Blogmas 2018 Day Four: Tips for Christmas Shopping

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Hello darlings!

Today I thought I’d do a bit of an advice post about one of the season’s most dreaded events: Christmas shopping. I’m the kind of person who loves buying gifts for people. I love finding the perfect present for a loved one, wrapping it up, writing the card, and placing it beneath the tree until I finally get to share it with them. But the whole process of actually buying the gifts can be extremely stressful especially if you suffer from anxiety, like me. So I thought I’d share a few of my favourite tips for making the most of the Christmas shopping experience.

1. Add a little bit of fun.

A lot of the time when we’re faced with stressful situations, it can be really easy to fall into the trap of telling ourselves it’s going to be an all around awful time. It can make a huge difference if you go into it thinking it won’t be so bad! If you’re going out to brave the pre-Christmas mall crowds, especially as it gets closer to the holidays, try to set up your trip with a few relaxing, fun things. Make a playlist of your favourite Christmas tunes and play it on the drive to the mall. Dress in layers (this is so important, malls get hot my friends). Bring a friend and grab a festive-flavoured coffee or tea that you can sip while you walk around the shops. Seriously, these might sound like such small things but they really do make a major impact on your overall stress level!!

2. Make a list.

There’s nothing worse than getting to the mall and falling into a panic because you have zero idea what you’re looking for or which shops to even go to. It makes you 100x more stressed out. Before you decide to head out, make a list of the things you’re considering for each person on your list. Even if you only have a vague idea of what you’re looking for, it will at least narrow down the shops you’ll have to go through and give you a better grasp on what you’re aiming to buy. There’s nothing worse than feeling completely overwhelmed by the chaos of the mall shoppers and the million shops with all of their displays. Make a list, put it on your phone, and look back at it whenever you’re feeling a little uneasy or lost.

3. Try online shopping.

This is my greatest Christmas shopping life-hack EVER. Online shopping has become my BFF over the last couple years, especially when my anxiety has been at it’s peak. You can basically buy anything online nowadays (thank god for that) and a lot of stores will offer online exclusive deals throughout the holiday season, like BOGO or free shipping - so definitely take advantage of that. There’s also a whole community out there of online independent shops! It’s always nice to buy from online shops (like from Etsy) because you know that the money is going to someone’s family, rather than just a corporation. Not to mention you’ll be gifting your friend or family something that is a lil more unique which is really special as well!

4. Shop on off-days.

Back to the in-store shopping… If you decide that online shopping isn’t for you or it’s not accessible, but you still hate those mall crowds, try to do your Christmas shopping on off-days, or even off-times. Shopping in the morning or afternoon on a Saturday or Sunday is going to bring you face-to-face with the roughest of shopping crowds. But if you go on a Tuesday or Wednesday night, or even on your lunch breaks throughout the week, you’ll definitely face far less intimidating crowds than on the weekend rush. You’ll have more time and space to get your creative gears going!

5. Check online for coupons or sales.

There’s no shame in getting a good deal on a gift!!! Lots of us are on tight budgets and what’s wrong in needing a little bit of help in buying our loved ones the perf gift? These days, coupons and sales are everywhere you look. If you sign-up for newsletters of stores you’re planning on shopping at, they’ll send out weekly or even daily emails full of information about how to save a few pennies. And if you’re shopping online, you can download a money-saver program like Honey or Wikibuy, which can go right on your Internet to directly save you money on purchases while you’re checking out your order.

What are your top tips for Christmas shopping?

Felicia x

To view a list of all my Blogmas posts, click here.

Blogmas 2018 Day One: The Christmas Tag

Happy first day of Blogmas!!

First things first, if you haven’t read my introductory Blogmas post, you can check that out here. It explains the whole Blogmas concept and will also stand as a constantly updated reference guide with all of the links to my Blogmas 2018 posts.

For my very first Blogmas post, I decided to start with one of my favourite Christmas-themed posts and that is the Christmas Tag! I try to do a Christmas tag every year at the start of the holiday season. I’ve done a few variations over the years, but this looks like it might just be a different one than usual so I’m going to give this a go!

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1. What’s your favourite Christmas film?

My favourite Christmas film changes pretty much daily, I can never stick to just one! I guess I’d have to say that it’s probably a tie (right now) between Love Actually and White Christmas. White Christmas for me has a lot of sentimental value as it’s mine and my mum’s go-to Christmas film to watch together, so it has to be included for sure!

2. Have you ever had a white Christmas?

I live in Ontario, Canada. Every Christmas is a white Christmas!

3. Where do you usually spend your holiday?

My holiday is split up all over the place. I spend the morning with my parents at home, opening presents and having egg sandwiches for breaky. Then I head up to my hometown to spend a few hours with my boyfriend’s family. And finally, my parents, boyfriend, and I go to Orlando for our holiday vacay! It’s a loonnggggg day.

