Christmas time

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It is now the crazy “what time is it, what day is it, and what should I be doing” part of the year in between Christmas and New Years.

I did not have any expectations because Christmas has been a rough time for me the past few years, but now that I can look back on the whole month, we really did have a nice holiday season.

We fully decorated the apartment for the first time in two years, tree and all. We did decorate the first year we lived in Texas, but without a Christmas tree, it did not feel complete. This lead me to not want to decorate at all the second year. This year, with a bigger apartment, with a fireplace mantel and room for a tree, we went all out.

We have always had a mismatched assortment of decorations, but I am slowly gathering up things that have a similar theme. We both like the country old fashioned Christmas theme, which was most apparent if you looked at our fireplace the last six weeks.

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And for good measure, here is another picture of our one cat enjoying the fire. We have had plenty of fires this season so far. This winter has been chilly for Houston’s standards. There have been lots of cloudy and rainy days that have been made brighter and happier with a fire.

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Here is a picture of our tree. We were used to buying grand nine or ten foot tall trees that would take up a lot of space in our empty dining room. I was concerned that buying a five footer would look puny, but it really was a nice tree!

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Here are pictures of some of our other decor.

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There was also a lot of nice times with my coworkers. December 4th is National Cookie Day, and someone generously baked a batch of sugar cookies and brought in lots of icing and sprinkles. Anyone who wanted to could decorate their own cookies.

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I also baked my own sugar cookies and brought them in to work to share. It seemed like for two weeks straight, someone was bringing in some sort of sweets to share. Candy, cookies, etc. I am now trying to eat more vegetables!

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The Chronicle’s holiday party was also fun too. It was casino themed, which I was originally not thrilled about, but we did have fun. Derek got lucky playing roulette. Too bad it wasn’t real money! Here is a photo of us at the photo booth.

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All of the workers on the third floor also coordinated a holiday lunch. Everyone brought something. It was delicious. There were so many leftovers that we were able to eat it all a second time too.

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Merry Christmas! Happy holidays!

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The Galleria

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The Galleria is an upscale shopping mall in Houston. Originally I had figured that I wouldn’t ever have a need to go inside. My wallet would cry just being in the vicinity!

But, when I was looking for things to do over Derek’s winter break, I saw that there was a huge Christmas tree in the middle of an ice skating rink (!!) in the Galleria. Well, if anything, it would be a good photo op.

However, the more that I looked into the Galleria, I realized that, while there are mostly high end shops, there are also plenty of stores for us poorer folks too!

We ended up going to familiar stores such as Hot Topic, Game Stop, Disney Store and Aeropostale. We also stopped at Nestle’s to get cookies to go (snickerdoodle), and a macaroon stand. I got mint chocolate and almond. Yum!

The mall is definitely huge. In fact, it is the largest mall in Texas! Although I must point out that the mall by my Grandma’s house in NJ is bigger! I guess not everything is bigger in Texas…

We kept getting lost trying to find our way to specific stores. Thank goodness for the directories! Funny, there was always a line to use them! At least we weren’t the only ones walking in circles.

I enjoyed coming here. I may come again during a day off when Derek is back in school just to kill a couple of hours and get some exercise.

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A Christmas tree in a small apartment

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When we first moved into this apartment, I knew right away that there would be no room for a Christmas tree anywhere. But seeing as we moved in August, I pushed that thought out of my mind for a while.

But then November rolled around, and I had to think and get creative. I knew I wanted a “tree” no ifs, ands or buts. I googled, “Christmas tree for small spaces” and my dilemma was answered.

Thankfully there were plenty of people before me who had the same problem, and came up with a wall Christmas tree. There are many different varieties, but I went with garland.

It was a little bit trial and error to get the trees (I did two!) to stay up on the wall, but I am happy with the results!

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