{Lots of} Scenes From Christmas 2013

It’s back to work and teaching for me today, but I’m happy I only have two days of “being back at it” before the weekend. I figured today would be a good day to recap all our Christmas adventures from this year. There’s a lot to catch up on!

Early Family Christmas Party

My dad’s side of the family celebrated Christmas early this year. We went to my uncle’s house on 12/14, and the day was full of festive food, a Secret Santa exchange, a delicious fish dinner, trivia, birthday cake, and a LOT of wine.

Christmas 2013: Uncle Chris's Decorated Table

The food we ate included my festive cucumber appetizers, avgolemono soup, salad, ravioli, fish, Brussels sprouts, Greek green beans, and tons of dessert even though I only snapped a photo of the white chocolate cranberry bars that I baked.

Christmas Food 2013

Some other scenes from the day:

Christmas 2013: Dad's Side of the Fam

Christmas 2013: Me & Tim

Christmas 2013: Siblings

Christmas 2013 Collage

Wally World Christmas

If you’re wondering what the heck “Wally World” is, my roommates and I used to live on a street called Wallingford. Clearly that turned our apartment name into Wally World, and Wally World Christmas is when we all reunite for festive fun and a little Yankee swap with our men.

Christmas 2013 at Trinas

This year Katrina and Geoff hosted. Dinner consisted of homemade chicken parm with ziti, salad, and a green bean and mushroom casserole. Tim and I brought a white bean dip with bread and green peppers as an appetizer, and there were plenty of desserts too.

Christmas 2013: Food at Katrinas

We also made a fun champagne sangria punch from this recipe.

Christmas 2013 Champagne Sangria Punch

The rest of the night can be summed up with one word: silly.

Christmas 2013 at Trinas 2

I love my friends.

Christmas 2013: Trina's House

And I may or may not have had a champagne headache at work the next day. Worth it.

Roommate Christmas Night

Home Friends Christmas

Every year my friend Shannon hosts a party for all of our friends from home. She has been hosting since we were 14 years old, and it’s one of my favorite Christmas traditions. There’s always a ton of food, a signature cocktail, and a horrible Yankee swap where a chia pet recirculates every year. I say it’s horrible because while there ARE a few of us who try to bring a nice gift, the majority of the guys involved in the swap bring something, well, horrible.

Christmas 2013 at Shans

Here are some other pics from the night:

Christmas 2013 at Shans 2

For past Shannon party recaps, click here and here!

Christmas Eve

For the past couple of years, I’ve always worked a half day on Christmas Eve, attended our company’s holiday luncheon, and then gone to John Harvard’s for a couple of Christmas Eve beers. This year we continued this tradition with some of my co-workers. After John Harvard’s, Tim and I came home and quickly prepped all the food we still needed to prep. We also made a stop at the liquor store, where I paid for the couple in front of us as a “random act of kindness” for Jingle Well Time. This couple being so happy made me so happy that Tim and I decided we are going to do a random act of kindness every year on Christmas Eve. I also want to be better at “paying it forward” throughout the rest of the year too.

At night we headed to Tim’s cousin Kelly’s house for the night. Can you believe I didn’t snap any pictures? I’ll have to sum it up with another Yankee swap, the annual clam chowder, tons of other food (especially desserts), and a lot of laughs. Next year I’ll have to remember to be better about picture-taking there.

When we got home, Tim and I did our annual ornament exchange before heading to bed.

Christmas 2013: Xmas Eve Ornaments

A pomegranate for me (how fun!), and an Irish flag shamrock for Tim.

Christmas Day

On Christmas morning, Tim and I woke up early to exchange our presents.

Christmas 2013 Xmas Morning

For me: Ugg slippers, a springform baking pan, a new set of resistance bands, and a 6 month subscription to Birchbox

For him: A Kitchen Aid mixer

Christmas 2013: Kitchen Aid

We also exchanged stockings, which sometimes is my favorite part. I just love stocking stuffers. I feel like you can really tell a lot about a person based on what’s in their stocking. 🙂

Christmas 2013: Stocking Stuffers

After our present exchange, we cooked ourselves a fun Christmas breakfast.