4. What is your favourite Christmas song?

Oh my gosh, it’s like choosing between children, isn’t it?! I guess I’ll narrow it down to a few, because just one ain’t happening… “Do They Know It’s Christmas” by Band Aid, “Last Christmas” by Wham!, and “White Christmas” by Michael Buble & Shania Twain are in my constant rotation!

5. Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve?

Yes! As per a longstanding tradition, I open one gift from my parents on Christmas Eve and then I get a new pair of pjs (as do my parents). I love our pj tradition the most as it means we all get to wear brand new pjs to bed and for Christmas morning!

6. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?

By heart? Dasher, Prancer, Comet, Vixen, Rudolph… How many are there? Does it make me a fake Christmas fan if I don’t know?

7. What holiday traditions are you looking forward to most this year?

All of them… Is that a valid answer? I’m very excited for my second time seeing my town’s annual light-up night. I also cannot wait to decorate the house and trim the tree!!

8. Is your Christmas tree real or fake?

All three of our trees (yes, three) are fake. I’d love to have a real one but I’ve heard that they’re poisonous for dogs and I don’t trust my pup enough!

9. What is your all-time favourite holiday food/sweet treat?

I positively love gingerbread cookies. Just the smell of gingerbread alone is simply divine.

10. Be honest: do you like giving gifts or receiving gifts better?

This is a hard question! I mean, everyone loves getting gifts, we all know that. I especially love the excitement in other people’s faces when I’m opening up a gift they bought me. But also, I love giving gifts so much because you get to pick out something for someone you love and wrap them up and watch them open them up!

11. What’s the best Christmas gift you’ve ever received?

Oooooh, I’ll actually be writing up a post about this in the near future so I won’t spoil it just yet :)

12. What would be your dream place to visit for the holiday season?

New York City! It is my absolute dream to stand in Rockefeller Center with all the lights and that massive Christmas tree.

13. Are you a pro-present wrapper or do you fail miserably?

Fail. MISERABLY. I don’t know what it is, but I just cannot figure out how to wrap a gift nicely. Even a perfectly shaped box turns out to be a disaster.

14. Most memorable holiday moment?

Probably the first time I ever went to Disney World during the holidays.

15. When did you realize the truth about Santa?

No idea what you’re talking about… :)

16. Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Do you stick to them?

I hate the idea of making resolutions because it’s become a huge cliche where you’re obligated to stick to them or else you’re a failure. I like to set (realistic!) year-long goals instead and reflect on how I did at achieving them by the end of the year.

17. What makes the holidays so special to you?

I just love the sentiment behind the holidays. Bringing the family together, no matter what else is going on in your lives, for no other reason than just celebration and being merry together!

See you tomorrow for Blogmas Day 2!

Felicia x

To view a list of all my Blogmas posts, click here.

Introducing... Blogmas 2018

The white lights are glowing…The trees are up and decorated…The smell of gingerbread is hanging in the air…

You know what that means. It must be Christmas!!

Tomorrow is the first day of December my darlings! And with that comes the start of a very special blogging tradition that I am extremely excited to say that I will be taking part in this year: Blogmas!

For many, many years, I’ve watched bloggers and youtubers alike doing Blogmas, starting with Zoella all the way back in 2012-2013. I’ve always loved the idea of Blogmas because I feel like it’s a way to not only celebrate the holidays as a community, but also to keep the festive feeling going throughout the season. I really think that Christmas is a holiday that is best spent with other people. But as bloggers can be scattered across the country, or even the globe, it’s nice that Blogmas gives us a way to come together and celebrate as a group!

If you haven’t heard of Blogmas before, I’ll give a little bit of a rundown. Essentially, it’s a post per day for 25 days, starting December 1. The posts can be Christmas or even winter themed. Anything that makes you feel festive or will put other people in the Christmas spirit. Although it’s so much fun, it’s also a ton of work which is why I haven’t attempted it before this year. I really hope that I can make it work while also preparing for my fall finals but if it does work out, I’ll definitely try to make this a new yearly tradition!

My very first post will be posted tomorrow morning at 10am, and the others will follow the same schedule.

I cannot wait to start uploading my posts! I’ll keep an updated list of all the links to my Blogmas posts here, as a quick and easy reference guide for readers (that’s you!)

See you tomorrow :)

Felicia x

P.s. If any of you guys are taking part in Blogmas, leave your blog URLs down in the comments. I’d love to follow along your own journeys this Christmas season!

