Holiday Top 10


Although I’m always a bit sad for summer to end, there is a certain excitement with the change of the season. It seems like right after Halloween, we jump into full holiday swing with a flurry of events and activities that keep us hustling and bustling into the New Year. Busy is the normal pace in our family, but the holidays, in particular, brings us to a whole other level of crazy.

A good crazy.

A fun crazy.

An overloading-of-excitement-that-will-make-your-head-spin crazy.

What I love most about the season is indulging in the all the holiday specific activities. You know, the things we can’t or tend to neglect during the other ten months of the year. Here is HotMama’s Holiday Top 10.

Holiday Top 10

Getting Together with Family:

I am extremely family orientated and love spending time with loved ones, which is why I usually travel with such a large posse. Life is hectic and it is easy to let too much time pass in between get-togethers, but around the holidays everyone makes it a priority to gather. I see more family in one month than I do all year with 6 out of our 8 holiday parties being with family and I love every chaotic minute. My kids love being a part of a big family and when Halloween was over Firecracker clasped her chunky hands together and exclaimed, “Now it is time for Christmas! We get to see our whole family!” I loved that family came before presents! A full heart is better than a clutter home!

Our first family party of the season, Thanksgiving!

Our first family party of the season, Thanksgiving!

The Big Hall Family Christmas is next

The Big Hall Family Christmas is next

Grandma Coni's intimate Christmas dinner

Grandma Coni’s intimate Christmas dinner

Christmas Eve at Great-Grand Rosemary's

Christmas Eve at Great-Grand Rosemary’s

Christmas Day with usual crew

Christmas Day with usual crew

Christmas with more Keeleys

Christmas with more Keeleys

Holiday Parties:

This season always puts everyone in the spirit, the party spirit that is! Everyone is throwing some kind of bash, even work becomes more fun thanks to holiday parties. I have a close circle of friends, multiple jobs and an enormous family. Therefore, I have multiple parties to attend! I just dust off my collection of fashionable Santa hats and get ready to get my holiday cheer on!

Our first party of the season with our best friends

Our first party of the season with our best friends

Saratoga Ladies Christmas Party

Saratoga Ladies Christmas Party

Rosine's Christmas Party

Rosine’s Christmas Party

Cigar & Spirit Magazine Toast 4 Toys

Cigar & Spirit Magazine Toast 4 Toys

Meeting Santa! Again and Again:

There is only one time of year where Santa can be spotted virtually everywhere and that time is now. My kids love the man in red and Cuddle Bear loves the free candy canes. We are out and about all season long, paying a visit to Santa everywhere we go. Malls, parks, hotels, theme parks, you name it! If Santa is there we say hello. Don’t forget the photo! I love displaying the many different Santa photo ops all over house as part of my Christmas décor. Say Cheese!

Santa, Santa, everywhere

Santa, Santa, everywhere

Theme Parks:

We live in Southern California, so we have a number of theme parks at our disposal. I have a pass to most of them and frequently visit them throughout the year. I love visiting the parks during the holidays, because the décor is so festive and they usually have special seasonal activities that they don’t offer the rest of the year. Here are some of my favorites:

Disneyland

FIESTASeaWorld

Seaworld ChristmasKnotts

Knott's Merry FarmChristmas Lights:

Christmas lights make everything more beautiful and honestly, I don’t know why we don’t have them up all year long! I can’t enough of Christmas light displays and I just want to soak them all in before they disappear for another year.

Most places have local neighborhoods that go all out for Christmas which make for a perfect night of light gazing. We love this particular community on the lake, because they put on their own Christmas boat parade. It is a beautiful event that really brings the community together.

East Lake's Christmas Boat Parade

East Lake’s Christmas Boat Parade

Regional Parks usually have some sort of Christmas display and we try to visit ours every year. Our park has carnival games, an ice themed hay maze, breathtaking lights and a Christmas train that takes you through the enchanted forest to Santa!

Irvine Regional Park

Irvine Regional Park

Holiday Grub:

Let’s face it; we just don’t eat like we do around the holidays. Okay, so we may pack on an extra layer for the winter, but it’s worth it and what else are New Year’s Resolutions for? Eat, drink and be merry people!!!

Holiday Food

Cooking Christmas Treats

Cooking Christmas Treats

Snow (even if man-made):

We live in state that only gets snow in the mountains or is man-made at various locations, so if we want to play in the snow we have to drive to it. We may live in a warm climate, but what is Christmas without a little snow? Firecracker and Cuddle Bear love the snow, as most children do, so we always try to incorporate it into our holiday activities.

 

SnowWorld at SeaWorld

SnowWorld at SeaWorld

SNOWHoliday Trips:

During the season Sis, Grams and I collaborate to come up with a Christmas Adventure. Usually taking place any time between Thanksgiving and the first weekend of December, we take the family on a holiday themed travel. It has to have something special that screams “Christmas Time!” To afford a trip for the holidays we only buy presents for the kids, leaving some extra moo-la for travel. It really kick-starts the excitement of the season!

Polar Express

Polar Express

Polar Express

Thanksgiving in Big Bear

Thanksgiving in Big Bear

Thanksgiving in Big Bear

Apple Farm Inn

IMG_4096Christmas Cards:

I’ve always loved receiving Christmas cards. Some people are so creative, some are funny and some are sweet. I display all the cards I receive in my home during the holidays and even pull out old favorites as part of my décor. Once I had my kids, I took my own cards very seriously. I spent most the year thinking about the theme of my next card. (Yes, I already have next year’s planned in my head). I try to think of something that encompasses our year and what we as a family are all about. It may sound dorky, but it sure is fun.

Christmas CardPresents/Shopping/Holiday Cocktails:

Tis the season to spend money! I am not a huge shopper most of the year, because I’m usually saving for travels. During the holidays, however, I am all about it! Although I don’t particularly like annoying crowds of people or long lines, I do love the energy. Honestly, I do most my shopping online in the middle of night, but I like hitting the malls to enjoy the Christmas décor, take part in the holiday specials and see Santa. By ordering the important stuff ahead of time online, the stress of holiday shopping is greatly reduce and affords me the opportunity to enjoy the holiday madness. There is something exhilarating about hustling around all day, before ending the day with a fun dinner, a festive cocktail or a cold beer at a crowded restaurant.

Beer Break

Christmas Chocolatetini

Christmas Chocolatetini

Plus, let’s face it. It is so fun to see the look on your loved ones’ faces when they open that perfect gift.

Santa Came

On the Nice ListHope everyone out there takes the time to enjoy the holidays! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from my family to yours!!!

Merry Christmas

2 Comments
  1. avatar image
    Anna at December 27, 2014 Reply

    Merry Christmas! I love that your kids are so happy to see family instead of just happy about presents! Also, I’m so jealous of all the light shows and of your Disneyland passes! Celebrating Christmas outside of the Western world just isn’t the same! I’m actually missing SoCal a lot during this Christmas season. 🙂

    1. avatar image
      Hot Mama at January 1, 2015 Reply

      Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I’d miss home during the holidays too, but what an amazing adventure you are on!

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