Christmas – A celebration of traditions

Technically I’m Jewish so growing up I never celebrated Christmas. At the core, I don’t follow organized religion, but I think everyone is allowed to have faith in whatever they want. However, for the past decade or so, maybe even longer, I’ve celebrated the holiday either with Tony’s family (4 years) or one of my amazing friend’s families who take me into their own for the day. I’ve always had fond memories of the holiday because for one there is never any school or work on Christmas. Also, I there’s presents and the surprise of giving and receiving. And most of all the food is awesome. Every family that I visited does Christmas a little different and I have never been disappointed. I love Christmas food! I’m partial on Thanksgiving (not a big turkey fan) but Christmas food no matter what people cook is always delicious!

Regret nothing

And don’t worry, I still celebrate Hanukkah, but that was a while ago and I was on vacation so I missed it this year. Although sweets and latkas can be eaten daily if you ask me.

On Christmas Eve, Tony and I spent it with his nephews and family. They all wear PJs and of course I had to bring my own. There was lots of great food and of course I was too busy eating to take photos. I also don’t really post photos of other people, unless I know they’re okay with being put on the blog, so lots of photos of me you’ll get instead!

Pjs and cats

The cats were definitely plotting something against me on Christmas Eve after this photo shoot.

Coffe

We started Christmas day with a nice blend of Coffee from Tony’s nephew and wife in our new Le Creuset mugs we got for ourselves when we visited the outlet last week. Visiting the Le Creuset store made me want to get rid of all our kitchen items and transfer our house into a beautiful red stoneware and cast iron heaven. But I decided I should not break my piggy bank yet. I do have the Dutch oven thanks to Tony’s parents and I love love it.

Table

While drinking up my coffee, I set the table. Tony’s mom does all the cooking, but we host so lay out, drinks and other easy tasks we take care of.

And then it was time for what I do best:

Christmas Run

It was 16 degrees outside and no one else would bear the cold but I loved it. I ended up running on a lot of roads since the sidewalks are frozen in parts and it can get exhausting hopping and sliding around. The sun was shining and the streets were empty. It was peaceful and a nice way to sink in a few quiet moments to myself before filling up my belly with food and laughs.

Christmas Meal

Tony’s mom serves up amazing food. We started with Italian soup, followed by home made manicotti, and then the finale beef bourguignon (I dare you to try to say that 5 times).

Jack Sleeping

While everyone ate, Jack took a little nap on the couch next to us all. Our other cat Oliver was hiding.

Cat Gifts

Tony’s mom cooked some of the meats (no spices) for the cats as well, so they had a mini feast of their own all week.

Liana and Jack

The star of the night was of course Jack.

My favorite elf. We opened up some great gifts. Things for the house we really needed. Other highlights include a road ID my brother got for both me and Tony. And an amazing weekend in Vermont, including the Vermont City Marathon from Tony!

Family Photo Tony, me, his parents, sister, my brother and father

Dad and Oliver

And just like that, before I knew it, the day was over and I found my dad and our other cat Oliver, that’s always hiding upstairs and never ever comes downstairs, napping with my dad! Maybe they’re kindred spirits?

Cat Cuddle

So of course, after everyone left, and was sleeping, I cuddled with the cats as well, my first and only time I got Oliver onto the first floor. He’s very skittish!

 

Do you celebrate Christmas either with friends or family?

What’s your favorite gift that you gave or received? I gave Tony a soda stream and I’m excited cause I’ll get to use it too =).

20 Under $20 Gift Ideas For Your Favorite Runner

I’ve been participating in a ton of Yankee swaps and secret Santas, where the usual budget is $15-$20 or so. So while I would love to get everyone a Garmin 910XT, if I’m too cheap to buy one for myself, it’s probably unlikely that everyone else will get the the $400 toy I covet.

For my ease, I’m using amazon because that’s where I shop and I have free 2 day shipping, but your local store would have it in stock as well and supporting local shops is always best. The only benefit of shopping on amazon besides convenience and usually lower prices, is if you need size small or XS in accessories, local running stores, or even the big box stores, never carry them even in a fit city like Boston. So local running stores, I love you, but sometimes a gal needs XS socks, mmkay!

Anyways the list

20 under 20 gifts

20 Under $20 Gift Ideas for your Running Friends (All prices rounded to the dollar)

Lock Laces $8 – Not gonna lie, there’s a slight learning curve with these (at least for me) but you’ll never have to worry about stopping to tie your laces again!

The Complete Runner’s Day By day Log/2014 Calender $10

Runner’s Ornament $18

Christmas_Ornaments_Red

Runner’s World Cookbook $11 Kindle, $16 Hardcover

Asics Intensity Low Cut Running Socks $9 for 3 pairs

Foot Rubz Surefoot Foot Rubz Massage Ball $6-$10

Running Gloves or these $15-$20 – I found these on Amazon, but the pair I have is from Costco for $15 bucks or so. I like them because I can use them with my cell phone; however, if the weather dips into the negatives and windy, I tend to double them up with ski gloves and give up running and tweeting at the same time.

 Arm Warmers $17 – I love these, although it might be months, because I can run in these again. If you sprint up the budget to $30, these are ultra cute and come with my favorite thing in the world, thumb-holes!

Running Hat $16

Balaclava $7

And for those moments when a hat just isn’t enough because yes my friends it’s just that cold, but I got miles to run. FYI, if you’re a dude you might want to look for a bigger one, this one fits me so it probably runs small

FuelBelt Handheld Waterbottle $15

Hammer Gels $17 12 pack, $1.50 individual

Kind Bars $17 12 pack, $1.50 individual

Honey Stingers 12 Pack $21, $2 individual

Salts Tabs $20

Nuun Hydrating Tabs $18 for a box of 4 tubes, or $5-6 per tube individual

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter $20 – More for the hiker/crazy trail runner

Book – Triathlon for the Every Woman: You Can Be a Triathlete. Yes. You $15

Book – Marathon Woman $12

Book Swim Speed Secrets: Master the Freestyle Technique Used by the World’s Fastest Swimmers $14

What are you hoping to find in your stocking or tree? I’m hoping for the books, I have all the other stuff, but I could use some triathlon reading 😉