~*~ BLOGMAS POSTS ~*~

Day One - The Christmas Tag

Day Two - December Bucket List

Day Three - My Favourite Christmas Films

Day Four - Tips for Christmas Shopping

Day Five - My Favourite Disney World Holiday Traditions

Day Six - Things I Love About the Holidays

Day Seven - Christmas Playlist

Day Eight - 10 Stocking Stuffers

Day Nine - Winter Skincare Routine

Day Ten - How I Decorate For Christmas

Holiday Catch-Up

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Hello everyone! How are you all doing today? I'm currently writing to you from the comfort of my sofa in Florida, where it is drizzly and freezing outside - not the sort of weather I was hoping as my send off. I'm also feeling quite poorly, as I've got a sore throat and a wicked earache today. But since today is my last day of vacay, I thought it'd be a good opportunity to catch you all up on what I've been up to on my Christmas/New Year's break in a journal-style post.

My vacation started on Christmas Day. My family did our usual Christmas morning thing - waking up early, having egg sandwiches for breaky, then opening presents. Then we cleaned up quick and hustled on over Mississauga, where we spent an hour hanging out with some of Steven's family. It's always nice that we get to see them on Christmas, before we head off for the holidays.

Around noon-ish, we said our goodbyes and headed to Buffalo, New York to catch our flight. We normally fly out of Buffalo as it's a) cheaper and b) way easier than travelling from Pearson Airport. This year, we flew with Jet Blue which was a god sent cause they have those little tv screens on the back of the seats that play tv shows and films. I was thrilled to find out that they were playing The Santa Clause on Freeform as I hate flying (despite years of air travel experience) and it was a nice distraction for my anxiety.

When we got to Florida, we had our second part of our Christmas tradition - more prezzies and a screening of The Polar Express. A perfect ending to a wonderful Christmas.

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On Boxing Day, we headed over to Disney's Grand Floridian resort - aka my favourite Disney hotel - for brunch at the Grand Floridian Cafe. I absolutely love the Cafe. The eggs benedict is very yummmmm. I always love walking around the Grand Floridian and 'oohing' and 'awing' over the wedding pavilion! We spent the afternoon monorail resort hopping so we could see all of the Christmas decorations. I love to see all the trees and especially the Grand Floridian life-size gingerbread house.

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We also popped into Disney Springs to see the Christmas Tree Trail!

Of course, we made a trip to Magic Kingdom on our trip. It was the first chilly night of the trip, but still, it was bearable. Gave me an excuse to wear my favourite holiday Olaf sweatshirt, with my new Christmas Mickey ears. We got to ride Haunted Mansion and Jungle Cruise - which was Christmas decorated and they called it Jingle Cruise which was GREAT. And no Magic Kingdom trip is complete without watching the Happily Ever After fireworks on Main Street with a Starbucks coffee in hand!

Unfortunately, my anxiety popped in to visit on the night I was supposed to be going to Epcot - my favourite Disney park - and I had to have a stay-in night instead. Boo :(

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But the next day, I made it out to Hollywood Studios for the evening and we had a ton of fun despite freezing our asses off!!!! It was about 14 degrees Celsius which is super cold for Florida and I was wearing a t-shirt, a cardigan, and jeans - yet I was frozen. I ended up buying a super cute Stormtrooper sweater AND a Minnie & Mickey Mouse blanket which I wrapped around me. We pretty much just walked around, had some coffee, and then watched the Star Wars fireworks show - which was soooo cool. Every time I saw Leia, I pretty much cried.

New Year's Eve was spent the way it always is for my family. A big dinner at home, a round of Cards Against Humanity, and watching Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve when the ball dropped. Usually, we get to play Cards Against Humanity outside in our backyard but it was like 9 degrees out this year so we had to stay indoors which was kind of a bummer. But we made the best of it! On New Year's Day, my parents went out for dinner with their good friend who lives in Orlando, as they do every year. My boyfriend and I stayed in, ordered some pizza, and watched Riverdale in our pjs. The perfect night!

Now I'm at the end of my trip. Sad :( Today, I was lucky enough to get to pop out to go to Books A Million, where they were having a 'buy 2 get the third free' sale. I was in literal heaven. I was on a book buying break for all of December because of Christmas coming up. So now that I'm free of that, I'm ready to buy every book in sight! I purchased The Girls by Emma Cline, My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella, and Paris for One & Other Stories by Jojo Moyes. I'm already forty pages into The Girls!

I hope everyone had an incredible holiday break! I'll be back to my regular scheduling of posts by next week.

Felicia x

Must-See Christmas Films

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I have a little bit of an obsession with films. In fact, my whole family does. We have a four-drawer case filled with dvds, both in our home in Canada and in our vacation home in Florida. I fully believe that a film can drastically improve your mood. For instance, if I'm feeling ill, watching a Disney film always lifts my spirits. If I'm feeling sad, Bridget Jones's Diary does wonders. Hell, if I'm already in a good mood, Mamma Mia can always put me in an even better mood. So, it probably comes as no surprise that I love Christmas films more than anything. Here are some of my favourite Christmas films to help inspire you to have a cozy evening featuring a film and a mug of hot cocoa (with whipped cream and sprinkles, of course).

