Saturday, December 14, 2013

My Unsolved Holiday Mysteries

Alright, every holiday season I find myself stumped by the same questions or mysteries you could say I guess?  I've realized it keeps happening because I never figure them out, then once Christmas is over it doesn't matter anymore... until next year.  Then 11 months go by, it's Christmas again and I've got the same issues.  Feels like deja vu I guess, or kind of a yearly Bill Murray Groundhog Day style experience?  This time, I'd like to end the cycle and I'm hoping you can help!  As the wise Robert Stack once said....

Join me.  Perhaps you may be able to help solve a mystery. 

- What you are about to see is not a news broadcast -

1. What is the best guy gift you've ever given to a guy? 
It could be for a brother, boyfriend, brother, husband, dad, uncle, grandpa, friend, whatever!  Because let's face it, the typical "Great Gift Ideas for Him" like ties, cologne, silly gadgets found in the men's section of a department store, power tools, unnecessary electronics, socks, slippers, themed attire includes sports, beer, holiday or humor themes), or a membership to the jelly of a month club are just lame guy gifts.
Image via Messy Nessy Chic
So what the heck is a good guy gift? I want to know!  And please keep in mind that new cars, vacations, diamonds, horses type gifts isn't in my budget :)  gift giving would be super easy if it was though, ha!  New cars & ponies for everyone!

2. If a "let's not do gifts this year" policy is agreed upon, do you follow it? 
Whether it is Alex and I or with family, this is one I struggle with.  I always feel like I should still get a little something for my loved ones even if we have agreed to not do a gift exchange on Christmas... and that has gotten me into trouble a time or two.  I guess my fear is that someone will give me a gift and then I will feel like a jerk if I don't have one to give in return.  So what do you think?  Should you follow the agreement always and if so, should the person that doesn't follow the agreement be considered the jerk?

3. Does anyone else feel a bit blue on Christmas Day too?
Not to sound super scrooge-like or depressed, but I really want to know.  The weird thing is that I enjoy the Christmas season, heck I look forward to it!  I love the holiday get togethers, time with family (when we're lucky enough to get home for the holidays), gift exchanges, food, theme attire including ugly Christmas sweaters), greeting cards,  And ya'll know I LOVE covering our house with Christmas decor and making it all cozy!  But it always feels like you go through all that excitement and get to Christmas Day and it just feels like any other day... which leads to feeling a little let down or sad or something?  I'm the type of person that likes to be on the happy side of things even in bummy situations, but there's always a moment or two on Christmas Day where I have a tough time.  Gosh, that just sounds so depressing right?  I guess it's the truth though, so now that I spilled my guts I'd love to know if anyone else experiences the same and if you do, what gets you out of feeling blue?
Now, I might already know part of the answer to #3 considering Alex and I spent the last two Christmases here in Minnesota alone since we couldn't make the trek to Michigan to be with family- and that leads me to another question...

4. If you are without family on Christmas, how do you spend it to make it feel special?
Alex and I made Christmas Day dinner plans with our neighbor friends that were also without family and that was a ton of fun!  We also thought about finding a volunteer opportunity that would help make Christmas day special for those in need.  What other ways can you make a lonesome Christmas special? Alex thinks we could just take turns sitting in our new bathtub with some holiday treats and nog- By the way, there will be a post this week that covers our finished bath/shower space!  And just to clarify, no we won't be boozed up sitting in our tub eating Christmas cookies and pie in case you were worried :)

*** Okay, now my last and most important question, and this is TOTALLY serious folks! ***

5. Why oh why are there so many TERRIBLE fragrance commercials on TV during the holiday season???  Really, can you say there is a good one out there?  I guess I just don't understand the logic behind most of these ads, like are we supposed to believe that we will become this creature of intrigue that lives a life of exotic vacations, runway walks, one night stands, polo matches, photo shoots on a yacht , and whatever else if we purchase and cover ourselves in that scent?  Or we see them and think, "Yea, I wanna smell like that!" I just don't get it, in all of these scenarios I just think said person would smell like B.O. right?

If I have to crown the worst one though, it's that J'adore Dior ad where Charlize Theron whispers an evil-breathy "J'ADORE".  I swear it's been on TV for like then years now, Santa please make it stop.  Sorry if it sounds like I'm on a rant now, but is anyone else with me?  Do you think the excessive fragrance ads spots are terrible too?

