Tag Archives: Christmas

Hello, Santa.

29 Nov

Did you have parents who would threaten to call Santa Claus at this time of the year if you started misbehaving? I sure did! There is no sentence quite as terrifying as “I’m telling Santa you’re being bad” to a youngster. Well, now that I’m the adult (haha, when did that happen!?), I had my first opportunity to play the “Santa Card” this evening. 

On my way home from work I decided to call and chat with my cousin, Mandy, about our upcoming day-trip to New York City. She had just picked up her two little boys, Paul (nearly 5) and Ryan (3), from her mom’s and was heading home. However, she needed to make a quick stop at Goodwill to find a sweater she could DIY for her company’s ugly Christmas party. Not wanting to take the boys in with her, she asked if I would meet her at the store (it’s next to my apartment complex). Less than a 5 minute walk later, she was explaining that the boys were watching a movie and she’d only be a few minutes. Easy peasy, I’ve got this!

All was fine and dandy until the car turned off – you know, like the 10 minutes you have after turning off the car before the radio goes out. Thinking the boys’ movie would come back on like the radio by turning the key, I gave it a try – unsuccessful, although we were greeted by some lovely Christmas tunes! This is when the boys lost it.

At that moment they wanted nothing more to do with “Auntie” and wanted mom now. They began messing with the windows, which I had thought were locked. This wasn’t enough for them – they start chucking little pieces of bread and paper out the widows into the parking lot as I am frantically trying to figure out which buttons control their windows and which button will prevent them from putting them down once more. All the while, I can see Mandy waiting not-so-patiently in line with two sweaters. 

Finally, FINALLY,  I located the right window buttons, and using the boys’ middle names, get them to keep their fingers and toes inside the vehicle. And just like that, the screeching and fake crying begins – “you’re mean. I don’t want you here.” Is that music to all disciplining adults? Ignoring them, I attempt to communicate telepathically with Mandy that her sons are having a meltdown. Although I didn’t get through to her, Scott (boyfriend) must have sensed something was up, because he called at that exact moment and inspiration struck!

Me: “Hello Santa.”

Scott: “Santa? What?”

Me: “Why yes, Santa. I am in the car with two little boys who aren’t being very good right now.”

Scott: “Oh, I see what you’re doing now.”

Mandy has completed her transaction and is making her way to the car.

Me: “Santa, their mom is coming. I’ll have to call you right back.” 

Jumping out of the car I quietly and quickly explained the phone call and that her boys might ask about Santa now. She just laughs, finding the whole situation hysterical! Back in the car, she asks her boys about their behavior and our phone call with Santa before proceeding to show me her sweaters. After a few moments, this little voice from the backseat pipes up.

Paul: “Riah, can I see your phone?”

Me: “Why do you need my phone?”

Paul: “I need to call Santa.”

Mandy and I just glance at each other and try desperately not to laugh.

Me: (thinking quickly) “I’m sorry buddy, we can only talk to Santa once a week and we just used our phone call. You’ll have to wait until next week.”

Paul: (considers this for a moment) “Okay, then we can tell him I’m being good now.”

Me: “Absolutely, buddy!”

Who knew playing the Santa Card could be so much fun?!

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Oh Come Let Us Adore

24 Dec

Breathe in. Breathe out. Relax. Repeat.

How often do we let ourselves do that during the busy holiday season? I would bet most of us are too busy racing around for the perfect gift, creating a Pinterest worthy holiday dinner or just trying to keep it all together on the outside while we slowly fall apart on the inside.

Often, I fall into the latter category. Holidays are proving to be hard for me this year being out on my own, I saw that last month with Thanksving. There will be some who don’t understand this struggle, and that’s okay. It’s just that had I known last Christmas would be the last Christmas morning I woke up in my childhood bedroom, if I’d known last Christmas was the last time I would wait for my family to all go to bed before I snuck my gifts downstairs and sat looking at our tree in the quiet for an hour, I would have appreciated it so much more. I have been so focused on everything I’m going to miss – late night holiday baking, Santa’s footprints, my parent’s house at Christmas, when I really should have been focused on the reason for the season.

Thank goodness earlier this month we had a meeting at The Well, the women’s ministry that meets each month at church. The theme – Oh Come Let Us Adore. Perfect! Before we entered the sanctuary, we were reminded of the symbols of Jesus in the holiday decorations – the red to represent the blood Christ shed on the cross to pay for our sins; green, specifically in evergreens, to signify everlasting life; the pointy leaves of the poinsettia plant to remind us of the thorns that adorn Christ’s head. Hearing this was a wake up call…Christmas is all about the cross. (Oddly enough, I just found a song by that same title a few days ago by The Ball Brothers, trust me, you’ll need tissues!) And then they let us into the sanctuary as the worship band softly sang “Oh Come Let Us Adore.”