LOVE ACTUALLY

The ultimate Christmas rom-com. It's got it all: comic relief, falling in love, heartache, losing a loved one, and friendship. Plus, a totally awesome star-studded cast featuring my favourite British actor ever, Colin Firth. Colin Firth makes everything a billion times better, no matter what.

THE HOLIDAY

Though I've only just seen this for the first time recently, it deserves to be on the list just the same. As I've said, I am a sucker for Jude Law and I only love him even more now that I've seen this film. If you've ever wanted to just spontaneously run away from your life, you'll totally love this film. It's simply adorable.

MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1994)

This is probably my favourite Christmas film. I seriously cannot go through the holiday season without watching Miracle on 34th Street at least twice. I love everything about it. The storyline, the characters, the outfits, Dylan McDermott... Haha no but seriously, it's such a cute story, with one of the happiest endings of all Christmas films.

HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS (2000)

How can you not love this film? It's a classic story, revamped with borderline inappropriate humour and an amazing cast including the very great Christine Baranski. The fact that so many of the Grinch's lines were ad-libbed by Jim Carrey only makes it that much better. And I cannot get over how cute Max is, tbh.

WHITE CHRISTMAS

This old-fashioned Christmas film is too good not to love. I'm a love a good movie-musical and a big production, so this really does it for me. Rosemary Clooney and Bing Crosby singing duets together is exactly what a Christmas film needs. And oh my god those costumes!!! Major heart-eyes.

THE SANTA CLAUSE TRILOGY

Okay... maybe just Santa Clause and Santa Clause 2 (sorry, but the third film just isn't my cup of tea). I love these films. I think the concept is so interesting - some average guy has to suddenly become Santa?? Plus, the second film is just so charming - it's definitely my favourite of the three. I love the odd characters and the comedy of it all.

What are your favourite Christmas films?

Felicia x

Things I Love About Christmas

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If you hadn't already guessed it, I am one of those people who goes into full-on Christmas mode as soon as the clock strikes 12am on November 1st. I love Christmas. My excitement starts early as in Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving in October, and so our next holiday after Halloween is Christmas. This is genuinely, 100% my favourite holiday and I find there is so much to love about Christmas. In the interest of pumping myself up even more for the season, and getting all other Christmas-lovers excited, here are seven things that I love about the Christmas holidays.

The Return of the Red Lip

During September/October, I tend to put my red-lip obsession on the back burner and focus more on autumn lip colours: berries, burgundies, etc. But with Christmas around the corner, that means I can bring back out my reds and rock the classic look I love so much.

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Decorating

I think my favourite time of the weeks leading up to Christmas is the decorating. My mum and I are restricted to putting up our tree at the very end of November by my dad, so we spend all of November (and admittedly, October) buying decorations and planning out how we envision our decorations in our home for the holidays. We've got a closet under the stairs full of boxes of decorations, and a Pinterest board full of ideas - we're ready to go!!

Baking

I recently tried my hand at baking my favourite autumn dessert, apple crumble, and discovered an interest in it that I didn't know I had. This year, I'm very excited to bake Christmas treats with my mum for our family, friends, and our party in December. Some of my fave Christmas treats are gingerbread cookies and chocolate fudge... yummm..... I'm getting hungry now!

Buying and Wrapping Gifts

As stressful as I find buying gifts for my loved ones (and trust me, I do find it very stressful), I love it. There's something so amazing about finding the perfect gift for a family member or your boyfriend. I love buying gifts for everyone and once I've got everything bought, I go into crazy wrapping mode - it's serious business for me! And then, it's total agony waiting because all I wanna do is give the gifts out to everyone! Haha

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The Toronto Christmas Market

Last year, I visited the Toronto Christmas Market for the very first time and I fell completely in love with it (despite my toes being frozen afterwards). For those who have never been to or heard of the market, it is held in Toronto's Distillery District which is a pedestrian-only area where an old whiskey distillery once sat in the 19th century. The whole area gets decorated for Christmas, they put on shows, and they have a massive Christmas tree at the entrance. It's so fun to walk around and take photos of everything. I cannot wait to go again this year.

Christmas Music

I can't tell you how much I love Christmas music. As soon as November 1st, I'm playing Christmas tunes in the car, while I'm doing my makeup in the morning, basically any chance I get. I even have Michael Buble's Christmas album on vinyl - which by the way is amazingggg. I love to sing-along to the classics and the newer versions by some of my favourite artists.

Holiday Films

Some of my most favourite movies are Christmas themed. Love Actually, White Christmas, Elf... to name a few. My mum and I love to watch these films in November and December every year (sometimes in July, too, but shh that's a secret). We can practically quote the entire Love Actually film. I mean, who doesn't love watching Hugh Grant and Colin Firth???

What gets you excited for Christmas?

Felicia x