My Favourite Christmas Ornaments

My Favourite Christmas Ornaments (Blogmas 2018, Day Twenty-Four)

If you’ve read my post of holiday traditions, you’ll know that Christmas ornaments have recently become a pretty touching gift for my sister and I each Christmas Eve.  Even though this is a brand-new tradition, I’m so excited!  Still, we’ve collected plenty of wonderful ornaments over the years, the best of which (in my opinion), I’ll share with you today.

A small number of mine decided to disappear just before Christmas, so I wasn’t able to snap a photo of them for this post–I’ll be sure to add them after the fact once they’ve been recovered!

I’ve found some similar ornaments on Amazon for you to browse, too! Most of the exact ornaments are too old to find easily, but I’ve tried to keep the theme the same, at the very least.

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see our disclosure for more information!


You’ll notice a few of these distinctive stuffed ornaments–we got them around the same time because they were simply too cute!  I got this one in honour of Elf and Mr. Narwhal’s classic line:  “Bye, Buddy . . . hope you find your dad!”

narwhal ornament

Elf Mr. Narwhal Ornament*

Coffee Cup

If you’ve been around the blog a while, you know I’m a bit of a coffee fiend.  So this adorable little cup is perfect!

coffee cup ornament

Happiness is a Cup of Coffee Ornament*

George the Beagle

This one has quite the story behind it!  When I was little, I’d yet to have a dog of my own.  But, I’d recently read a book that featured a “pocket beagle” and I was vaguely obsessed.

After all these year’s I’ve finally done some research and found out this was Animal Ark’s Beagle in a Backpack!* I’m now on a mission to either find my old copy somewhere in my parents’ house or pick one up to reread . . . because sometimes you want to read childhood books all over again! 

But I digress.  I was hooked on the idea of these tiny dogs and came across these ornaments, where you could pick your dog’s breed and name.  I somehow convinced Mom  that I needed a beagle ornament to compensate for my lack of real dog and I named him George, after my grandfather.  I guess, to my ten-year-old mind, it was a logical progression since I didn’t want to have children to name after family?    Whatever the case, George the Beagle now hangs happily from the family Christmas tree.

Customizable Dog Ornament*


The Loch Ness monster is always a good idea, but especially so when she’s wearing a Santa hat!

nessie ornament

The Loch Ness Monster Believes In You Ornament*

Polar Bear

For some reason, this friendly little bear ornament never wants to face front.  So, we see an awful lot of “bear butt.”

polar bear ornament

Polar Bear Butt Ornament*


Again, if you’ve read my post on Christmas traditions, this one may ring a bell (I am so, so sorry for that pun but I had to).  This bell sparks all of the Polar Express quotes.  We’ve got a few other bell ornaments, but this one in particular forces the references.

polar express bell ornament

Polar Express Bell Ornament*

Teeny Tiny Harry

I got this one from a blogger secret Santa back in 2016, I think!  Cathleen did such an amazing job in finding me the perfect present and teeny tiny Harry was definitely a favourite.

Harry Potter Ornament*


This is one of our most unusual ornaments, but it’s a favourite nevertheless.  This was another stuffed ornament we picked up int hat group, solely because it reminded me of FilmCow’s “John McCain and his Vegetable Friends.”  Strange, but true!  It’s also a pretty cool nod to my veganism, if I do say so myself.

carrot ornament

Carrot Ornament*


I’ve definitely been on a bird kick throughout 2018, so unearthing this little guy in our box of decorations was a great moment!  I put him as close to the top of the tree as possible, so the bird could be the “star” of the show!

bird clip ornament

Sparkly Clip-On Birds*

Santa’s Countdown

Mom got this as a gift from a coworker years ago and he’s one of our favourite pieces of Christmas.  Plus, he keeps us on track to keep our other countdowns up-to-date!

santa countdown ornament

Countdown to Christmas Ornament (the same one we have!)*

Sock Monkey

You might not know this, but I went through a period in which I was absolutely obsessed with sock monkeys. I still have quite the collection!  While I’m working on cutting back and giving some of my actual sock monkeys a new home, this little guy is definitely staying to add a little extra joy to the Christmas tree.

sock monkey ornament

Gingerbread Sock Monkey Ornament*

The Christmas Pickle

One more Christmas tradition!  While he isn’t hiding in the tree just yet, the Christmas Pickle deserves another shoutout.

Traditional Christmas Pickle*

My Favourite Christmas Ornaments

What are your favourite Christmas ornaments?

Happy Blogmas

Christmas Decor Tour

Christmas Decor Tour (Blogmas 2018, Day Twenty-Three)

My mom has a slight obsession with Christmas decorations.  As in, there are 9 trees set up throughout the house as of my first draft of this post.  Over the years, I’ve chosen a few favourite Christmas decorations, which I’ve chosen to showcase in today’s Christmas decor tour!

Our collective taste is pretty eclectic, but somehow it all seems to work out in the end.


I’m lucky enough to work from home, so I get to enjoy the indoor decorations more often than not!

