Christmas 2011: Things I Did & Things I Did Not Do

I survived Christmas 2011. Did you?

It’s been a crazy couple of days, but I’ll do my best to sum up this bit of the holiday season. It all started on December 23 — Christmas Eve Eve with Brian.

Christmas with Brian!

I DID exchange Christmas gifts with Brian for the first time! We decorated a tree together, hung (and sufficiently filled) stockings and ate an awesome steak dinner that I in no way helped with.

I did nothing to contribute to any part of this meal, but I did a REALLY great job at eating it.

I DID receive amazingly thoughtful and kickass gifts from Brian. I got all my favorite candy and chocolate things. I got a new hot pink jacket that is so bright it’s practically blinding. Perfect. I got the painting I’ve been wanting but would never actually buy for myself. And, best of all, I got a shirt with a giant llama on it. Brian knows me so well.

Maybe not the best picture of me, but look at that LLAMA!

I DID give Brian the gift of adventure. And also the gift of candy. And that Steve Jobs book.

I DID NOT have to fake excitement about any of the aforementioned gifts. Sometimes I get unwrapping anxiety. Not this time. First Ali & Brian Christmas: Success!

That's mighty pink, don't you think? I MADE A RHYME.

I DID get up and run on Christmas Eve. It was chilly, but I threw on the ol’ short shorts and legwarmer combo and hit up Central Park for 10 miles of fun. There’s not too much else to say about that.

I DID arrive at the airport two hours before my Boston-bound flight. I thought there would be traffic and crazy security lines. Nope. There was none of that. Instead my nice taxi driver man got me to JFK in record time and there were roughly three people ahead of me in the security line.

I DID NOT stay awake for any part of my flight home. I fell asleep before we even pulled away from the gate and woke up when the wheels touched down in Boston. I love JetBlue.

I DID NOT injure myself hauling my 45-pound suitcase off the baggage claim thing. That is because I have tons of upper body strength, obviously.

I DID feel happy to arrive home in New Hampshire on Christmas Eve. My dad picked me up in Boston and we (OK, I) chatted nonstop on the entire car ride to the northern land.

I DID get drunk within two hours of my arrival at home.

Honey, me, Michaela, Dad and Uncle Glenn

This year, Christmas meant a packed house at the Fellers. My grandmother (we call her Honey) and my Uncle Glenn came up from Pennsylvania, plus we got Ryan and Michaela with us this year (they spent Thanksgiving with her family, so they came to us for Christmas). It was a very festive place to be.

Christmas Eve at our house means drinking…a lot. My dad makes this drink called a “Woo Woo” and I don’t know why it’s called that, but I do know that it means everyone will inevitably yell out “Woo Woo!” at many points throughout the night.

Honey included. She was woo-wooing like a little champion. She’s an 87-year-old rock star.

I DID sleep through most of the Christmas Eve action. We ate dinner, I got drunk and then I passed out on the couch while my parents’ friends came over. Apparently it was loud, but I kept on sleeping. I’m so hardcore. Life of the party right here.

I DID NOT sleep well that night. It could be because I had Woo Woo swimming around in my stomach and I was on an air mattress, but it’s cool. It’s Christmas.

I DID wake up way too early on Christmas morning. I was the first one up, so I took pictures of stuff.

My mom's stocking was too full, so we had to put some stuff in a paper bag. We do Christmas the classy way up here in New Hampshire.

I DID NOT realize how overboard we went this year until I saw all the presents underneath the tree. I mean, seriously? I should also point out that we are all grown humans, though Ryan and Michaela’s not-yet-born-baby (affectionately known in this family as “Bump”) probably got the most gifts. Lucky little kid.

That's a lot of stuff...

I DID tell my family that all those presents were unnecessary and that we should donate them to charity, and they all said, “OK, you can donate YOUR gifts to charity, go ahead,” but I didn’t and that’s where that story ends. We all kept our gifts.

