring all our presents down there to open with our grandpa (his two cats) and cousins.
But before we get to Portland, there's the decorating of our two trees, setting up of the Nativity, cookie exchanges, house parties, seeing the Nutcracker put on by the Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Santa pictures. Since 1999, my sister and I have been going to the downtown Nordstrom for photographs with Santa Claus. There were a couple of missing years where we thought we were too cool to continue the tradition, but for one final hurrah, we took one this year. Over the fourteen years we've taken these pictures, they've captured Marisa and I morphing from cute to awkward to (a different kind of) cute again. Here is the reveal of our Gooding family Santa photograph below compared to it's '90s original.
Not much has changed, except maybe our choice in footwear (although velcro is coming back in style surprisingly).
Another thing my family loves is Christmas music. We pull out the boxes upon boxes of CDs every year, starting Thanksgiving Day. We have Michael Bublé, Céline Dion, Harry Connick Jr., Tony Bennet, Amy Grant, Mariah Carey and even Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite. I love hearing these CDs on repeat at our house while candles glisten.
Along with all the tried and true traditions we have, I'm so happy to add some more to the list. This year marks the first Christmas for Misty, our new cat. She's loved the Christmas trees the most, knocking down ornaments every time she passes by. It's the cutest and most annoying thing ever because I have to put everything back on the tree only for her to knock it off again.
For New Year's, I'll be going to New York for the first time! I'll get to see the ball drop in Times Square, go to the top of the Empire State Building, and even go shopping on Park Avenue (feel free to donate money to the Joe Gooding Needs A Designer Piece Of Clothing Fund). You can be sure I'll be documenting that trip right here on my blog!