Christmas 2013 Breakfast

We don’t have kids, but this would be a perfect breakfast for those of you who do. We just like to have fun. After breakfast we headed to my parents’ house, where we spent the rest of Christmas Day. My immediate family exchanged gifts first before company came over.

Christmas 2013 Gift Exchange

We also feasted on the festive muffins I brought over.

Christmas 2013 Festive Muffins

My mom’s side of the family came over later for dinner. Dinner included ham (the holiday gift from my company), pastitsio, soutzoukakia, and some festive Brussels sprouts. Lots of Greek dishes!

Christmas 2013 Dinner

There were also lots of desserts:

Christmas 2013: Desserts

Here are some other pics from the day:

Christmas 2013 - Christmas DayChristmas Day 2013Christmas Day 2013

All in all, a very Merry Christmas 2013.

Christmas 2013

How was your holiday season? How many Christmas events did you have this year? What was the best present you received and/or best present you gave? What are your favorite traditions? Have you ever done a random act of kindness?

See you tomorrow for another round of Friday Favorites!

13th Annual Home Friends Christmas Party

Yes, that’s right.  13th annual!  Like Shannon said in her recap post, who knew that one little party she had during freshman year of high school would turn into a tradition that we continue to do year after year?  I can honestly say that Shannon’s home friends Christmas party is one of my favorite days of the year.  I don’t think many people stay in touch with as many friends as I do from high school, so I consider myself lucky that at the very least, we still all get together on this day to celebrate and see each other.

Shannon's Party

Some of the traditions include:

A $20 Yankee swap
Typically the swap is full of horrible gifts, but I guess this year’s weren’t THAT bad even if I did end up with a board game that I regifted in Tim’s family’s Christmas Eve swap will never play.  This year, a few people decided to put a few theme gifts in there.  The theme being Matt.  There was a painting of Matt as a centaur, a t-shirt with a picture of Matt on it, and a Rubric cube that when finally put together will display a picture of Matt in a pink robe.  And that was three separate gifts!  Luckily, Matt got the picture of himself, but poor Shan got the Matt t-shirt!

friends christmas party 2012 matt theme

Here are some more pictures of the Yankee swap:

yankee swap

Back to the traditions.

Johnny always bringing the worst gift
Think twenty $1 cassette tapes, a 5 pack of Heineken because he drank one on the way to the party, a t-shirt that said “I’m Rick James, b*tch.”  The list goes on.

home friends christmas party johnny

Delicious food
Shannon always cooks and bakes up a storm for days before the party and she always has the best displays of food.

Home Friends Christmas Party 2012 - Shannon

A re-circulating Chia Pet
A Simpsons Chia Pet makes its way back into the grab year after year.  I seriously will be devastated the year that someone doesn’t bring it.

chia pet

A signature cocktail
Last year’s was the cranberry pomegranate Christmas punch, but this year was dedicated to Merry Margaritas.  So good, Shan I need the recipe!  Post please.  🙂

Some foodie pictures from this year:

Food Pictures Home Friends Christmas Party 2012

I brought my Pita Christmas Trees, but I didn’t snap a picture of just them.  You can kind of see them in the first picture above.  This is what they looked like when I made them last year:

Pita Christmas Trees - Finished Product

As usual, the home friends Christmas party was a great time!

Shannon's Home Friends Christmas Party 2012

Shannon's Home Friends Christmas Party 2012

Please note new outfit from The Limited:  Green pants and fun new black shirt!  Both were 50% off.

Shannon's Home Friends Christmas Party 2012

Just like Liz’s party, some people cleared out on the earlier side, but somehow I am always the last one to leave?  I have FOMO (fear of missing out) if I leave before others do.  Tim and I stayed pretty late, along with Matt and Katie, Baka and Esk, Chris, and Johnny.

Shannon's Home Friends Christmas Party 2012 Me & Tim

Thank you, Shannon, for hosting yet another fun party!  Can’t wait until the 14th annual next year!

What’s your favorite annual event?

For last year’s recap, click here!