I DID appreciate that it snowed on Christmas morning. It was perfect: little flurries with no real accumulation.

You can't really see that it's snowing, but just take me word for it. I would never lie to you.

I DID NOT wake up on Christmas morning with a hangover. I cannot say the same for my Woo Woo-loving brother, Ryan.

Ryan is curled up underneath that blanket somewhere, probably wishing he hadn't had that 8th refill the night before.

I DID drink hot chocolate in a snowman mug with lots of whipped cream. It’s tradition.

Every year.

I DID practice being an aunt. When Bump arrives in May, I’m going to be totally ready to hold it and play with it and stuff. I spent all day yesterday practicing with a stuffed animal, so I am definitely ready to hold a newborn. It’s practically the same thing I bet.

This is Bump the Frog. Ryan gave him to Michaela and we all treated it like a real human. Sort of. Honey left it by itself a few times, which was a little negligent if you ask me.
Great grandmother to a baby frog! How precious.

I DID love every single gift I received this year. I’m pretty pumped about my new ski jacket and snow pants, and Ryan and Michaela got me a JetBlue gift card to use to visit my future niece or nephew. I thought that was amazingly thoughtful. What they don’t know is that I’m going to use that gift card to hop on a flight to Aruba instead…

Just kidding. I’ll pick up the baby, and then we’ll go to Aruba together.

I DID receive a fleece adult onesie for Christmas. That is not a joke.


I DID NOT watch Hello Dolly. My dad and Honey did, though, and they loved it. And then they wouldn’t stop singing that “Helloooooo, Dolly!” song and everyone got kind of annoyed.

They're loving the musical stuff. Look at how happy they are.

I DID break tradition and change out of my pajamas on Christmas. I broke out for a 4-mile run. It was cold and uneventful, but I was glad I did it.

I DID NOT appreciate being endlessly mocked every time I stuffed my face with more food. “It’s OK to indulge during the holidays,” all my loving family members kept saying as they laughed in my face. Apparently they had all read this post.

I DID NOT enjoy watching Bridesmaids with my grandmother.

That is not a face that says, "OMG I love this part, when they're having sex! Yay! Grandmother, do you LOVE this movie?!"

Yeah, that movie is hilarious, and I’ve seen it three times now. But it’s not a Honey-friendly movie, and while I’m old enough to live alone and pay my own bills and clean my own hair out of the shower drain, I am not mature enough to watch onscreen sex scenes in the same room as my grandmother. I’m just not. I hated it.

I DID set a new PR…in cookie eating. I am so proud. My jeans are feeling snug, my face is looking good and bloated and I’m feeling like I really came out to play this holiday season. Those cookies didn’t stand a chance. Neither did those rolls. Or that Death by Chocolate. Or the ham. And the pineapple stuffing. And the stuffed shells.

I DID NOT feel like putting on workout clothes today, but I did it anyway. I ran the same hilly 4-mile out-and-back route that I did yesterday. It was boring, but I got sweaty.

I DID love every minute I got to spend with my family, especially Honey and Uncle Glenn since I don’t see much of them during the rest of the year.

Honey and the grandkids. We are cute. I'm wearing a bunny suit.

And that’s my Christmas in a very big nutshell. Thanks for joining me on my recap adventure.

Next stop: Boston!

I’m staying at Ryan and Michaela’s house tonight — and Brian is coming, too! We’re all having dinner tonight. I am already ready for my next meal, and I’m ready to put my bunny outfit back on.

TELL ME: How was your Christmas?! Best gift given? Best gift received? Most delicious thing you ate? Did you and your family also treat a stuffed animal like a part of the family? Tell me everything.



41 Responses

  1. I arrived at Amtrak two hours early for my train and there is not even security there, I am kind OCD about travel. Love the onesie! Glad you had a great xmas minus some awkward movie viewing moments!