Well there you have it- Perhaps you may be able to help solve my five Unsolved Holiday Mysteries?
Help a gal out!  Be sure to leave a comment!

DISCLAIMER: This program is about unsolved mysteries.  Whenever possible, the actual family members and police officials have participated in recreating the events.  And I am totally kidding with the disclaimer :)


  1. Hi Carla ... and Alex, :)

    I've never left a message on your blog before but subscribed to it a couple years ago ... so I've been a 'fan' for quite a while now and think you and Alex are lovely!!! :) :) :)

    Anyhoo ... THANK YOU for asking these questions ... you must have read my mind LOL, because I've often (actually truth be told, every year) feel like you do in your question # 3 ............... I used to think it was just me who had those moments of feeling quite flat and down at some point during Christmas day! I used to think I was majorly weird to have those feelings when I'd been so looking forward to it for days AND then thoroughly enjoying myself during it and yet I'd get these down moments.

    Well as a now (cough) very young 47 yr old :) I've come to the conclusion that it's the child in us realising we aren't kids anymore! .... Does that make sense?? I'm no psychologist or anything but I think it's a case of when we were little, Christmas was this awesome fun and exciting day that seemed to go on for ages ... and we had no responsibilities like food prep or cleaning up or organising any of it ... but now as an adult there is all the mundane general stuff mixed in with the fun stuff which seems to put a dampener on it all a bit! ........... Good grief ... I didn't realise I was going to write a 'book' as my reply LOL .......... but anyway that's my take on why we have those little moments ............. and besides the fact that it is just ONE day and it's all over and done with so quickly, that yeah it can be a bit sad at times! :) .... But maybe I'm just a Christmas tragic!!!!! LOL ... Hey I still get a total kick out of a house all decked out in pretty lights or a pretty Christmas tree ... and speaking of which .... I LOVE your decorations this year ... very elegantly simple and lovely!!! :):):)

    Oh and very quickly ... # 1 .... My step-dad just last Christmas ... the blinking stop sign on a pole for the garage that when the car bumps it the red lights blink and you know your've gone far enough ... hands down the best $20 I've ever spent on a gift for a man ... he loves it, it's used everyday at least once and there are no more little squabbles with Mum about how close he is to the wall!!!! LOL ..... I've bought 3 more this year for the other men in my life!!! ;)

    Well I think I've said enough :) ... I hope you both have a very safe and very Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year ... and I look forward to following your news and doings in 2014!

    God Bless,

    Kyla xx ... Brisbane Australia

    OH ... PS: I love ... LOVE the new look of your Dinning room ... really LOVELY!! :)

    1. Wow! Thanks for the long comment Kyla! I totally love it! I totally agree with you on the Christmas blues thing, it will probably never have the luster that it used to and I will just have to keep my spirits up and surround myself with good company :) Glad you like our decor this year and the new Dining Room too!
      So I have to ask about this stop sign on a pole thing- where did you buy this thing??? Alex hangs water bottles to mark when we are far enough into the garage, a sign sounds so much nicer and kind of funny! I think Alex might like it, I wonder if these are sold in the US?

    2. Hi Carla, Thanks so much for replying ... it's so lovely to hear from you! :)

      I got the stop sign through one of those home ordering catalogues called 'Innovations'. But I just searched the net and found one thats very similar to mine on Amazon. Hope this link works ....

      Would love to know if you end up getting one ... personally I think they're a brilliant idea ... just wish I'd come up with the idea first!!! LOL

      Well once again, hope you have a great Christmas ... and yes wonderful company always makes it special!


      Kyla ... Brissy, Down Under

  2. Good morning! I definitely understand where you are coming from about the holidays. I love the "reason" and the "season"...but as we grow older the "allure" of Christmas Day dwindles. My DH and I don't exchange gifts anymore. Our children are grown (with no grand children "yet"). So we help them out with things they "need" and a couple of "wants". My DD and her new hubbie are military so they volunteer extensively at Christmas since they can't come home, and I've "heard" a difference in her voice, so she's not so homesick. The commercials, OMG...hate them. Was just saying to my DH last night, WHY do we have to see these at Christmas? I would think Valentine's Day would "suit" the season doesn't make me want to buy them for sure. God Bless and try watching Christmas movies and listening to Christmas music (that's all I'll watch during the holidays). Keeps my spirits up and makes me feel a little more "child like".

