Already Planning for Next Year

Today marked my twenty-sixth Christmas, my fifth Christmas in the Treehouse, and my second Christmas with Tim.  Once the presents have been opened and our tummies are full, just before the long winter’s nap, I ponder where I want to be this time next Christmas.  A lot of people think about this kind of stuff on New Year’s a-la Bridgette Jones.  But for some reason, the post-Christmas, I want to be in a completely different life this time next year mood sets in.  I call it the After Christmas Itch.

Symptoms of the post Christmas Itch:

  • You feel like you’ve done absolutely nothing and have nothing note worthy to say about your year would you have written a holiday newsletter
  • You have a surplus of energy, more than likely brought about by the plethora of calories you took in
  • You decide to do something totally out of the norm, like sign up for a marathon or hey, start a blog
  • You promise yourself that no matter what, you will be in a completely different place next year, whether that means mentally, spiritually, location-wise, romantically, or professionally

We went around the table during Christmas dinner and I asked everyone where they wanted to be next year.  I gave the vague answer but since I asked the question, I didn’t want to spill my guts over the beef tenderloin and macaroni and cheese, bringing everyone down into the sobering effect I felt.  And actually typing this will hopefully keep me accountable.  Haha!  How many times have I typed that.

Planning for next year, I have a few goals that are going to be hard.  But the best things in life are hard to achieve.

2013 was a year of awareness for me.  I watched friends come together and fall apart as did a few of my relationships.  I made amends with people who in the past I never thought would give me the time of day.  But I did notice that I have a lot more growing up to do.  Mentally, this time next Christmas, I want to be more understanding.  Now, understanding does not mean gullible, it does not mean I am best friends with everyone, but I want to be a more understanding human being.  Listening to people, genuinely listening to them and not writing them off immediately.  That’s what I have started doing towards the end of this year.  It’s easy in a group to fall into the jibber jabber of nonsense called “shit talking.”   Language aside, it is what it is.  What I have learned this year is that even when I am feeling like I am the best person I can be, I get up on my high horse, and begin pointing fingers and calling names without having the understanding of the person I am offending.  I have noticed that, when an understanding is found, I feel like the world’s biggest jerk.  And I am tired of feeling that way.  Shooting off my mouth without thinking, without stopping to think for a moment “Hey, what you’re saying can get back to this person and it could potentially hurt them.”  I think of the times it has been done to me, and how much it scarred me.  What makes it right for me to act that way?  What makes me different?  Nothing.  I choose that,by this time next year, I will be in the habit of pressing pause and seeing the perspective of another before I share my own.

Spiritually.  This is a toughy, mainly because I have learned this year that the two things you DO NOT talk about in a public forum are politics and religion.  So I will choose to step lightly.  Honestly, I don’t know where I am belief wise.  I may never know.  It has been troubling for me this year because I was raised to be one way and actually got out into the world and learned so much more.  Some would say I “deviated from my values” or “became tainted with sin.”  I don’t know, maybe I have been.  I certainly hope not.  In fact,  I have become more spiritually sound in accepting that it’s okay to not have everything figured out when it comes to my beliefs, which, like my personal self are malleable and able to bend.  I understand that there are people out there like me and there are people who aren’t like me.  This year, I have learned to be quiet when it comes to talks of religion.  Yep, quiet.  Because of it, I have learned so much more about the world, and I have grown to love the ones around me more because I have been silent.  I have noticed that what people want most when it comes to sharing beliefs, is to be heard, acknowledged, and validated.  No one likes to be told “You’re wrong” or “That’s stupid” or “You’re going to hell” for what you truly believe in. Despite the fact that my religious beliefs continue to change, my core belief: To love my neighbor with all my heart has stayed intact and grown stronger.  Next Christmas, I hope to be ever more strong and loving towards my neighbors, friends, and family and to be there for them, no matter what they believe.

Location-wise, I am ready to break out.  I bought the Treehouse when I was barely 21.  Looking forward to my 26th birthday, I am now planning on expanding my living space, maybe even expanding the areas in which I’ve lived.  As much as I love my house, it has grown from something that desperately needed love into something that is dearly loved and is ready to have someone else move in and care for it in the way that I have.  I know I have been teasing at this for some time, but I truly feel that 2014 is the year that I make my move.  It’s scary, it’s stressful, but having such a strong support system in my life from my friends, family, readers, and especially my Tim has finally began to push me forward into a new house that will need just as much if not, more love than the Treehouse.  I am looking forward to the challenge.