  2. Glad you had such a great Christmas, it looked full of fun and family. I would have loved to have seen a pic of the picture you got as a pressie. The onesie looks cute and comfy you wear it well I know I could not!! Even if it was a butch grizzly bear costume and brown.
    happy new year to you, Brian and your friends and family

  3. My favorite gift was the one I gave myself – a couple of your I Heart Sweat shirts! I have been rockin’ them non-step. They also qualify as my favorite gift given – I got one for my favorite gym instructor dude, but haven’t given it to him yet because he’s away this week. Can’t wait!

  4. I got a Garmin 405 and LOVE it!!!! Best gift yet. Luckily we moved to Arizona, so I’m enjoying winter running compared to Utah winter running!

  5. haha, so many things to love about this post! my favorite gift was probably the four bottles of wine i received from my family. they know me well.

    my mom buys my sister and i matching pj’s every christmas eve, but they are not as awesome as your bunny onesie. my mom needs to take notes for 2012…

  6. LOVE the recap & the bunny suit! This Christmas my boyfriend came along, each time we were about to open a present (me, my brother or my bf) my mom would say it’s “condoms!!!” OR “oh look it has a nice pocket, for condoms! ha ha ha!” I guess my family is not one to feel awkward watching sex scenes with. And I think my favorite gift was an infinity scarf from Anthropologie.. it’s no bunny onesie, but it’ll do. 🙂

  7. Best gift = far and away, new baking supplies! My mom got me a slotted spoon, a spatula (they’re green and pink!) a microplane, and a muffin tin. Perfectly normal Hannukah presents for a 19 year old, right?
    I love the onesie and I really want one. I tried to buy a onesie for my friend for her birthday in April but when I went to the store they told me that onesies weren’t in season. Can you believe that? Onesies don’t have a season! They are fashionable all year round, I think!

  8. I love your Pink jacket. SO SNAZZY. My favorite gift was a pink northface, along with the many giftcards I received which always make me feel less guilty when I go shopping! The best part of the food spread was all of the dessert I ate. So gross, Melissa.

    I did manage to run on Christmas Eve, Christmas and yesterday I did an 11 mile race… so hopefully I burned off some of the frosting :o)

  9. Looks like you had a blast! I hate gift unwrapping anxiety, mostly because people buy me the strangest things. I had fun, but I swear one year I’m going to have to go on a trip during the holidays so I don’t have to try and fit in every single section of my family!

  10. Glad to see you had such an awesome holiday with the family! Way to get your sweat on during the holiday as well with your runs. I’m jealous of the light dusting of snow. I live in Michigan and we had a very green Christmas this year…

    My favorite gift received was a gift card towards a TRX suspension trainer 🙂 My favorite gift given was a secret elf gift to someone that needed a new pair of running shoes. Enjoy the rest of your travels 🙂

  11. Oh my gosh I was cracking up this entire post!! It looks like y’all had an amazing Christmas. My favorite thing I ate had to be peanut butter fudge or honey butter butternut squash! My favorite present was my new iPod. No more stymying on my long runs! Have a safe trip home!

  12. I would love to know where the llama shirt came from, because that is absolutely something I would rock the hell out of. Please advise! Or have Brian advise. I need one.

    Also, your family is adorable.

  13. Sounds like such an awesome Christmas!!! Glad you had a great time with family! I got a canon rebel DSLR camera for my favorite gift. I gave my family gifts as well, and definitely set an eating record ;D haha

  14. Merry Christmas Ali! It sounds like you had a really fantastic time celebrating with your family, and I’m sure you will be a fantastic aunt when bump finally arrives:)

  15. You’re so lucky to have snow! I did NOT have snow, in Manchester CT OR Rochester NY! I DID travel Christmas morning after an insane Christmas Eve. We did NOT go overboard, although I found a coupon for the Banana Republic outlets which are conveniently on our drive home tomorrow….when do OUTLETS put out coupons!? Merry Christmas to me. Enjoy your grandma she looks fabulous and fun.

