My Christmas Wishlist – or – Why I’m going apeshit over the holidays this year

I haven’t properly celebrated the holidays since 2009. Initially, my family stopped doing gifts for reasons financial, philosophical, and – later – emotional. And we never got back to it in full swing. But this baby girl (yes, I’m referring to myself in third person) has a steady income and a need to shower my loved ones in PRESENTS!!! To fully understand my obsession, you must first understand the backstory(s). I’ll concede.

2009: Christmas as usual. I got my travel backpack and my mother’s commitment that she’d go to Europe with me in May. Basically, I got the world for Christmas. Big potatoes.

2010: The family had a rough year, emotionally. In lieu of presents (though we still did stockings), we started volunteering our Christmas morning, serving those less fortunate than we. Also, I saw little kids hug my dad like he was their personal angel. An amazing sight, friends.

2011: The year that rocked our lives. Several people died and Christmas would have been miserable. We volunteered again, and celebrated the coming new year (and new start) like it was the new Y2K.

2012: We were in Europe (I know, I know, woe is we) and didn’t do gifts or stockings. We did share some trinket-y little gifts, soak up the joy of each others company, and revel in the beauty of Paris. I should omit this one from my sob story.

2013: I moved Christmas Eve. For the bajillionth time. Christmas day, I got Chinese food. (Kind of evens out 2013, huh).

So now this year!! Not only am I going home, not only do I get to drown my favorite people with love, but I’m bringing home the boy, too! AB gets to meet my puppies, see my childhood home, sit in my glorious jacuzzi… It’ll be epic.

Now, as for the below…Ideally I’d show you everything I’ve found for my lovelies – the good, the bad, and the illegal. But I like surprises, so instead I’m posting my wish list. And I suppose this also serves as a little teaser for my yet-a-work-in-progress 2015 bucket list, because I plan to buy myself most of these little tchotchkes.

So excited for the holidays!

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 9.20.49 PMWORK GOODIES: gold foil print, Kate Spade gold folders, space heater | WARM GOODIES: J. Crew duck boot, brown sweater boot, knee high socks, hat, black nylon boots | WORKOUT GOODIES: gym shoes, GAIAM gym bag, amiigo fitness tracker

In case you didn’t get one… Happy Holidays!

The insert from my Christmas cards this year… a pretty comprehensive update on the goings on of my life 🙂

My family tends to send out the obligatory “Daniells Family Update Letter” in July, but there’s been so much going on lately that I thought I’d send out my own little update. I haven’t formally briefed many of you on my goings on since my high school graduation. In short, my time at Northeastern thus far has been amazing. After a slow first semester, I joined a sorority—Kappa Kappa Gamma—and started writing for the school paper. I made Dean’s List both semesters my freshman year and spent May of this year in Europe with my mom. We crammed four countries into three weeks and managed to survive vespa crashes and washed out trains. Mom loved Belgium and The Netherlands, and I fell in love with Paris, changed my language to French and scheduled time in my school trajectory to study there (Fall 2011?). I spent the rest of the summer reading, blogging and researching law schools (I decided to drop my second major and add a pre-law minor).

Since March, I have served as the corresponding secretary for Kappa and this past semester, I was elected the arts editor for my paper. Between those responsibilities and a full class load, I learned to survive on an average four hours of sleep and a diet of Raman and PB&J sandwiches. Despite the difficulties, this past semester has by far been the best four months yet; I became much closer with my sorority sisters and friends and managed to make a family and a home for myself on the east coast.

On January 3, I move to New York. I start my first co-op (a school-encouraged six month stint when I stop taking classes and work full-time) a week later, working as a features intern for Marie Claire magazine. It was a difficult decision to make (I had to turn down The Boston Globe and Vogue, and leave my beloved Boston), but it’s been a dream of mine to work at Marie Claire since I started shaving my legs and I figured I would give the city a shot. I will be living in Midtown Manhattan in an all-women’s building (my mother’s dream) with lounges, a library, a roof deck and a maid service (my dream).

As far as everything else goes, family life is great; I talk to my parents almost every day and am enjoying my first couple days back in San Diego. I signed on for an apartment in Boston in September with three of my friends and am excited to move in there. On a spontaneous whim, I recently died my hair red, and am now trying to rework my wardrobe since everything clashes with my hair. I just wanted to thank everyone again for helping me get to where I am. I’d love to hear from many of you and wish everyone the best this holiday season. Merry ChrismaHanukKwanzicaFestivus and a bubbly, wonderful New Year.

“It feels like home to meeeee…”

So there’s this boy… man? boy? I suppose he’s a 70-something manboy. Yup, that sounds pretty accurate.

I’ve briefly mentioned this old fart before. But his name is James Francis Bunker. And my relationship to him is that he’s my dad’s college roommate’s old boss. Sounds kinda like that Spaceballs scene doesn’t it…

Anyway, our mutual connection introduced us because Jim went to Northeastern and still plays an active role on campus. Turns out, he put in a good word for me.

And now? After a wonderful first lunch in February, we see each other whenever we happen to be within driving range of each other. And for the rest of the time, we email and talk and keep each other updated about the latest happenings in our lives (actually.. maybe it’s more about whats happening in MY life. Oops).

He’s a kook and takes every opportunity to make fun of me. But, at the same time, I’m not afraid to dish it back out. And in our teasing and mockery, we are able to communicate in our own language. To the outside world, we probably look like the silliest pair ever. But I don’t know… I just like this crazy old man. He’s lived quite a bit more than I have, but is happy to share his experiences and his wisdom and the best cafes in Paris.

This summer, I was SO blessed to meet his firecracker of a wife. Not only was she wise enough to con him into going to college when she was 14, but she’s put up with him ever since then. And knowing him, that deserves a ton of respect.

And through him (or those he knows), I’ve been able to meet some other people, too.

I called him this morning and suddenly came to the realization (albeit, belated) that this poor sucker is family. He, combined with the other Bostonians that I love, is the family that I’ve built for myself in my beloved city. No wonder it feels like home to me… I’ve got a crazy “uncle” and his wonderful wife, 80 sisters and countless treasured friends to keep me company.

Vanessa Carlton, in her song “Who’s to Say,” concludes that “sometimes family are the ones you choose.” Now, I’ve got one of the most incredible, dysfunctional-but-it-works-for-us families in the world. But it’s nice to know that I can build one for myself, too, compiled of people that I love and choose to love and who happen to love my city as much as I do. <3