    1. I'm so glad you hate those commercials too! They drive me bonkers :) I'm with you on the Christmas music and movies to keep things a little more spirited and fun. We got sucked into Home Alone last night and I think I will always love that kid-like take on Christmas- which reminds me that I should share our stair sledding adventure again! I think maybe some readers haven't seen it and it'd be a hoot!

  3. I am very interested to hear responses to #4 - my husband and I (and the cat!) will be spending it alone this year, for the first time ever. His new job doesn't give him much time off, and with his parents now in two different places, we can't really see both of them, and last year was my family's turn with us so I'd feel bad if they got us two years in a row, so NO ONE GETS US! ;) I have no idea what we'll do. I'm thinking maybe we'll try to be extra-fancy - get out candles and good dishes, even if we just eat our normal food :) Maybe with fancy desserts? I think I am going to make sure we go to Christmas Eve church - that at least will make it feel more like something is happening and it's not just a few random days off with presents ;)

    But I worry that THAT will definitely make Christmas feel like a letdown - which, I agree, it usually feels that way for me too. \

    As to the no-gifts, I usually ignore it because I LOVE shopping for gifts and if I find the perfect thing for someone, they're getting it no matter what we've agreed on! :)

    Hahhahah!! And what is with the really OLD perfume ads that come back at this time? Like the Elizabeth Taylor one that's from the 80s, or the JUlia Roberts one that has to be from like 1996! Though the Charlize one IS the most terrifying!

    1. You should try and find some other Christmas Day "orphans" that you can share some company with! When we had dinner with our neighbors that really helped cheer me up I think? But yea, cooking a special meal keeps us busy and its kind of fun and I do like going to Church because it does give you the feeling of true Christmas since that is what it's all about after all. And yea, totally agree on the old ads like that Liz Taylor Diamonds one, I only hope that the Charlize Dior one won't be on as long as that one!

  4. (And I purposefully ignored your first question because I have NO IDEA. Once a guy is over the age of 8, I have NO idea what to get him! Thank goodness my husband has an amazon wishlist!!)

    1. I'm jealous, Alex doesn't have a wish list and he's not into any social media that I could research on (Facebook, Pinterest, etc) Guess my only option is undies and socks? LOL?! I think it is funny that most men don't buy that stuff themselves, I am always asked to "restock" when needed :)

  5. Umm, I don't want to come across all preachy or anything, but I find if I am feeling sad about Christmas, it usually comes from getting too caught up in the materialistic /secular part. Think back to the wonder of the first Christmas and I bet you will feel better. Often times I bundle up really good and go sit on my deck late on Christmas Eve and just reflect - take in the starry night and think about the Wise Men following the star...
    Now that I have answered that, I have a question for you, if I may. You remember the post about the big old house by you damaged in the tornado. I was also at the estate sale - what a house that is. What is going on with renovation? I think it might be time for a follow-up post!

    1. Yes, you are probably right on that one :) but I do think that missing family counts for a large part of my blues maybe? Regarding the old house, I haven't emailed with the owner in a while but I will try to catch up with her! Winter is always tough, we don't see our neighbors a whole lot when it is Minnesota-stinkin-winter cold out :)

    2. Missing the family does have a lot to do with it as well. You sort of have to make "new family" and it will get better.

  6. #1 Best Gift: Shop Vacuum To My Friend Dave. It Was The Year Of His Divorce & His Christmas Was Pretty Blue. So The Unexpected Gift Lifted Him Up A Bit. Dropped It Off Uunexpectedly On Christmas Day. I Think It Was The Only Present He Got That Year. As For The "Best Gifts Idea" I Think It Just Comes Down To The Thought That Counts.

    #2 Yup Follow The No Gift Exchange Agreement Or It Is Pointless & Every Year You Try It The Other Person Or People Will Not Know What To Do. Like A Few Years Ago At Holly's When We Were Not To Do Gifts But I Still Gave Everyone Socks. My Bad. Instead Give A Gift To Salvation Army Or Similar. You Can Warm Up Someone Elses Christmas Who Might Not Have Had Such A Good One Otherwise.