  16. I cannot imagine a better way to spend the holiday. And you aren’t alone with the pink footie pajamas, except mine came with a dog on it. HA! I love it!!!!

    So we didn’t treat a stuffed aminal as part of the family but the dogs could hardly wait for Santa Paws to arrive with all their toys and goodies. Seriously, the oldest amongst them who knows the drill woke us all up well before dawn because he just HAD to see what was out there. It was priceless. Best gift? The Breville individual pie maker. I think my sister-in-law thought it would be great for making little desserts. We looked at it and immediately thought pasties…those delicious little hand pies we ate in mass quantities while in Scotland this summer. It worked PERFECTLY! Best gift given? The calendar with the best of the trip photos for my parents. Seriously, they asked for five more copies. Dorks. But I love them! I am so glad you had a wonderful holiday!

  17. Christmas was spent with a darling two year old with the most gorgeous blue eyes and blonde curly hair. She could steal your heart, I swear. I’m so happy because I’m here until New Year’s Day and get to spend so much time with her. Would say more, but it’s dinner time!

  18. Your Christmas sounds like it was wonderful! Loving your did and did nots! I don’t think I’d enjoy watching Bridesmaids with someone two generations above me, either! I hate watching most movies with that generation! It is just awk!

    Best gift received was a TRX system… or the game mousetrap! Best gift given was not given by me. My brother gave my father a meat slicer. Like.. the kind they use at the deli. It was pretty fun to watch the excitment on fathers face and the horror on my mothers face. I told my brother he’d have to pay the ER bill.

  19. I live abroad and spent Christmas on my own again the year. It actually worked out quite well that I had a 16 mile training run fall on Christmas day, so I spent 3 hours trekking around London, being a goofball and taking dodgy self-portraits with famous sites. I called it A Very Sweaty Christmas. The only downer was that my parents haven’t yet mailed me my ‘I Heart Sweat’ shirt ;D

  20. Glad your christmas was great! I wish my family had a secret cocktail. We have a secret salad dressing which is nowhere near as cool or fun. Please teach me the secret recipe of woo woo. I promise to give credit where credit is due! (rhyme? )

  21. Best gift received – from myself, marathon registration as suggested by you (best breakup rebound is getting new boyfriends also known as my puppy and running races). And then I drank a lot. And have no desire to go back to Boston shortly….who needs to work when you can spend ays drinking, eating, and cuddling with puppies, anyway?

  22. That bunny suit is awesome! My husband kept joking about getting me a forever lazy… and I was kind of hoping that he would. I think I nailed the gift giving this year… I loved everyone’s reactions when they opened their gifts. Christmas was awesome this year 🙂

  23. I am so jealous of your onesie! I did get my first snuggie ever through. Im behind the times here, but baby steps. How did you manage to get your runs in? Now thats hardcore! Between everything I needed to do and my mother needed help with things, I never even thought about busting out the shorts and leg-warmers… well i don’t have leg-warmers (yet!), but you know. I could have squeezed in a run too, and didn’t. Total bust on my part. What do you tell yourself to stay on course? Im glad you had such a fun holiday! I might have to add the hot chocolate from a snowman mug to my repertoire.

  24. My best gift given was taking my mom to see The Nutcracker. It’s a tradition. She alwalys took me growing up and now I take her. I ate A LOT too, so I can’t say what one thing was my favorite because I’m still in a food coma. My three mile run this morning was a rough one after lots of wine last night.

  25. I love your onesie. You look just great in it! I also had the stocking that overflowed. Mine overflowed into a plastic bag. We are classy here too. But I don’t mind because I had a lot of great stocking presents! And many many great swim things from your friend Emily to help me get ready for my first triathlon.

  26. We stopped doing gifts (we’re like scrooges or something), but sometimes we do small things. A few years back, my mom got me towels with tassels on them and monogrammed them “Fancy Guest” as I would always tell her to get the “Fancy Guest” towels out when I came home (reference to “Friends”). I was elated.

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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