Charlie Brown Tree

This year, while home for the holidays, I’ve hit the Christmas decoration jackpot.  Mom’s allowed Fitz and I to have the Charlie Brown tree all to ourselves!

Charlie Brown Tree
Please excuse Fitz’s treats in the background!

Reindeer Countdown

I get strangely excited when I get to change the reindeer’s number each day!

Reindeer countdown

Christmas lights

Throughout the house, fairy lights are one of my favourite decorations, all year long, really!  But it’s especially true come Christmastime, when they’re out in full force.  My favourite this year are these tiny green battery-operated lights decorating the Charlie Brown tree and the shelf around it.

O Holy Night sign

Another minor detail, but I absolutely love this tiny sign hung up in the living room.

O holy night sign


Probably the most functional of our holiday decor!  While they aren’t hung by the chimney with care, I love the annual setup of the stocking along the stairs.



Joy Light

Mom picked up this tiny “Joy” sign to add to my personal holiday display and I love it!

joy light

Tiny tree

Amidst the many, many Christmas trees in and around the house (and my Charlie Brown tree!), this tiny tree stands out as yet another favourite.  Can a fake tree have personality? Because this one certainly seems to.  I insist that he needs a teeny tiny Santa hat, but Mom disagrees.

tiny christmas tree

Holiday cards

For years now, Mom has taken to displaying the cards we receive each year on a string of garland.  It adds such a lovely personal touch to the decorations!

Christmas Cards garland

(Literal) Sleigh Bells

The last of my personal decorations, Fitz loves this little sleigh of bells!

sleigh bells


To be entirely honest, I don’t spend too much time outside this time of year.  My health has enough issues without standing in below freezing temperatures for any amount of time! But, I do still have a few favourites from the outside Christmas decor.

Carl the Dinosaur

Or, Bob, depending on the day you’ve asked.  This light-up dinosaur is one of my all-time favourite Christmas decorations!

Carl the Dinosaur


This star is gorgeous and so festive! “A star, a star dancing in the night . . . . “

Christmas star


Unlike most of these, this little guy hangs out in the back yard.  But look at that face!

Penguin decor

Christmas Elephant

This holly jolly elephant also goes by Bob at least some of the time.

Christmas elephant

Parkway Holiday Duck

This one isn’t a part of our family’s decorations, but it’s a family favourite nevertheless.  Each year, the local borough decorates the town’s parkway with a variety of lit-up decorations.  One of them is this festive duck! Mom has long since declared him to be the best of the decorations–he’s even got his own Facebook “place!”

Parkway Holiday Duck

Tiny Reindeer

We’ve had the classic light-up reindeer for as long as I can remember, but we got this miniature one a few years back and I fell in love!  In my opinion, he’s the most important of the decorations.  Yet, he’s somehow not gone out this season!  I would have done so if myself if I had any idea where my family had put him last year.  But I had to mention him regardless!  #justicefortinyreindeer

Christmas Decor Tour

What are your favourite Christmas decorations?

Happy Blogmas

Holiday TV Episodes

My Favourite Holiday TV Episodes (Blogmas 2018, Day Twenty-Three)

Along with my favourite Christmas songs and movies, I’ve got quite a few favourite holiday TV episodes!  I considered combining Christmas specials with this post rather than the Christmas films earlier this Blogmas, but they ultimately fit better as movies.

After each episode, I’ll link to where you can watch them when I can.  If I haven’t found a spot and you know of one (a legal one, of course!), let me know in the comments and I’ll be sure to add it!

Friends, “The One Where Ross Gets High”

In researching this post, I learnt that 90% of internet people pick “The One with the Holiday Armadillo” as their favourite.  Really, I wouldn’t call them wrong, per se–that’s also a fantastic episode.  But Rachel’s trifle ultimately takes the cake.

Watch on Netflix

The Office (US), “Dwight Christmas”

This was another show that had mixed opinions across the board and in my mind.  The Office (US) has several Christmas episodes which all have their merits.  For example, I love the teapot storyline from “Christmas Party” (2 x 10), but Michael’s treatment of the others during Yankee swap just makes me sad.

Ultimately, “Dwight Christmas” is probably my favourite of these.  Jim & Pam’s relationship has its struggles by this point (and it infuriates me to no end), but her pushing for a “Dwight Christmas” as the theme for the office Christmas party for his benefit is adorable.

Watch on Netflix

Supernatural, “A Very Supernatural Christmas”

From the insight this gives to the boys’ childhood to their “fudging” curse words, this is probably one of my favourite Supernatural episodes in general as well as a favourite Christmas episode.

Watch on Netflix

M*A*S*H, “Dear Dad”

In the very first season of this classic series, Hawkeye writes home to his father about life at the 4077 come Christmastime.  If you haven’t seen my earlier mentions here on the blog, I absolutely adore Alan Alda.  So, this episode is a must!

Watch on Hulu

Bob’s Burgers, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentle-Mannequins”

Bob’s Burgers is another show that has quite a few stellar holiday episodes, but I think “God Rest Ye Merry Gentle-Mannequins” is my favourite at the end of the day.  Chet’s story is just bizarre enough to leave the Belchers (and the audience) guessing and the strangeness, yet festivity of his window displays (excepting, perhaps, his penultimate) is fantastic.