Romantically is going to be totally different this year.  My mindset has always been get to the finish line AKA marriage.  That’s what I have been hardwired to do from a young age, thanks to Disney and fairy tales.  But I have learned this year that everything comes in its due time.  This past week, I was actually implored by a ten year old to “get married and have babies” because it was my duty as a 25 year old woman to do so.  Christmas Eve, I looked at my 39 year old boyfriend and for the millionth time, realized that I was put on this Earth to love him.  And that’s what I choose to do in 2014.  To simply love him, no conditions, no pressures, no strings attached.  Easier said than done especially with the social stigma that is a fresh slew of engagements (congratulations to all these ladies) on Facebook.  But this year, I am really going to try.  I love you, Tim.  You deserve the best.  So as far as what next Christmas will bring for Tim and I, bring it.  Whatever it is, bring it.

Monday morning, I am starting my new position in the Rock Hill office of Allen Tate.  I am not going to lie, you guys, I am scared.  So very, very scared.  But like anything worth something in life, fear is going to be present.  I have had a brilliant year as my mom’s partner in Lancaster, but after living in Rock Hill for five years, the commute has taken a humongous toll on me.  I am going to be in tutelage of a wonderful broker in charge, I will have a massive support group of realtors, and I am going to work my tookus off for my clients.  If there is one thing I know after this year, I am not going to be perfect but I am going to fight to do my best.

I hope that your years have been merry and bright, and that your Christmases have been fulfilling and wonderful.  I have so many blessings to count.  And I am very much looking forward to a happy new year for everyone.  Merry Christmas!

All I Want for Christmas…

It’s a luxury these days to have a moment to take a mindless survey.  I remember this time 4 years ago just having time to kill.  Man, it was awesome.  Though today marks (hopefully) my second to last day at the old office, there is still tons to do around here. 

The Christmas plans have been made.  The fur babies are already at “Grandma and Grandpas,”  Tim’s house is decked out for Christmas Eve, and I only have one more gift to purchase before Tuesday.  Rounding the corner and almost barrelling downhill to Christmas Eve.  And it’s going to come fast. 

Tonight and tomorrow, I am finishing off a lovely run of Nuncrackers here in Lancaster.  It’s been fun playing Sister Mary Robert Anne, but I am truly and utterly exhausted.  I am looking forward to the break.  Well, whenever I can catch one.  Sunday, my family and I make the treck to my Grand Myrtle’s for some fun family time.  Sunday night, I am at Tim’s and we begin the task of making his mom’s pecan fingers ( think that’s what they’re called).  Monday I am back in Lancaster for my cousin’s 26th birthday, and then I have to come right back to Rock Hill for Christmas Eve with Tim’s family.  Annnnd, then we go back to Lancaster Christmas Eve night to spend Christmas Day with my family.  Did you get all that?  Whew!  Glad I wrote that down.  🙂

Eggnog or Hot Cocoa?

It’s just not Christmas without eggnog.  Especially eggnog with a touch of whiskey and nutmeg.  But I have been known to sip on hot cocoa with a peppermint stick in it during the holidays, as well.  Especially if it’s from Starbucks. 

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?

When I was little, the big presents from Santa were laid out all pretty-like for us, and then the presents from everyone else were wrapped.  Now that I am older, I guess Santa knows I am able to unwrap presents just fine. 

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?

Personally, I love my white lights on the tree and outside.  But Tim’s Christmas tree looks so awesome with his colored lights, it’s hard to make a call on that. 

4. Do you hang mistletoe?

Every year up until this year, we hung mistletoe in the foyer at my parent’s house.  I might have to go out in the wilderness with my hedgetrimmers and find some.  I love kissing under the mistletoe.

5. When do you hang your decorations up?

As soon as the turkey has been cleared off the table on Thanksgiving, I am up in the attic pulling Christmas decorations down.  I buy the Christmas tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  And everything is up before the weekend is over.  I am super efficient like that.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?

