This was definitely one of the most memorable Christmases my family has ever had. I headed home on the 22nd and spent a few days catching up with old friends and spending quality time with the fam.
On the 21st, I headed to one of my law school friend’s parties in Santa Monica. The theme was “Hawaiian Christmas” so I trekked to the local Goodwill and picked up a shirt for $5 and a Santa hat at CVS (also for $5). I loved the theme – and brought Christmas and Hawaiian beer – and had fun catching up with some of my law school favs. We ended the night with a 1 am trip to Norm’s. My hamburger craving was duly satisfied.
Before I headed the the ‘burbs, my roommate Jenn surprised me with my Christmas gift. I had earlier given her a Garmin 10 (birthday + Christmas combined). She gave me this GORGEOUS dress (I have been ogling this style since Emily Maynard wore something similar on her season of The Bachelorette) and a book on eating Paleo. I have been interested in learning more about Paleo and trying to eat more cleanly. Perfect. Gift.
I headed home and went on a run, hung out with my family, etc. That evening, my mom and I headed to my good friend Angela’s parents’ home for a holiday party/post-Wedding get together. I was able to attend Angela’s wedding in September and it was so fun to catch up with her and see her parents. Her mom is QUITE the hostess – they had an amazing spread of Mexican fare and a whole table devoted to desserts (blogger FAIL – I didn’t nab a single photo of the night). Friends from high school and Angela’s family were all there, which was so nice. Angela and I were extremely close all through high school, and while we don’t get to see each other that often, I am always so amazed by how we quickly slip into conversations as if no time has passed. Such a fun night!
The next day, I spent a little bit of time at a memorial service for the Grandma of my good friends Garrett and Jeff. It was a very sweet service. Grandma Dorothy was a HUGE Dodger fan so everyone was encouraged to wear Dodger gear. One of her favorite players, Andre Ethier, sent a personalized e-mail that was read aloud which was very touching. I got to speak with Grandma Dorothy a little bit over the years and she was always incredibly sweet and funny. I will always remember that she told me I looked beautiful at my senior prom.
I was also able to catch up with my good girlfriends – the night of the 23rd featured drinks at my FAVORITE local place – Ladyface Alehouse and Brasserie – for drinks with Hayley and Whitney. Love the vibe there. and the beer. I was also able to spend a couple of hours on Christmas Eve with my friend Lauren who is now in Texas for grad school. We don’t get to see each other that often, but it is always so nice spending some time with her when she’s in town. I was also able to run with my friend Hannes – he’s a beast though and my pace was embarrassing throughout our 5-miler.
My family and I had a low-key Christmas Eve dinner of tamales (our Christmas Eve tradition), homemade rice, and a delicious salad. My brother announced he had a “Christmas Eve gift” for everyone – and he handed us all a couple of scratchers. We all thought it was a great idea – and my Dad won $20!
After he won, he goes: “I want to go to Pechanga tomorrow…Or Vegas!” He said both of these things half-jokingly…but then we thought about it…and everyone was really up for the idea of spending Christmas Day in Las Vegas! So we booked a discounted room last minute at The Palazzo and I found tickets for a show. We decided to wake up early on Christmas Day and drive to Vegas. That meant we’d open our presents on Christmas Eve! So we took a little break and did our stockings – I got a lot of great things.
In lieu of our usual cinnamon bun interlude between stockings and presents, we just took a small break. Everyone gave and received some really thoughtful gifts – I got two amazing coffee table books, a really nice wallet and Longchamp purse, and a few other fun things. My parents know me scarily well.
We enjoyed our new presents and then prepared for our last-minute decision to have a #VegasChristmas. My brother and I were SO excited. I love Las Vegas – and so does basically everyone in my family. Sure, it’s a little tacky and glitzy, but that’s the charm in it. I love Vegas for it’s ironic fun. Such a fun Christmas surprise.
We got up and were out the door by 8 am, drove to Vegas sans traffic and checked in around 1 at The Palazzo.
On our way to the hotel, I saw lots of ads for all of the DJs that will be in Vegas for NYE. After hearing about one of my friend’s recent experience onstage with Diplo this week, it was all I could do not to squeal at the thought of seeing Kaskade, Afrojack, Steve Angello, deadMau5…or basically anyone in the EDM world from the 28th to the 31st. Not a whole lot of DJs are in town for Christmas…but it was fun to have a more family-centered time in Vegas.
So while I’d have to keep the DJing to another trip, we did Vegas right. We started with a late-ish lunch at Grand Lux.
And then set off to explore the strip. My brother has a HUGE obsession with Sublime, so we trekked to the Hard Rock Hotel to check out the Sublime display there. He was in fandom heaven.
I spotted one of my favorite musicians…well, not really…but I had to take a photo with this cut-out of one of my favorite MTV personalities…DJ PAULY D!
I posted this photo to Twitter and tagged @DJPaulyD in it, just for kicks. He ended up re-tweeting it to all 4.2 million of his followers. Immediately, I’ve gotten a whole slew of random followers and tweets. The internet is so awesome – but I love that I sort of had an interaction with Pauly D. #BeatThatBeatUp #FistPumpPushUpChapstick #YAHBUDDY.
We got another set of drinks at that hotel, and then headed to the Bellagio for the fountain show. No trip to Vegas is complete without it!
We had a very nice Christmas dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s place at The Venetian, called Postrio. It was situated in the part of The Venetian designed to feel like it is in St. Mark’s Square. SUCH a fun Christmas dinner.
After dinner, we headed to the theater at The Palazzo to see Mannheim Steamroller‘s show. I’ve been a fan of Mannheim Steamroller for as long as I can remember. My mom has one of their CDs and would always used to play it for us at Christmas. I love their electro/synth-y takes on Christmas classics. It was cool to hear their versions of “Deck the Halls” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” live.
That being said, the rest of the show was lackluster at best. It felt like an extremely low-rent production. Video clips from the mid-80s, disjointed circus routines set to slow Christmas songs, and dancers and performers who seemed disinterested. The music was cool, for the most part, but the terrible production values left all of us feeling like the show was pretty bad. I’m still glad we saw a show, though, and I’ve always like Mannheim Steamroller – it just felt like I was seeing an 8th grade production.
We were all pretty exhausted so we headed to bed shortly after (my brother took my usual place as the family booze-hound and indulged in one last beer before calling it a night). We got up this morning and headed home.
I had a delightfully unique Christmas and I hope everyone out there did as well!
What’s your favorite holiday tradition?