Watch on Hulu

The Office (UK), “Christmas Special, Part 2”

This episode (which is also the show’s finale) solidified the original The Office‘s place as my technical favourite of the two (an unpopular opinion, I know–I’ve actually seen the US version several times through more, though!).  Dawn and Tim’s reunion makes for some of my all-time favourite television.

Watch on Hulu

Modern Family, “Express Christmas”

Modern Family also has quite a few Christmas episodes, but “Express Christmas” is my personal favourite.

Watch on Hulu

Adventure Time, “Holly Jolly Secrets”

This two-part episode concludes with our heroes starting a new holiday tradition–complete with Christmas sweaters!

Watch on Hulu

How I Met Your Mother, “Symphony of Illumination”

HIMYM is significantly more well-known for its Thanksgiving (well, Slapsgiving) episodes than other holidays (Halloween might have a shot, too, with the Slutty Pumpkin storyline), but it’s Christmas episodes are equally solid.

Watch on Hulu

Psych, “The Polarizing Express”

For as upbeat of a show as Psych tended to be, its Christmas episodes are remarkably limited (only three!).  Of those three, I think this one’s my personal favourite.

Could not find online

Holiday TV Episodes

What are your favourite holiday TV episodes?

Happy Blogmas

A Murdered Peace

Book Blast: ​A Murdered Peace by Candace Robb

I’m super excited to join with some other wonderful book lovers for this book blast with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours! Read on to learn more about Candace Robb’s A Murdered Peace and be sure to check out the other book bloggers listed at the end of this post.

As always, be sure to check out our HFVBT tag and our books category for more great reads!

A Murdered Peace by Candace Robb

Publication Date: December 11, 2018
Pegasus Books
Paperback & eBook; 304 Pages
Series: Kate Clifford, Book 3
Genre: Historical Mystery

It is deep winter in York, 1400, the ground frozen, the short days dimmed with the smoke from countless fires, the sun, when it shines, low in the sky. It is rumored that the Epiphany Uprising, meant to relieve the realm of the Henry the usurper and return King Richard to the throne has, instead, spelled his doom. As long as Richard lives, he is a threat to Henry. So, too, the nobles behind the plot. The ringleaders have been caught, some slaughtered as they fled west by folk loyal to Henry, and the king’s men now search the towns for survivors.

A perilous time, made worse for Kate Clifford by the disappearance of Berend, her cook and confidante, shortly after Christmas. Her niece saw his departure in a dream—he said he was honor bound to leave. Honor bound—to a former lord? One of the nobles who led the uprising? Is he alive? She is hardly consoled when Berend reappears, wounded, secretive, denying any connection to the uprising, but refusing to explain himself. When he is accused of brutally murdering a spice seller in the city, Kate discovers a chest of jewels in his possession. Some of the jewels belong to her old friend Lady Margery, wanted by the king for her husband’s part in the uprising. For the sake of their long friendship, and the love she and her wards bear for him, Kate wants to believe his innocence. So, too, does Sir Elric. And he has the powerful backing of the Earl of Westmoreland. All she need do is confide in him. If only she trusted her heart.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Chapters | IndieBound | Kobo

Praise for A Murdered Peace

“Those who meddle in the affairs of kings live to regret it. A…tale of love and murder set in a turbulent period when death and betrayal lurk around every corner.” -Kirkus Reviews

“Superior. Robb effortlessly integrates the era’s intrigues into a whodunit framework and peoples the plot with a wide array of characters readers will come to care about.” –Publishers Weekly (starred)

“A fine flowing narrative and a genuine sense of mystery and peril.” -Writers & Readers

About the Author

Candace Robb is the bestselling author of sixteen crime novels set in fourteenth century England, Wales, and Scotland, including the acclaimed Owen Archer series and the Margaret Kerr trilogy. Candace lives in Seattle, Washington.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


Book Blast Schedule

Tuesday, December 11
100 Pages a Day
Bookish Rantings

Wednesday, December 12
The Lit Bitch
Bri’s Book Nook
Passages to the Past

Thursday, December 13
Creating Herstory
Just One More Chapter

Friday, December 14
What Is That Book About
Jennifer Tar Heel Reader

Saturday, December 15
Old Timey Books
Historical Fiction with Spirit

Sunday, December 16
Donna’s Book Blog
Hoover Book Reviews

Monday, December 17
The Writing Desk

Tuesday, December 18
A Book Geek
Tea Book Blanket

Wednesday, December 19
Umut Reviews
The Book Junkie Reads

Thursday, December 20
Clarissa Reads it All
For the Sake of Good Taste

Friday, December 21
Jathan & Heather
Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a signed set of Candace Robb’s Kate Clifford series! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on December 21st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

A Murdered Peace

My Christmas Traditions

My Christmas Traditions (Blogmas 2018, Day Twenty)

Over the years, my family has developed a variety of Christmas traditions that I hold dear to my heart.  I can’t wait to share them with my own family someday, too! Some of them are more widely known and some are specific to the family, but I love them all.

