Homelessness and the Holidays: Five Things To Keep In Mind This Giving Season

we-make-a-livingBecause I work in social services, it’s not uncommon for me to be asked by a friend or family member what the best way is to help someone who is homeless, especially during the holidays. I love this questions for a myriad of reasons, because it usually results in meaningful discussions, but mostly it reminds me that people are, at their core, good. Continue reading

Chicago Christmas Traditions: The Christkindlmarket & Hot Chocolate at the Walnut Room

Christkindlmarket Chicago

Since we are finally seeing some dry weather in Chicago, the hubby and I hopped on the train and headed downtown this afternoon for one of our favorite holiday traditions: exploring the Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza.

Chicago's infamous Picasso sculpture serves as the centerpiece for the festivities.
Chicago’s infamous Picasso sculpture serves as the centerpiece for the festivities.

In case you didn’t know, Chicago’s German roots run deep, and this annual outdoor market, which takes after the one in Nuremberg, has been getting Chicagoans into the Christmas spirit for nearly twenty years. If you are looking for some unique holiday gifts, this is definitely the place to visit! Each of the little shops offers something different, from hand-painted ornaments and nutcrackers, to candied nuts and knit scarves. My favorite booth this year was Dom itp, which displayed dozens of glass-blown replicas of some of Chicago’s most famous landmarks.
Christkindlmarket Chicago

This little girl and I were both having fun making some of the ornaments dance. How cute is she?!
This little girl and I were both having fun making some of the ornaments dance. How cute is she?!

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Top Ten Favorite Christmas Movies

Now that Thanksgiving is officially over and we’re all enjoying our turkey sandwiches, I feel like I can come out in the open with my holiday cheer. I am, to put it mildly, a Christmas fanatic. I love the lights, the shopping, the music and every tacky, tinsel covered tree. Every year I have a bucket list of festivities that I force my friends and family to endure with me, and I am unashamed to admit that I’ve been listening to the Rat Pack croon carols since before the Halloween candy was even gone. If you are not one to embrace the spirit of the season, no judgement, but this blog just might not be the place for you until after the new year.

One of my favorite parts of the Christmas season is the movies. Nothing beats snuggling up under a blanket with some peppermint tea and a holiday classic. Here is a list of a few of my favorites, in no particular order.

Nightmare Before Christmas
You have to appreciate a movie that can effectively, and efficiently, appeal to two holidays simultaneously, while also delivering an infectiously catchy soundtrack.
nightmare before christmas

A Christmas Story

The 50’s nostalgia, the leg lamp, the horrible, pink nightmare bunny suit, and one infamous line on repeat: “You’ll shoot your eye out.”
a christmas storyi-cant-put-my-arms-down Continue reading

Christmas Movies That Aren’t Really Christmas Movies

Because they deserve a post all their own, here is a list of movies that aren’t really Christmas flicks, but thanks to a three-minute scene where the cast sings ‘O Holy Night’ and decorates a Christmas tree or something, I can justify binge watching for the month of December.

When Harry Met Sally
There’s a total of about two holiday scenes in this entire movie, but somehow they are just enough to make me want to snuggle in a watch it on repeat every Christmas season.

Christmas Movies
And thank you, Meg Ryan, for making it okay for the rest of us to ugly cry.
meg ryan

While You Were Sleeping

I loved this movie when I was little, mostly because of my huge, Independence Day related crush on Bill Pullman (#judgementFreeZone). Now that I live in Chicago, I love watching my adopted city depicted on any big screen (especially at the holidays).
while you were sleeping Continue reading