Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Its A Wonderful Life

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, its that lovely time of year that everyone has been waiting for - Christmas! I, for one, have taken it upon myself to get into the Christmas spirit, and so has my best friend, Rome. The entire city is decked out in gold twinkle lights, and I've never seen anything like it in my life. The accordion players are even playing Christmas songs, so really, its impossible not to catch the spirit. If I was at home right now, this is what I'd be doing... 
I'd be decorating the tree at home with my family, watching the delicate pearl coloured snow flakes fall, baking gingerbread cookies and buying an extra tub of vanilla icing for extra 
deliciousness, wrapping presents in every colour imaginable, stashing my purse with candy canes... I'd be making a snowman and donning her in my pink Burberry scarf, and going beer boganning with my friends at H. H. Knoll park. I'd throw snow balls at the side of the house, sip hot chocolate inside by the fire, go Christmas shopping at the Pen Centre, and walk down West Street arm-in-arm with mom picking out new ornaments. I'd be buying candy cane scented soap from Harmony on West, listening to Christmas music and drive around the city appreciating everyone's lights display. I'd be buying a carton of egg nog and convince myself that I do like it (although every year my taste buds still disagree) and get drunk with my closest friends while building an edible gingerbread house. 
My favourite part about this time of year is eating yummy holiday candies with my sister on the couch while having a marathon of all the classic Christmas movies. Our personal favourite is A Christmas Story, and if you don't know what I'm talking about, then I feel really sorry for you. Ask for this movie as an early present and watch it right now. If you take my advice and aren't satisfied with the movie, tell me and I'll mail you a thousand dollars. I'm that confident that this movie is the best Christmas movie ever. Home Alone is also amazing because 1) who doesn't like a Christmas thriller and 2) "......KEVIN!!!!!!!!" Of course, Elf is also a must see. Unfortunately, you have to watch Zooey Deschannel have a shower and listen to her sing at the same time (I don't know which is worse) but its adorable, and I haven't met anyone who doesn't like it. My favourite childhood Christmas movie is Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer: The Movie. There are a lot of different versions of it but the best one is the one with ":The Movie" at the 
end, and it was made in 1998. It is very important that you watch this specific Rudolph movie, because the other ones just don't compare. If the one you watch doesn't include Stormella the Ice Queen, you've got the wrong one. Just to be sure you don't screw it up, here's the link:
I promise you that my mom is the sweetest person at Christmas. She always surprises my sister and I by buying chicken bones. Before you gag, I don't mean real chicken bones. Its the name of a candy that has a hard, sweet pink shell and has chocolate on the inside. My mom has always done such a good job with Christmas stockings, and that's one thing I'm really going to miss this year. We have these huge stockings that she always fills with makeup, magazines, candy, chocolates, jewelry, and for some random reason, a clementine. You know its Christmas in the Pressé household when there are cartons upon cartons of clementines stacked in the kitchen.
Missing out on Christmas this year makes me realise that I don't think I can miss out again next year. I think that this is my one year to really put myself out into the world and travel and experience Europe, but next year I would like to be able to be closer to my family so I don't have to miss out on things like this. I feel that I should share a couple of mine and my sister's Christmas traditions, one in which I doubt anyone else does. I forget how old we were when we stopped doing this, but for some reason we thought it would be a hilarious idea every Christmas Eve to run in the snow around the huge tree in our front yard. Naked. We did this for several circles - that's right, not just once - and we were even barefoot. We still leave out milk and cookies for 'Santa'. When we were younger, I always chose the tallest glass and poured it to the rim with milk. To this day I don't know if my parents dumped it into the sink or if they actually drank the whole thing. 
They also would leave cookie crumbs left behind on a plate (I always thought it was a bit rude of Santa not to put his dishes away). We left carrots in the snow for the reindeer and my parents would shake Christmas bells while standing at the staircase, causing my sister and I to jump out of bed and race to our parents room to 'wake' them up. My mom would write really clever things on some of the presents. For example, some things would be signed with love from Cindy Lou, The Grinch, Rudolph, Jesse McCartney - all my favourite people. 
Niagara-On-The-Lake is, in my opinion, the world's most picturesque city - especially at 
Christmas. Its beautiful, old fashioned, and not ruined with tourists. There's horse carriages you can ride around on, beautiful Victorian mansions that are dressed up in their Christmas best, and the most incredible Christmas store in the world. Its open all year round and sells everything you can imagine that has to do with Christmas. If it was acceptable to go door to door singing carols with my family, I'd do it. I wonder if that's acceptable in Italy... Probably not. I mean, could you imagine if you were an Italian and this bubbly little foreign girl bangs on your door, and starts belting out the lyrics to Jingle Bell Rock? Maybe I'll give it a go, though, and carry around a little box with a coin slot. I could always use some extra money, but who doesn't? I've already bought my Christmas cards, signed my name, and licked the envelope and stuck them in the post box. This week, they're putting a huge Christmas tree up at the Vatican, which I'm really excited about. I must say... Rome's Christmas decorations are a bit more extravagant than Port Colborne's. 
Last night, Nathan and I were taking another nighttime walk around Rome and appreciating all the beautiful Christmas decorations and lights. He's leaving for Paris today and isn't coming back until Sunday, so we wanted to see each other before he headed off to the land of impossibly skinny women, house music, and hairy legs. He said, "Even though I love this city, I can't wait to go home for Christmas." Sigh... I told him that I'm not going home for Christmas. I expected him to say how terrible that was, and that I should be with my family, not in Europe. But I told him my plans, and he was really enthusiastic for me, which made me feel really good. I probably already mentioned this, but I'm going to travel with my Austrian friend Magda for Christmas. 
Actually, today is exactly 3 weeks until my trip, and I'm so excited. I'm flying to Munich first, where Magda is picking me up. Then we're driving back to Salzburg to spend Christmas, and we're travelling to a place called Upper Austria as well. Then we're going to spend a few days in Vienna, and then Prague for New Years. So even though I'm not going to be home for Christmas, I'm still so excited to see Magda and travel to so many new places. I'm not sure how well we're going to do in Prague... I know we're going to have a great time, but neither of us speak Czech or have ever been there. But its kind of hard to miss home and worry about not being able to speak Czech when I'm about to embark on the greatest holiday experience ever. I don't think anyone knows just how excited I am for this festive season!

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