The Christmas Pickle

The Christmas pickle is a real thing outside of our family!  According to, the tradition began in the 1880s, when Woolworth’s department store sold glass pickle-shaped ornaments. They claimed it was an old German tradition–which actually wasn’t true!

Despite it’s false “history,” the Christmas pickle is a lot of fun.  Someone hides it on the Christmas tree, then the first person to find it gets to open the first present of Christmas!

Statistically, my sister’s found the pickle the most often, without a doubt.  But that miiight have something to do with my dad cheating and giving her hints because she’s so much younger. . . .  #notbitter

Christmas Eve Ralphie

Each Christmas Eve, A Christmas Story plays on repeat for 24 hours.  We make sure to tune in throughout the day and see how many times we can actually see it all the way through! It happens less often than you’d think.

Whether or not I see it all the way through, Ralphie and his family never fail to get me in the holiday spirit!

Check out our favourite Christmas films for more movie picks!

Baking with Nanny

We just started this one last year! We invited my grandmother to my parents’ house for some holiday baking.  With Christmas music, yummy recipes, and family, we can’t not enjoy it! This year, I’m excited to try some of the treats from our vegan Christmas cookies post earlier in Blogmas!

Christmas Jammies

My mom has been getting us Christmas jammies every year for as long as I can remember.  Each Christmas Eve, we each receive a box or gift bag filled with a new cosy pair of pajamas.  This is another highlight of the season!  Honestly, from Christmas on, I look forward to next year’s Christmas jammies.

This year, mom’s decided that we’re adding an addition to this one, too!  She’s adding a special ornament to our Christmas Eve present that’s especially for our own trees going forward! She gave me a sneak preview of my sister’s ornament and it’s perfect, so I can’t wait to see what she’s picked out for me.

Christmas Countdowns

This one is fairly minor, but we always use a few different countdowns to Christmas.  Mom has a Santa Claus ornament that runs a digital countdown and, my personal favourite, we have a wooden reindeer with numbered blocks that you switch out each day as Christmas approaches.

I added a bonus countdown in my bullet journal this year!

Christmas songs

While I’ve somehow yet to go carolling (ever!), Christmas songs make up a big part of my Christmas celebrations each year.  I don’t think we’ve ever actually sat down and called it a tradition, I think this counts!

Each year, there are a few songs that we (Mom & I) must listen to throughout the season:  “Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney, “Christmas Canon” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and, in a more recent addition, “Christmas Wrapping” by the Waitresses, to name just a few.  We get so excited each year when we hear these for the first time!

Check out my favourite Christmas songs (and a playlist!) here.

The Polar Express quotes

We’ve only really been fans of The Polar Express for a few years now, but some of the quotes have become engrained in each Christmas since.  Most importantly, Santa’s dramatic declaration of “The first gift of Christmas!” has become a staple–for everything from the first ornament on the tree to more ridiculous things, like making empanadas recently!

Tom Hanks’ “I believe” when trying to hear Santa’s sleigh bells is another popular one.  Any time one of us finds a bell, it’s pretty much requisite that another person quote it.

My Christmas Traditions

What Christmas traditions do you or your family look forward to each year?
Happy Blogmas

Last-minute Gifts from Amazon

Last-Minute Gifts You Can Get On Amazon (Blogmas 2018, Day Nineteen)

Are you in need of some last-minute gifts as Christmas grows nearer and nearer? If you have Prime shipping (or can use someones), you’re in luck.  We’ve spent far too much time on Amazon’s Gifts for Everyone page, filtered it to items under $20 (last-minute Secret Santa gifts? We’ve got you covered), and compiled dozens of our favourite last-minute gift ideas.

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see our disclosure for more information!

If you don’t shop on Amazon for whatever reason, feel free to use this list as inspiration for items to buy elsewhere.

Bluetooth Shower Speaker*

Take their shower sing-along sessions to the next level.

Nonstick Cast Iron Skillet*

For all the times I’ve heard glowing reviews of cast iron pans, I’ve yet to get one myself!

Draw 50 Animals*

Have a budding artist on your hands? Give them a headstart with these tutorials for drawing 50 different animals.

Essential Oil Diffuser*

Perhaps so you can diffuse some of our favourite festive scents?

Wonder Woman Blanket with Sleeves*

My mom would love this! Stay cosy while saving the world.

French Press*

You cannot go wrong with coffee–it’s a scientific fact.

Wine Tumblers*

Wine sippy cups? Yes, please!

Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Christmas Eve and Other Stories*

This includes one of my favourite Christmas songs!

Water Colour Pocket Box*

Everything’s better in miniature!

Selfie Ring Light*

These are good for more than selfies!  I’ve used them to snap shots for Instagram, too.

Do One Thing Every Day That Inspires You*

This book is part of a series, too!

Wooden Book Box*

A book-shaped box to keep your valuables safe!  Books really can do anything.

