Five Things Friday Vol. 83

We flew down to SoCal earlier today and travel was so light. We got to the airport two hours early, there was a bit of a line at TSA, but everything else was a breeze. I was really surprised. Our Southwest flight was not even full. I didn’t expect that on a Friday, two days before Christmas, but I’m obviously not complaining.

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While we were waiting at the airport, I had my first Chocolate Peppermint Mocha. I think Stephany (HI STEPHANY!) recently talked about peppermint mochas and can you believe I never had one? I’m usually a “plain-flavors” girl and not very interested in super-sweet holiday concoctions, but I love chocolate and peppermint, so I had to give this a try. I customized my drink (I skipped the whipped cream and asked for only one pump of mocha sauce and peppermint syrup because I don’t like it very sweet) and it was delicious. I would order it again!

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I am a little late posting this – and I contemplated waiting until I do the round-up – but I received my Secret SANta package from Sarah (HI SARAH!) a couple of weeks ago. Apple and cinnamon are two of my favorite smells and I am usually not a lip balm person, which is to say I don’t carry one around every minute of every day, but I am excited about this one because Sarah says it’s one of her favorite things! Thank you, thank you for participating in the swap and gifting me such a sweet surprise package! I love it!

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I have to be honest and confess that I did something this week that I usually NEVER do: I opened a couple of Christmas packages early. I couldn’t take the Christmas packages to my mother-in-law’s house but also didn’t want to wait to open them until I return home. So I made a huge exception. I usually never open presents before my birthday or before Christmas. I received some pretty damn awesome Peloton apparel from Tanja (THANK YOU AGAIN!!!) and an embroidered pouch and reverse coloring book from another dear friend. She took a hint from my Amazon wishlist (does anybody else still use them?) and I think it’s such a good way to help people find a gift for you that you will appreciate. I am stoked about the reverse coloring book – so cool! Have you heard of them? It’s perfect if you’re a “doodler”, which I am. Reverse coloring books have unfinished watercolors where you can trace the shapes, draw in figures, doodle, shade, or cover areas with patterns while letting your mind drift and calm down. I am super-excited to try it.

Two more packages didn’t have a gift message or any indication of who sent them, so I still have to figure that out. (Pro tip from a seasoned online gift giver: add an extra line to the recipient’s address, so that they know that the package is from you, e.g. I put “(FROM SAN!) in the line between the recipient’s name and street address.) Anyway, it was a lovely early Christmas for me and I am so thankful for the thoughtful gifts!

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I had my last office day of the year yesterday and I got to talk to my Palestinian coworker and it was good to check in with him. I think he appreciated that I asked how he was doing and about his family in Gaza. He mentioned that some people avoid the topic altogether, which I guess is because it’s not a comfortable topic, but NOT talking about it doesn’t feel like an option for me. Yes, it is awkward and uncomfortable but how can you ignore talking about it when it affects someone in such a personal way? How can you ignore another person’s anguish during the holidays?

Hug a loved one if you can, if only virtually. HAPPY HOLIDAYS, FRIENDS.

  1. Happy Holidays to you.
    I can understand your reasoning of the Christmas presents but UHHHH. I am not sure I could do it. Ah well, I guess I would. I did open the secret Santas.
    I hie never had peppermint mocha myself. But maybe I will give it a try when I next walk by that coffee shop. Maybe after a trade fair treat in January. If I can eat sugar after the holidays.

    I still use Amazon wish lists. I have a ton for all sorts of topics. Unfortunately none of the people I need to shop for have one. Sigh.

  2. I bet your coworker is so glad you are talking to him and asking him about it. It seems like it would hurt more to have people pretend it’s not going on :(
    I still have an Amazon wishlist and have a wishlist on a spreadsheet we give to Steven’s family too! Everyone buys what they want – no harm in leading people in the right direction!

  3. Your poor coworker. I am glad you were able to talk to him and let him know you are thinking about him and his loss. As a society, we are not great about dealing with difficult losses like this. I have friends that lost babies and I know they have felt their loss is not acknowledged or that people kind of avoid them because they don’t know what to say. Which is just an awful way to handle a sad situation. :(

    I think it makes sense to open some gifts ahead of time since you are traveling for the holiday season!!

  4. That candle sounds like such a lovely scent <3
    Christmas is such a hard time of year for so many and I feel like every holiday season just brings fresh waves of grief? There is so much happening in the world and then within our own personal little bubbles. I think we have to acknowledge and help shoulder that grief, but also honour what people lose by celebrating and appreciating what we have, but it's an impossible balance to strike "right" every time.

    Sending lots of holiday love. (We took someone to the airport yesterday and it wasn't busy at all? What?? I found this shocking!)

  5. Love your Secret SANta gift!

    And it makes sense to me that you would open presents early, since you are traveling. Plus, it extends the fun a bit!

  6. Oh, we open presents early if we travel. I think you should cut yourself some slack about that!
    I have a colleague who has a policy to never ask about personal questions to other colleagues. It’s a whole thing about how if something is bad (death, divorce, etc.) it would be awkward to bring it up. I think it’s awkward to NOT bring it up, though!

  7. Oh I’m so glad you tried a peppermint mocha! It’s also my favourite festive drink – I like it with one pump each too. Yum!! And it’s amazing your flight was so empty also. Two wins!

    Adding “from san” to the address line in parcels is brilliant. I’ve both sent and received mystery parcels before and I will always do this going
    Forward. That is a professional living abroad life tip there!! Thank you!

  8. I think I would have opened the presents too. I’m glad your travel went smoothly and I hope you’re having a good time away.

  9. I’m glad you made it TO Southern CA without difficulty, and I hope it helped to be with Jon’s mom for the holidays. (This is the first without his dad, right?)
    And, oh, what a lovely coworker you are, to ask about your coworker’s family. You are good people, as my mom would say (but then again, we knew that :>).

  10. I’m very tardy, but I’m interested in what you’ve been up to – so I’m backing up a bit to check in. We drove past O’Hare on the way to my BIL’s house on the 23rd and there were cars lines up for miles and miles to get to the airport. Eek. I’m glad your travel day was less busy.

    I’m laughing at you opening gifts a few days early. I think it made sense this year.

    I have never heard or a reverse coloring book and I must get one for Mini. She is a serious doodler. I do not use an Amazon wish list.

  11. I’m glad to hear that your holiday travels were relatively stress-free (at least on the outbound!). It sounds like you received several very thoughtful gifts from people who love you; I love that! I still use my Amazon wishlist for myself, though I never think about sharing it with others.

    I know your co-worker must appreciate you asking and caring so very much. Humans are humans, full stop. I wish more people understood that.

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