Our hostesses gave us two gifts that night – first, a time to relax and worship; and second, prayer. On our seats were little cards that said “Adore” and during the service they asked us to write down what we needed prayers for. We didn’t have to add our names, just what was on our heart, and then drop that card into the basket. At the end of the service, we each drew one card and were asked to pray for that sister in Christ, for whatever she had written on her card.

Lord, I lift this sister up to you. I don’t know her name or the extent of her struggles, but you do. I ask that you enfold her in peace, comfort, and strength. Help her to remove her worries and troubles from the basket she carries daily and place them in your hands. Lord, help her to see others as you see them. Help her to choose her words and actions wisely, and to be conscious of other’s feelings, thoughts and desires. Let her know that she is never alone – she can turn to you at any time, day or night and you will be there to listen to her. Help her to know your unending, unconditional, all-encompassing love, the kind of love a daughter can only receive from her Heavenly Father. Lord, help her to be wise and strong, and to know that surrendering to you is not a weakness but an act of unwavering faith. Lord, be with her tonight. If there is anger, hurt or resentment in her spirit, I ask that it be removed and replaced with openness, kindness, acceptance and understanding. Help her feel peace and joy at home. Be with this sister, reminding her that You are the Light of the World, the reason for the season,  the Greatest Gift of All.

That night was exactly what my troubled heart needed, and I too, have felt the prayers of a sister in Christ as she prayed over my card. I am so blessed to have this church family to help me grow in my faith. And it was even more wonderful that I was able to spend this amazing evening with my extended family and that we could all be blessed and strengthened together.

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Christmas decorations, work and happy faces

2 Dec

For as far back as I can remember, I have always loved Christmas decoration! The last few years I have enjoyed decorating my office space at the hospital with window clings, garlands and lights. But now I have a new job, no window and a cubical in the middle of the public space. I began missing my old office and its beautiful decorations. How was I going to make my new space festive and joyful for the 40 hours I am here every week?!

The answer came a week before Thanksgiving when our front receptionist (who is my work BFF and is also new to our office) began clearing out a cluttered closet. A short while later an email went out stating everything sitting in the hallway was up for grabs and if it was still there Friday it would find a new home at Goodwill. Curiosity got the better of me, after all the hallway in question is a mere two feet from my cubical. And much to my surprise, I found these little gems waiting for me among all the junk!

For about a week and a half they sat all alone on top of my cabinets. Every time I looked up they made me smile, but I was still lacking that warm fuzzy feeling of decorated offices past. And so I tempted Mother Nature’s hand and hung some snowflake ornaments that I also rescued from the hallway! My space was instantly made-over into a glittery Winter Wonderland!

And yet, something was still missing. Lights, I needed twinkle lights! So on an evening run to Walmart for a space heater for my desk (did I mention my office FEELS like a Winter Wonderland because it’s FREEZING?!), I bought some multicolor indoor-outdoor Christmas lights for my desk! I held off putting them up until the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I had grand plans of waiting until December 1st, but I was excited to see how it would look!

Finally, it feels like Christmas when I sit at my desk, space heater keeping my toes cozy while I sip on steaming hot chocolate.

The Christmas spirt is catching, the receptionist decorated the front office beautifully after she saw my creation! Everyone who walks into our office now comments on how inviting we’ve made the space look!

And to top it off, our Secret Santa gift exchange began this week – we’re doing it a little differently than I’m use to, doing one gift a week until the week of December 17th when we have our office party and big reveal. I’m use to dedicating one week to giving gifts with the reveal on that Friday. Oh well – this keeps the excitement going all month long I guess, and my first gift was waiting on my chair when I came back from a brisk walk during lunch on Monday!


I’ve kept my own Secret Santa in suspense for a couple days wondering when it will appear. Now I have to find a sneaky time to get it into their mailbox when no one is watching! I think it turned out cute and rustic! I hope they’ll like it! I put together a matching one for mom’s Secret Santa gift at her work, too!

How’s the Christmas Spirit where you work? Are you overly excited to decorate like me, or are you more of a Scrooge?

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected

24 Nov

Have you ever walked into work and been surprised to see yourself on a poster? I have…. here, take a look!