Sudoku Puzzle Book*

500+ sudoku puzzles!

Turquoise Teakettle*

Does this scream Pam and Jim to anyone else?

Favourite Child Mug*

The perfect mug for the coffee (or tea!) -loving parent with a sense of humour.

Herb Garden Seed Kit*

I absolutely love the idea of having fresh herbs on hand.  A set like this is the perfect way to start off!

Plush Penguin*

You are never too old for a stuffed penguin friend, but this would be great for a kid, too.

But I Could Never Go Vegan! *

While you wait for us to launch our veganism course, try out some painless vegan recipes from this book!

The Writer’s Toolbox*

This looks like the perfect gift for the writer in your life!

The Unofficial Harry Potter Insults Handbook *

Harry Potter fan?  Insult those foul, loathsome, evil little cockroaches appropriately.

Disney Songs for Ukulele*

I don’t think I’ve met a ukuleleist who isn’t also a Disney fan!

I Like His Beard, I Like Her Butt mugs*

A cute, funny gift for your best couple friends!

Pastry/Ravioli Wheel*

Grab this one for your Italian friend who’ll only eat homemade pasta or cannoli.

Pusheen Weekly Planner Desk Pad*

Does your friend like cute animals, like the iconic Pusheen? Does s/he like to stay organised? Here’s a great gift!

Garden Gloves with Claws*

Make sure your favourite green thumb can really dig into their gardening this year.

I Love You Like a Hobbit. . . mug*

I’ve only seen the LOTR movies once (I know, I know), but even I know the magnitude of appreciation for second breakfast.

Bucket Makeup Bag*

This seems like such a cute, yet functional way to take your makeup on the go!

Brief History of Art Mug*

Obviously, I am a big fan of mugs as gifts. But I’m also a casual art history nerd!  I’m far from being very knowledgeable in the subject, but I can get by in museums and I actually love learning more about it!

Hans Zimmer Collection for Piano and Voice*

I adore Hans Zimmer’s work and, especially when I was actively music-ing, would love sheet music as a gift!

The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings*

We actually had an Inklings group in college! I joined for a short time, despite having read precious little Tolkien and Lewis.  I’ve since tried to improve my knowledge of the original Inklings and would love to learn even more–this book seems like a great start!

Organic Tea Mini Sampler*

A tiny pack of teas to try is a great way for your recipient to find out if they like a certain brand or type of tea!


This is one of my favourite films, ever.  I’ve run into few people that know it (I torment one friend by texting him every time the soundtrack is stuck in my head [often] or I see a reference to it online solely because he’s the only person I know who appreciates it too–sorry, Hugh.), but those who do really seem to enjoy it.

My Bucket List Prompt Journal*

This is such a neat idea!  I’ve been slowly creating a bucket list in my bullet journal, but I always seem to forget my grand plans when it comes to writing them down.  This sort of notebook might just do the trick!

You Need More Sleep: Advice from Cats*

This is the second cat-inspired advice book on this list.  Clearly, I’m on to something here!

Christmas Washi Tape Set*

Have a bullet journaler on your gift list?  They probably need some more washi!

The RBG Workout*

Does your feminist friend want to get stronger to really take down the patriarchy? Who better to inspire her workout routine than RBG?

Animal Tea Infuser Set*

I have similar squirrel and strawberry diffusers that I absolutely love!

Last-minute Gifts from Amazon

Are you in the midst of a frantic search for last-minute gifts? Let us know if our list helped you out!

Happy Blogmas

My Favourite Christmas Memories

My Favourite Holiday Memories (Blogmas 2018, Day Eighteen)

Though I hopefully have quite a few holidays ahead of me, I’ve lived through nearly 24 holiday seasons so far (1995–2018).  In that time, I’ve compiled plenty of precious holiday memories.  In today’s post, I’d like to invite you to walk down memory lane with me; let’s reminisce on Christmas past!

Christmas 2016

I recently went through some posts on my old blog, TO&E, and came across these posts outlining the holiday festivities outlining the weeks before I left for the UK.   From spending time with family to a blogger secret Santa, this was one to remember!

Cooper’s stuffed Lambchop

Several years ago, we got Cooper, the family dog, a stuffed Lambchop.  “Lambie” was lying on top of the piles of gifts, but Cooper knew somehow that this was for him.  He climbed up the pile of presents to get his Lambie!

Though the original Lambchop has long since been destroyed (Cooper and stuffed toys are not a combination for the long haul), we just got him a replacement Lambie a few weeks ago and he loves it!

Gifting my sister a smartphone

My sister and I were pretty behind on the smartphone trend until I eventually purchased my own pay-as-you-go plan.  Secretly, my mom and I got one for Rachel, too. Being the older sister, it’s pretty much a given that if I get something, she must too!  From getting mine on Black Friday to Christmas morning, she may have hated me a bit.

That Christmas, my mom also got her a Coach wristlet.  She hid a note in the wristlet directing Rach to another tree, where we’d hidden the phone.  We got it all on video and watch it every year!