    #3 I Think That The Sometimes Blue Feeling On Christmas Happens To More People Then You Might Think. Even When In The Middle Of Enjoying The Day & Family. Maybe Because We Wish We Could Be Together Like That More Often. Probably Lots Of Logical Reasons Why It Happens. I Know It Happens To Me & Usually At It's Worse When Everyone Is Leaving After Getting Together.

    #4 I Usually Do Spend Christmas Day Alone Because Of The Family Needing To See The Others In Their Family. Years ago It Was Odd But Now It Is Normal & Because We Did Are Christmas Together On The 24Th I Am Content On Christmas Day & Thankful For Spending The 24Th Together But Mostly I Am Thankful For My Friends & Family In My Life & That All Are Doing Well.

    #5 Because You Don't Want To Stink On Christmas & Some People Just Need To B Reminded Of That.

    Fyi....It Was My Smartphones Idea To Add All The Caps....

  7. some of that Christmas day funk may be from the sudden winding down after all the prep. Try having plans for the next day or two: lunch or spa with girl friends, or a day trip with hubby. Instead of a holiday party earlier in Dec, have a winter party the weekend after Christmas. or after New Year's. Hopefully, you would think of more exciting ideas, but that's a starting point.

  8. I have enjoyed your blog for a couple of years. Absolutely adore when the puppies make into the pics!
    -Last year I started early & had boudoir photos done for my husband in a photo book. I had so much fun with the photographers I used and they made me feel super comfortable. Plus, they were classy, not trashy. Another great gift - rotisserie for the grill!
    -Instead of no gift exchange, why not have everyone donate to a favorite charity. You can make the donation in honor of the family & no one needs to know the amount (in case anyone is struggling to make ends meet). I do this for my grandparents. They have everything!
    -Really, Christmas is such a busy day, I don't get the holiday blues. When we got married, we made the decision not to travel at the holidays. That was 14 years ago. The first year was rough. Every year we invite friends who aren't with their families. We average about 10-12 a year, cook up a huge feast, have delicious drinks, and enjoy spending time with our friends. Then we ignore the mess in the kitchen the next day, stay in bed, catch up on sleep, movies, and drink and leftover champagne. You should join us! (not for the day after part, though).
    -This year it's the cell phone provider commercial: switch to their carrier & you will have leftover $$ to make ornaments with your niece. Cause craft supplies are so expensive. I just want to reach in the tv & slap em

    Merry Christmas!

  9. I've so enjoyed your blog & fallen in love with your pups!
    1- last year I had boudoir photos done in a photo book for my husband. He loved it & I had a great time putting everything together. The photographers I used were so friendly & made me feel really comfortable. Another favorite gift: a rotisserie for the grill
    2- what about everyone donating to a favorite charity? You can then exchange the "in honor of…." cards. I do this for my grandparents. They have everything!
    3- When we got married 14 years ago, we decided to do without the insanity of holiday travel. Our families live half the country away from us. So, we have a huge feast, delicious drinks, and invite as many friends who are also away from their families. It usually ends up being about 8-12 people and it's such a fun great time!
    5- Hating the cell phone provider commercials. Switch to us & you can save enough to buy craft supplies (super expensive??) and make ornaments with your niece. Seriously?

    Merry Christmas!

  10. Alrighty! Best gift for hubs? This year, I hired out the snow plowing. My husband thanked me, I thanked me! It'll be the gift that continues thru, uh probably May if this winter is like last (yes, Minnesota!) yes, I'd HAPPILY follow no gifting request! If you feel like it, quietly donate what you would have spent. Yes I fully expect to feel blue at some point. Best way to counter it? A quick act of kindness! Missing family? Why yes! Of.course! My husband's career and schedule early in our marriage taught us that even the two of us is family and we made it work. Ick..with you on creepy fragrance ads, I feel like I need to look away! Marketing lost on me!
    I think it's wonderful that you expressed your mystery! Too many people manufacturing "Christmas" ... It's different for each person. The joy of the season is built in, let it find you. It will :)


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