Disney's Restaurantosaurus Cast Members sing Christmas Songs in DinoLand, A Christmas Carol Poster

As I have mentioned many times on my blog, I use to work at The Walt Disney World Resort®. My first role was as a Quick Service Food & Beverage cast member at Disney’s Restaurantosaurus  in Animal Kingdom from August 2010 – beginning of January 2011. One night after the park closed and we were cleaning the kitchen, there was a group of us who started singing Christmas songs as we worked, and we sounded GOOD, there were harmonies and flowing melodies! And from there our little choir of Resto Cast Members was born!

We would sign Christmas carols outside the restaurant with the guests at random times throughout the day! Nothing made me happier than having my manager come take over my position so I could go sing! (Have I mentioned I LOVE singing just as much as I LOVE Disney?) Sometimes other cast members would join us as you can see from the picture above. She was a character attendant for Pluto and Goofy and one of the places we would sing was along the path the characters took to enter and leave DinoLand. There was this one time Goofy stopped to “direct” our little choir! It was one of the funniest and most adorable things I had the opportunity to witness. The guests LOVED every minute of it!

My favorite stories though are when little kids would come running over and request their favorite songs just so they could sing with us. My heart swelled every time just knowing this little thing, singing Christmas carols at Disney would be a memory these families would take with them. And I was a little part of that magic.

I don’t recall having this picture taken. And I was honestly shocked when I came into work one morning and I found a smiling, singing me on the wall. But if there was ever to be an unexpected picture of myself hanging for all my coworkers to see, I’m glad it was this one as it so clearly showcases me in my element — singing, enjoying life to the fullest and making memories for perfect strangers. Who could ask for more in a photo?

Disney's Restaurantosaurus Cast Members sing Christmas Songs in DinoLand, A Christmas Carol Poster

Wordless Wednesday – 10/16/13

16 Oct

Walmart thinks Christmas is coming soon….

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Santa’s Secret is Out!

15 Dec

Tonight my sisters and I attended the annual Christmas party at our church. There was tons of catching up to do with friends who moved out-of-state to go to school and older folks who kept asking what I was doing with my life now that I’m a college grad (OKAY….so they didn’t state it EXACTLY that way), delicious food and a cute holiday program.

Come on, you can’t help but smile when you hear 3 year-olds singing “Away in a Manger”. Or when your baby sister (I know you are 16 now, but you will ALWAYS be my baby sister, deal with it kiddo!) is up there on stage playing her trumpet beautifully!

And then it was time….the moment we were all waiting for….the jolly man from way up north…..SANTA CLAUS!! [Insert cheers from young and old!]

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And things were going great… until MY SISTER DE-BEARDED Santa!!! 

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And that’s when we learned the truth. Papa is SANTA!!

I guess that explains why I never saw him and Santa together in the same room. Or how I ALWAYS got what I wanted for Christmas, it’s because….drum roll please….

I’m Santa’s granddaughter!

HOW COOL IS THAT?!

BEST  CHRISTMAS  SURPRISE  EVER! Love you Papa, I mean Santa! ❤

Countdown to Christmas

25 Nov

Can you believe it?! TODAY is November 25…. one MONTH to Christmas! Where has the year gone? Wasn’t last week March? I feel like I missed the last couple of months they went by so quickly!

So here we go, the Countdown to Christmas 2012 has begun! Tonight we decorated the tree!! I love our Christmas tree! It’s filled with so many stories! Each year, my mother finds my sisters and I a new ornament to represent something we did that year. My ornaments tell  about when I got my license, traveled to Spain my senior year in high school, worked at Disney, just to name a few. Last year, my special ornament was a Guardian Angel to remind me that she will always be there to support my dreams and give me encouragement, no matter where life takes me. And before you ask how I remember what each ornament represents, my mom writes something special on the box, along with the year.

Now, according to mom, some years are easier to find ornaments than others. I don’t know how she does it, but I love that she does! It’s my favorite Christmas tradition…well, other than Santa’s magic snow footprint, but I’ll tell you more about those when it gets closer to Christmas!

In the mean time, check out all the decorating that’s been happening at this house! Two trees, window clings and Christmas chains! And much, much more still to do!

And what tree would be complete without the Christmas Pickle ornament?! This is the one I surprised my family with in 2010 when I was working at Disney. Our original Pickle Ornament got lost a few years ago and for some reason we never replaced it. This one came from the German Pavilion at Walt Disney World’s Epcot. If you don’t know the legend behind the Pickle Ornament, check it out here! 😀

The Christmas Pickle

Our Christmas Pickle ornament!