Fitz’s first Christmas

Just last year, Mr. Fitz had his very first Christmas! We started off the festivities with a celebration with his Aunt Monica and cousin Moxie (one of my best friends and her dog!).  Later, when we came to my parents’ for the “real” holidays, he got a whole pile of goodies (mostly from Chewy!)!

Getting a printer

One of my all-time favourite Christmas presents? A printer.  Yes, I know I’m strange.  While at college, I was lucky enough to have free printing available, but I had to go to the library to utilise it.  While this wasn’t a big deal to most on such a small campus, it was terrible when my health issues flared up, especially during the winter.  And, studying English and History, I had a lot of papers to write and print!  So, when my mom got me my very own printer for my dorm room, I was absolutely ecstatic. I don’t often have a very visible reaction to gifts, but this is still the present Mom says I was most excited about!

Holiday lights display

Last year (again), my family went to see a beautiful display of holiday lights just a few miles from our town.  Though this was our first time seeing it, this family goes all-out every year with a massive, beautiful setup! It’s seriously one of the best things we’ve done at Christmas.

Jets pencils

In high school, one of my favourite teachers was the biggest NY Jets fan you could imagine.  She and I still keep in touch (and my sister just finished a class with her–one of her last before retiring this winter!),  but there’s one thing I miss about being in her class–Jets pencils.  Every year, she gifts her students with green pencils that read “Merry Christmas from Mrs. Ulsh and the Jets.” I still have mine, unsharpened, waiting for the perfect moment!

Visiting with my cousins

Growing up, we went to my dad’s parents’ house each Christmas, along with the extended family.  While it wasn’t the only time of year that we’d meet up with my cousins, it was the most fun! I was right in between the older “adult” cousins and the younger cousins, so I often got tasked with watching the younger cousins.  I’ve always been overly mature for my age, so it was always nice to goof off with them!

Gifting Rachel a laptop

If you haven’t noticed, I apparently like it when my sister gets new electronics!  A few years back, we got her a Chromebook (which is currently the computer I use, though it’s on its last legs).  We put it in a prank box–a video game designed to teach you cleaning! She still holds that one against us.

“New toy smell”

Rachel just reminded me of this one while I was writing this!  She got a pair Beats headphones for her birthday a few days ago: she just brought them over to me and said, “You have to smell them. They smell like Christmas!” I’m not sure if it’s the rubber, the plastic, a combination of these, or something completely different, but she was right! The brand-new headphones smelt just like opening a new toy on Christmas morning.

My Favourite Christmas Memories

What’s your favourite holiday memory?

Happy Blogmas

Festive Holiday Scents

Holiday Scents to Make Your Home Smell Festive (Blogmas 2018, Day Seventeen)

Smell is such a powerful sense, so it’s no surprise that holiday scents can make you feel so festive so quickly!  But you don’t need to buy a candle, lotion, or holiday air freshener to get the full effect.  Whether you throw together some ingredients on the stove or diffuse some essential oils, there are so many ways to make your home smell like the holidays!

As always, be sure to be mindful of any allergies and of what scents can be used around pets!

I’ve searched the internet (mostly Pinterest!) for some of the best combinations and these are a few of my favourite holiday scents. First up, we have some diffuser blends to whip up with your favourite essential oils.  Then, I’ve compiled a few recommended “recipes” for some festive stovetop fragrances! There are quite a few of the former, largely because a lot of the stovetop recipes I found were incredibly similar.  Still, these all sound like they will smell delicious!

Essential Oils

Holiday Candy, NatureMoms

  • 2 drops wintergreen
  • 2 drops peppermint
  • 2 drops cinnamon
  • 1 drop orange

Holiday Cheer Diffuser Blend, All Things Healthful

(pin does not link to original source)

  • 1 drop clove
  • 3 drops orange
  • 2 drops cinnamon

Cranberry Orange Diffuser Blend, A Less Toxic Life

  • 3 drops grapefruit
  • 2 drops orange
  • 2 drops cinnamon
  • 1 drop nutmeg

Christmas Tree Diffuser Blend, Natural Mavens

  • 2 drops cedarwood
  • 2 drops pine
  • 1 drop cinnamon
  • 1 drop frankincense

Cider, Odds and Evans

  • 3 drops orange
  • 2–3 drops nutmeg
  • 1 drop cinnamon or clove (optional)

Three Magi, Pink Fortitude

  • 2–3 drops frankincense
  • 2–3 drops myrrh
  • 2–3 drops sandalwood

Cozy by the Fire Blend, Keeper of the Home

  • 3 drops cinnamon
  • 2 drops sweet orange
  • 1 drop clove
  • 1 drop nutmeg

Baby It’s Cold Outside, Earth 911

  • 2 drops lavender
  • 3 drops rosemary
  • 2 drops eucalyptus
  • 3 drops peppermint