Mom makes one heck of a broccoli casserole.  It is amazing!  Snack-wise I love our family’s recipe for Chex Mix.  And if anyone can hunt down a Hickory Farms ranch cheeseball recipe or just the cheeseball itself, I will be indebted to you forever.  They stopped selling them probably about 10 years ago, and Christmas just hasn’t been the same.  I feel like Cartman without his Swiss Colony Beef Log. 

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?

You can read about it here.  It was the year that I didn’t what I wanted for Christmas.

8. What is on your Christmas Wish list?

I didn’t have an extensive list this year.  I really needed a blender.  Boring, I know but that’s what I really wanted.  And a pair of house slippers.  Santa is not too big on getting me what I really wanted for Christmas because, despite being jolly and loving this time of year, he thinks it’s stupid to get engaged at Christmas time. So he’s not bringing me a ring this year.  I am cool with that…I guess…No really!  I am.

9. Do you open a gifts on Christmas Eve?


This is the first year I will be opening gifts on Christmas Eve.  Tim’s family has their big gathering on Christmas Eve and since we are hosting this year, the present pile around his tree has grown to epic proportions.  It’s going to be a lot of fun spreading out Christmas across 2 days instead of just one, which my family is accustomed to.  And then Tim and I have a 3rd day of Christmas with our Inaugural Stocking Day this year.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?

Like this


11. Snow? Love it or dread it?

I like snow when it is outside and I don’t have to go out in it for too long.  It’s great to open the blinds and watch it drift down while sipping on cider and playing board games.  I am not a fan of driving in it.  And I am always dreaming of a White Christmas.

12. Real tree or fake tree?

I am a champion for real trees.  I just like them so much more. They smell better, they are more full and lush, and there is something fun about picking out the tree every year.  Plus they are the gifts that keep on giving once Christmas is over.  If you have a fire pit, they make great fire starters.  Break up the branches and let it burn, baby, burn!

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?

Yes.  I get it every year when I get to be with the people I love.  Yes, I went for the cheap answer.  But it’s the truth.

14. What’s the most important thing about Christmas for you?

Spending time with my family and friends, and letting them know how much they mean to me. 

15. What is your favorite Holiday dessert?

My sister’s Crisco cookies are the bee’s knees.  We will be up until midnight Christmas Eve icing those puppies.

16. What is your favorite tradition?

Decorating the Christmas tree with my family is the best.  After Thanksgiving dinner, we haul the ornaments down and get to it.  I have to say that this year was the most fun since Melanie, her friend Faye, Tim, and I were helping mom and dad with the tree.  I notice the more people we have decorating the tree, the more fun it is.

17. What tops your tree?

A star

18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving?

I like both.  I love finding or making the perfect gift for the recipient.  I love watching their faces when they open it.  I love going out and giving to the needy during the holidays.  I love giving my time to causes.  But I have noticed that I really like receiving things myself.  Yes, friends, I am one of those people who likes getting gifts and sometimes does more than just hint at what I want for the holidays.  And next year, I am especially doing this wishlist thing Tim told me about so he doesn’t have to guess.  Yes, I am a brat.  I own this fact.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?

O Holy Night

20. Candy canes, yuck or yum?


21. Favorite Christmas Movie?

I have a list of must watches for the season. 1. Love Actually 2. The Nutcracker Prince(the only place I can find it is on YouTube or a VHS copy of a recording my parents made from HBO back in the early ’90’s) 3. The Muppet Christmas Carol 4. How the Grinch Stole Christmas 5. National Lampoon Christmas Vacation 6. A Christmas Story

22. What do you leave for Santa?

Cookies and milk.  I am thinking about getting crazy and leaving him a white Russian this year.

23. Do you have a Christmas morning tradition?

We stay in our rooms (my sister and I) until we hear the “adults” banging around in the kitchen.  Then we hop in to bed together and wait for mom to come in and say “Merry Christmas”.  Then it’s coffee, presents, stockings, mom’s sausauge casserole.  Noms.

24. Do you prefer to shop on-line or at the mall?

I do the heavy shopping online.  But I make a mall trip at least once to get in the spirit. 

25. Christmas letter or Christmas card?

I am still single and most of my friends are not into sending cards, so I will take whatever I can get.  It’s always nice for someone to send something just to say “hi”.