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The Christmas season is upon us once again. Another year has passed us by, & so much has both happened & not happened. I am all at once excited & anxious for the next year to come. Hopefully things will be different in the new year.

I have said this quite a few times in my blog, but I will repeat myself once again. I love Christmas. I love spending time with my close friends & family, sharing good food with plenty of delicious drinks to keep our cheeks flushed until the new year. I also love dressing up the house with festive decorations & really making our yearly Christmas tree the main centerpiece.

Each year we put up less decorations than the previous one. It’s mostly because there’s only three people living in our house now, & we’re all so busy that we each don’t have time to pull out the decorations from storage, put them up, then store them away again. Plus, the three of us are all equally lazy people & just don’t want to bother, but justify our actions by saying we want to have a minimalist vibe for the holidays.

One thing’s for sure is that we will always have a Christmas tree extravaganza, per my dad’s annual tradition. Every year when I put up our faux Christmas tree & I start decorating it, I get a little melancholy reminiscing over holiday memories with my dad. More & more I wish he could still be with us to bring the family together. It’s feeling more\ like since he’s no longer with us, my family has become more deeply divided over the recent years. However, I’m not going to open that can of worms today. Besides, that part is not my story to reveal anyway.

Then again, regardless of whichever pot’s being stirred up, or whatever’s going on behind the scenes, I am still very much excited for the holiday festivities. This year, along with celebrating Christmas, my entire family (including aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, siblings) will be celebrating our grand uncle’s 90th birthday. This uncle is the foremost patriarch of our family, the glue that holds all of us together, & also unfortunately, the last remaining family member of his generation.

It’s been a long time, practically forever, since my entire family has all gathered together in Northern California. I’m extremely excited to be celebrating with all of them, & kind of excited to show off my most beloved & gloriously decorated Christmas tree. I can’t wait for the festivities to begin (which will be just a few short days away), but until then, here is just a little taste of my household’s holiday decorations:

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I love my Starbucks advent tree. I fill it each year with chocolate coins. My nephew & niece love discovering all of the chocolates inside.

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Per our American traditions, we put a festive wreath on our front door that lights up with LED lights. The Asian part of us has us scratching our heads as to why Americans put up decorations that represent funerals during a happy occasion?

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I got this pop-up Christmas card many years ago when I was in Japan. I never use it as a card. Instead I use it as simple decoration for our fireplace mantle. It’s also a nod to my nephew who loved Santa Claus when he was younger.

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I bought this laser cut village scene at Crate & Barrel, but it looked too plain just being bare wood. So I ended up bling-ing it out with plastic rhinestones from the craft store for some added color.

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This laser cut ‘NOEL’ sign was part of a Christmas card set I bought while I was in Japan. I also just use this mainly for decorating purposes. It’s not too big or small to fit right on the table next to our second front door.

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This year is the first year ever that we put up string lights on the front facade of our house. With our awkward Eichler home roofline & sloping driveway, plus our rickety ladder, it was a real b*tch to string up.

HERE IS THE PIÈCE DE RÉSISTANCE!!! THE TREE………

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I still continue to add new ornaments to the tree every year. However, each year I have to decide which ornaments of Christmas past have to stay in storage for one more holiday in order to keep the tree looking balanced & not overcrowded.

Well, that’s all I have to say about that. This is the end of my post, & I am now off to prepare for the onslaught of guests & holiday parties. Until the next post, Happy Holidays everyone!

Today’s song of the day:

 

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I love Christmastime. It’s one of my favorite times of the whole year. Christmas reminds me so much of my late father. He truly loved Christmas, making our house look festive & cheerful, & having friends & family gather around to celebrate together. Christmas was my dad’s most favorite time of year to get our whole family together: grandparents, parents, brothers & sisters, cousins, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, even in-laws. My dad loved having a house overflowing with happy people celebrating & sharing in the joys of family togetherness. Plus, my dad loved spoiling his loved ones with plenty of food, drinks, & gifts for all the little kiddos scampering around the house. That’s probably where I developed my love of giving to others & taking care of others…learning from my dad’s selfless generosity.

Each year at Christmastime, my dad loved having the house decorated, looking colorful & festive. My mom loved it too, but she always dreaded having to put away all of the decorations after the holidays were over. (Who doesn’t dread the massive holiday clean-up?) I also loved decorating the house for Christmas, but my all-time favorite was decorating the Christmas tree. The tree was always the main attraction at our house, & it still is, which brings me to the next topic in my 99 Things That Bring Me Joy journal.