Gingerbread House, The Essential Family

  • 4 drops ginger
  • 2 drops clove
  • 1 drop cinnamon

Christmas Eve, Essential Oil Obsessed

  • 3 drops Idaho balsam fir
  • 1 drop grapefruit
  • 2 drops frankincense

Immune Booster, doTERRA

  • 3 drops doTERRA On Guard
  • 3 drops Citrus Bliss

Good-bye Winter Blues, Moritz Fine Designs

  • 1 drop vetiver
  • 2 drops lavender
  • 3 drops bergamot

Winter Chai, Oil You Need

  • 3 drops wild orange
  • 1 drop cinnamon
  • 1 drop clove
  • 1 drop cardamon

Warm & Cozy Blend, Plant Therapy

  • 3 drops cinnamon leaf
  • 2 drops sweet orange
  • 1 drop clove
  • 1 drop nutmeg

Christmas Eve Diffuser Blend, Wicked Escentuals

(pin does not link to original source)

  • 5 drops pine
  • 3 drops frankincense
  • 3 drops sweet orange
  • 3 drops peppermint
  • 2 drops cinnamon
  • 2 drops Roman chamomile
  • 1 drop clove
  • 1 drop cedarwood
  • toothpick of birch tar

Snickerdoodle, The Weekend Fox

  • 3 drops stress away
  • 3 drops nutmeg
  • 2 drop cinnamon

Santa’s Workshop, The Plucky Introvert

  • 3 drops orange
  • 2 drops peppermint
  • 2 drops cyprus
  • 2 drops Christmas spirit

Other Scents

Christmas Potpourri, Half Baked Harvest

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 3 tangerines, halved
  • 3 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise (optional)
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 small fresh pine branch
  • 1 cup apple cider, pomegranate, or cranberry juice
  • water

A Winter Recipe, Make+Haus

  • cinnamon sticks
  • whole nutmeg berries
  • cloves
  • rosemary
  • pine needles
  • water
  • jojoba oil

Stovetop Potpourri, See Vanessa Craft

  • 1 orange
  • 1 cup cranberries
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1-2 sprigs rosemary
  • 3 cinnamon sticks

Stovetop Simmer Pot, Sara Laughed

  • cranberries
  • clementine peels
  • cinnamon
  • clove

Festive Holiday Scents

What holiday scents are you using to make your home more festive this season?

Happy Blogmas

How to Remember Your Lost Loved Ones During the Holidays

How to Remember Your Lost Loved Ones During the Holidays (Blogmas 2018, Day Fourteen)

Whether you lost a loved one recently or it’s been several years, the holidays can be an especially painful time for processing grief.  It’s completely normal to struggle with this! Finding ways to remember lost loved ones during the holidays and to incorporate their memory into your celebration can help.  Here are just a few ways that you can remember your lost loved ones during the holidays this year.

Set a place at the table

Setting a place at the table for your holiday dinner or at other festivities can be a nice way to remember your loved ones. This can also help if you’re feeling guilty about celebrating the holidays without them.


If you have photographs of your loved one, you can display them as a consistent reminder.  A photo ornament on your Christmas tree could be a lovely touch.  Or, you could even give a framed photograph to someone else who is struggling with this loss.


If this was a fairly recent loss, you might consider donating some items that belonged to your loved one to a good cause.  If you don’t have any of their belongings or you’re not comfortable parting with them, you could donate financially or by volunteering with a favourite charity in their name.

A similar idea that I really like is donating a copy of your loved one’s favourite book to a library or other good cause.  I’ve always believed that you can learn a lot about a person from their favourite books, so this one seems especially poignant.

Light a candle

Lighting a candle in memory of your loved one can be very therapeutic.  You could even find a scent that you associate with your loved one, or with a memory the two of you shared.

Create a signal

What’s Your Grief has a wonderful idea in creating a “secret signal” for you and yours to share when something reminds you of the one you’ve lost.  This is a remembrance that can be incorporated year-round!

Talk about him/her

Talking about the good times you shared or the great memories you have of your loved one is a great way to remember them.  Reminisce with a friend or family member, or journal about it if you’d prefer.

Cook something special

Did your loved one have a favourite dish? Did he/she have a signature recipe? Incorporate something special into your holiday meal or other festivities.

Sing their favourite songs

If your loved one had a favourite Christmas carol or other holiday song, you could incorporate it into your own celebration.  Even a song completely unrelated to the season could be brought into it for this reason.  What’s important is that it’s special to you!

Memorialise your loved one

You could make a collage, scrapbook, or photo book of your favourite photos of/with them.  Or, you could make yourself a sort of “time capsule” filled with memories.  You could even have a book, bench, tree, or other memorial object dedicated to them.

Decorate their gravesite

If you can visit their resting place and are allowed to place things there, you could add some holiday flowers or other decoration to it.  Or, you could go “visit” and talk to your loved one about the holidays and what you’re feeling.

Celebrate as he/she would have

Did your loved one have a favourite holiday song, film, or tradition?  Make sure that this lives on by incorporating it into your own celebration.

Celebrate a service in their honour

If you’re a religious person, see if your place of worship offers a holiday memorial service.  This could be very cathartic, both for you and for others who are remembering your lost loved ones.

Put aside time to reminisce

If you’re already getting together with other friends and families over the holidays, you can easily set aside a bit of time to share memories of your loved ones.

Share a moment of silence

If talking about your lost loved one is too difficult, a moment of silence can be an equally poignant method of remembrance.

Decorate a tree of memories

If you’re the kind to put out multiple trees around the holidays (I’ve lost track of how many my mom’s got put away!), you can dedicate one (even a small one!) specifically to your loved one. You can hang photos, keepsakes, and notes on the tree to keep tangible memories front and centre.

Add a memorial ornament

If you can’t dedicate an entire separate tree, even a single ornament can have an incredible impact.  This is a great way to remember lost pets, too.  You can buy personalised ornaments in countless places, online or in person. Or, you an even make one yourself to remember your loved ones.

How to Remember Your Lost Loved Ones During the Holidays

Do you include a way to remember your lost loved ones during the holidays?

Happy Blogmas

My Favourite Christmas Films

My Favourite Christmas Films (Blogmas 2018, Day Thirteen)

Like the music, Christmas films are one of my favourite things this time of year!   I’m pretty particular about which ones I choose to watch (much to my family’s disappointment, I can’t stand Christmas Vacation, for example!). But if I know I love a movie or might grow to love a new one, they are truly one of the highlights of the season.

Technically, a few of these are holiday TV specials, but they fit in far better with films than with my favourite TV episodes (coming soon!).

In no particular order, here are some of my favourite Christmas films to help get you into the holiday spirit!  Whether you add these to your bullet journal or pin them for later, be sure to keep them on hand for the inevitable “What Christmas movie should we watch tonight?”


While I’ve never been good at picking a top favourite Christmas film, Elf is almost nearly near the top of the list. From its outrageously quotable lines to the sheer Christmas cheer, it’s hard to go wrong with this one!

Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town

Admittedly, I think most of my love for this movie comes from Topper the penguin.  But, I love the soundtrack, too!

A Christmas Story

Every Christmas Eve, TBS plays A Christmas Story on repeat for 24 hours.  It’s a highlight of every single Christmas!  My grandparents have it on at their house, my parents have it on at their house, and I have no doubt that I’ll someday watch it with my family, too.

Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey

Probably one of the least well-known of these movies, Nestor is another one that’s consistently near the top of my list of favourites.  I cry every single time, without fail.

In fact, I’ve actually wanted a plush Nestor for years–so, if anyone needs a last-minute gift idea for yours truly. . . .

Home Alone

Another classic in my family!  This is one of my grandmother‘s favourite movies–she watches it year-round! The first two movies are excellent, in my opinion, especially with the New York City sights in Home Alone 2.

Fun anecdote: my mom recently stumbled across this parody trailer for the fan-created Home Alone Christmas Reunion and her first question was how we would break the news to Nanny had it been real!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

ONLY the animated classic.  I know the live action version is relatively popular, but I personally cannot stand it.  The original, though, is a personal favourite.

I haven’t seen the newest animated version yet, but I’m trying to keep an open mind about it.  Between the return to animation and the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch, I’ve got relatively high hopes! Have you seen it? Let me know what you thought!

Jingle All the Way

This may actually be the only Schwarzenegger film I’ve seen! Nevertheless, it’s another favourite come Christmastime (and grossly underappreciated, in my opinion!).

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Another classic! Rudolph was my favourite as a kid and I’ve never grown out of that love.

A Merry Friggin’ Christmas

I haven’t seen this one many times and it’s pretty unlike most of the others on this list, but my adoration of Robin Williams brings it front and centre nevertheless.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Another animated special, another amazing addition to this list. If I had to guess, I’d say the music and Snoopy most draw me in–and Linus’ speech keeps me around! The Peanuts holiday specials are some of my favourite seasonal activities the year round.

The Holiday

I actually haven’t seen this one for a few years, but it’s stuck with me.  I think this year calls for a rewatch!

Frosty the Snowman

Yet another classic animation!  It’s hard to go wrong with the sub-genre thereof, really.

Love Actually

I’m not fully convinced that this belongs firmly in the category of Christmas films (and I’d watch it all year without issue), but Christmas is present enough for it to count, in my book. Plus, Alan Rickman. It’s also one of the few times that I can tolerate “All I Want for Christmas Is You!”

I also learnt recently that Olivia Olson, who plays Joanna, also voices Marceline in Adventure Time!

The Polar Express

This is one of my mom’s favourites, and despite not being a particular fan of Tom Hanks, it’s rubbed off on me!  The “Hot Chocolate” scene is so wonderfully upbeat, and “When Christmas Comes to Town” breaks my heart (in a good way!) every single time.

Deck the Halls

This one’s another ultra-contemporary film that isn’t normally my cup of tea, but it’s slowly become one of my favourites! Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito play off of one another wonderfully and Kristin Chenoweth and Kristin Davis make it even better.

Olive the Other Reindeer

This is probably one of the least well-known on this list, but I love it.  Dogs and Christmas? I’m a fan.

My Favourite Christmas Films

What are your favourite Christmas films?  Let us know in the comments!

Happy Blogmas