One of my favorite childhood holiday memories was when I was in my teenage years, & my dad would make a big fuss over decorating the house for Christmas. He would load up our family (usually myself, my mom, my dad, & whichever cousin was boarding at our house at that given time) into his minivan, & we would drive to the wholesale flower market in San Francisco. Back then you didn’t need a wholesaler’s/decorator’s license to shop there (unless you wanted to get a discount on bulk items).  There were a few decorating supply warehouses that would be packed to the gills with every Christmas decoration & novelty item you could possibly think of.

My dad loved taking us to these shops during the holidays, so we could all pick out new ornaments for our tree & decorations to liven the house. There were a couple of Christmas holidays where we would buy entirely new sets of tree ornaments to create a different theme/color-scheme each year. One time we decorated the whole tree in plastic, metallic musical instruments (i.e. trumpets, saxophones, drums, guitars, etc.) & music notes. My cousin & I had a fun time decorating the tree in all of these wacky ornaments. The next year, my mom chose the theme of our Christmas tree, & she decorated the tree in a pastel Victorian theme with lots of ribbons/bows, angels, plastic violins & harps, along with papier mâché hearts.

Picking out tree ornaments was a big deal in our household. However, over the years, we stopped shopping for plastic ornaments at the wholesale flower market. We now prefer to pick & choose ornaments that are more durable/long-lasting, a higher quality, & have thoughtfulness & meaning. My parents are the super “bougie” kind of shoppers, & will only buy Christmas decorations (mainly tree ornaments & decorative candles) at places like BloomingdalesCrate and Barrel &/or William-Sonoma. As for myself, if I see a holiday tree ornament that I like, I will spend an unnecessary amount of time, pacing back & forth mulling over whether or not I will get it. Then, after a lot of complaining from Jian, & a lot more internal back-&-forth thoughts in my mind, I will end up buying said ornament.

I’m not quite sure exactly how many Christmas tree ornaments we actually have. I haven’t counted them all, but I can safely estimate that we have a crap load amount. I had to buy three jumbo sized ornament storage containers from The Container Store, & with my super amazing organization & compartmentalization skills, I’m pretty sure I’ve been able to fill each box with triple its designated capacity. Organizing & compartmentalizing (to the point where I often forget where I’ve stored things) is probably my biggest & proudest skill to date.

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an example of the storage containers we use for Christmas decorations

Since my dad’s passing, I’ve taken it upon myself to head up the Christmas decorating department. My dad always loved to shop for Christmas gifts & decorations around this big holiday season, & I suppose this trait has very much rubbed off onto me. I also love to give gifts & shop for Christmas decorations…mainly tree ornaments. It is a fun tradition that keeps me forever linked to the memory of my dad during the most festive & cheerful time of the year.

Oh, & just a little side note… our Christmas tree is fake. Yes, it’s a plastic fantastic (& metal) contraption that we have to make a big to-do about each year, but we love it nonetheless. It’s always a pain to set-up & take down our tree, but it’s just one way we’re doing our part as a family to conserve environmentally. Well, to be honest, we mainly decided to switch to a faux tree because my dad & I are both severely allergic to pine trees (especially freshly cut ones with tree sap & pine needles aplenty). My dad hated having to put the tree on a tree stand, which always made the tree crooked no matter how much adjusting we did, & that annoyed my mom, who liked everything in our home to look Architectural Digest Magazine-ready at all times, especially during the holidays when we hosted many parties. As for me, I hated always being delegated to keep the water tray on the tree stand full, which was an extremely difficult task for a child who was prone to spilling things & inadvertently making messes everywhere. Let’s just end this part by saying I got more water outside of the tray than inside, & that got me in trouble with my mom more often than not.

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our now famous Xmas tree

I love keeping my dad’s tradition alive every year by adding something new to our overly-decorated Christmas tree. Both my mom AND Jian think I go overboard on decorating our tree each year, but I think it’s quite lovely & definitely necessary. Our annual Christmas tree is an absolute statement piece whenever someone  new walks into our home, or during the time when we host our annual Christmas party extravaganza. Yes, it’s a huge pain in the ass to carefully pack away all of the decorations at the end of the year, but it is all worthwhile as long as I get to keep my dad’s memory & tradition going for all of the family to enjoy together. We’ll just have to wait & see how our tree will be decorated this year. Until next time, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

Christmas banner 2017

Today’s song of the day:

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