The internet on the boat is iffy and expensive…but I am still here!!

25 Questions: Holiday Style

  • Eggnog or hot chocolate?

Eggnog.  I love a good, rich hot chocolate as well, but to me, nothing speaks Christmas like eggnog.  I usually only have it once or twice during the season, but I can’t imagine a Christmas without it.  Yesterday morning (my Christmas morning) I woke up and got ready to eat breakfast at the buffet as usual.  Sad that I couldn’t have my usual cinnamon rolls with my family, I was a)so excited to see eggnog at the buffet for breakfast, and b) really shocked because that is typically NOT a breakfast item…but I had to have it! J

  • Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?

Santa still wraps our presents.  There are no gifts under the main tree until Christmas morning, and we are not allowed to peak on Christmas morning until my parents are ready…yes me and my siblings still do this…and we will be doing it next year when I am home for Christmas!

  • Colored lights on tree/house or white?

We have colored on the tree in the house and blue icicle lights outside.

  • Do you hang mistletoe?


  • When do you hang your decorations up?

I think it really depends on the year.  It is all up to my mom since she is the one at home, but I honestly don’t mind putting up the festive décor right after Thanksgiving!  The sooner the better J

  • What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?

Every year we have lasagna for dinner at Christmas.  Sometimes we switch up our appetizers, our Christmas Eve meal or whatnot, but without a doubt we always have lasagna Christmas night, and because it is so special we like never have it throughout the year so that we really are craving it when Christmas comes around.  It is seriously the best lasagna that I have ever tasted…stuff in the restaurants doesn’t even come close.

  • Favorite holiday memory as a child?

When we were younger we used to do a holiday celebration at my Great Grandma’s apartment in Michigan and I just remember always driving through the snow and having the whole trip seem like an adventure to get to Grandma’s house.  We would have a fancy little dinner with her and get all dressed up in our holiday attire.  Just spending time with family by playing cards and watching a Miracle on 34th Street. It was perfect J

I also remember one year that me and my siblings really wanted Giga Pets (remember those) for Christmas.  My parents continuously said no way and that we were definitely not getting them for us.  When we were opening our gifts we each got our own Giga Pet!  At that moment I “knew” santa was real J

  • What is on your Christmas wish list?

This year I didn’t even make one!  I am such a list person that I just enjoy making my list every year and sending ideas to my mom constantly, but I really didn’t expect to get anything…so when I got two boxes of gifts to open on Christmas I was sooo happy!!! J

  • Do you open a gifts on Christmas Eve?

No way!!!! Brian’s family opens on Christmas Eve…but for my family there is no way that we open anything before the actual day!

  • How do you decorate your Christmas tree?

We use all of our collected random and homemade gifts each year.  One year, I think I tried to string popcorn and cranberries to add that kind of a touch to the tree, most years we add those stringy silver icicle things.  We also have a smaller tree that we call our “international tree.”  Whenever my grandparents travel they always bring us back little ornaments to add to the tree, so I am collecting some ornaments along my travels to add to the collection!

  • Snow? Love it or dread it?

I would love snow from the week of Thanksgiving until New Years and then after that spring, green, and warm weather can come J

  • Real tree or fake tree?

REAL! We always argue about finding the “perfect” tree. When I was younger we would actually go to a Christmas tree farm!

  • Do you remember your favorite gift?

Favorite gift…that is a hard one!  I think that this year my gifts were my favorite because I wasn’t expecting anything…my mom could have sent an empty box and it would have been my favorite I think haha.  Just to have a little taste of home was perfect!

  • What’s the most important thing about Christmas for you?

Family and traditions.  Being away from everyone and everything that I love this holiday season has really made me realize how much I really do love my family and spending time with them.  I don’t have a big family, so the traditions we hold on to are what make the day special for everyone.  I can’t wait to come back next year and do every tradition to the max!!!

  • What is your favorite holiday dessert?

Our house literally becomes a bakery during the holiday season.  We don’t eat cake or pies for Christmas, it is all about the cookies…although some of them are not cookies technically.  My absolute favorite holiday treat to eat are buckeyes…and I have had a craving for them this entire week!  My favorite holiday treat to make are cherry coconut bars and of course decorated sugar cookies

  • What is your favorite tradition?

This is a tough one because my family has so many goofy little traditions.  I think that my favorite tradition is the homemade gift that my siblings and I make for each other.  Now that we are getting older, the gifts are actually pretty good!  It is always so hard to come up with an idea, but then once you come up with it the whole process is top secret from everyone (except mom who usually helps out!) until Christmas morning.

  • What tops your tree?

We top the tree with a “tree topper.”  It is not an angel and it is not a star.  It is a red and gold decoration thing that just goes on top…It’s hard to describe.

  • Do you prefer giving or receiving?

I love giving gifts on Christmas, my favorite thing is to find the perfect gift and then keep it a secret until Christmas and watch the receiver open it J  Watching them open the gift is probably my favorite part!

  • What is your favorite Christmas song?

I can’t pick just one so here are the songs at the top of the list

  1. Hark the Herald Angels Sing
  2. Joy to the World
  3. Carol of the Bells
  4. Oh Holy Night
  5. Silver Bells
  • Candy canes, yuck or yum?

They are cute decorations during the holiday season.  My mom gets a giant candy cane (like the kind that you would put in the yard) and puts it on the antenna of her car…my sister does that too.  I also think that they are tasty as stir sticks in your hot chocolate or eggnog.

  • Favorite Christmas movie?

Again, I can’t choose so here is the top of the list

  1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  2. Elf
  3. Rudolph’s Shiny New Year
  4. A Christmas Story
  • What do you leave for Santa?

This is one of the goofy traditions that my family still does…we leave cookies, milk (or eggnog), a carrot for Rudolph, and a letter J (yes we still do it!)

  • Do you have a Christmas morning tradition?

YES!  Usually, my siblings and I all sleep in one room together for a big Christmas night sleepover.  I then wake up at the earliest hour possible (I am a morning person) and then wake up Kenny, my brother.  I have Kenny go peak downstairs to see how things look.  In the mean time I try to convince Brenna that she needs to wake up 5 hours before her usual time because it is Christmas!  Kenny and I then go and try to wake our parents up, we then wait for mom to shower and Dad to set up the video camera (this really turns into a production).  When Mom is finally ready we all head downstairs to the family room and open the gifts in our stockings first.  We then move to the homemade and family gifts under the International Tree.  I then make cinnamon rolls and we have cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  We then move into the living room and open all of the Santa presents under the tree.

**I told you we had a lot of traditions

  • Do you prefer to shop on-line or at the mall?

The mall.  I love the smell of Christmas time and being surrounded by so many people and seeing the decorations!

  • Christmas letter or Christmas card?

This year I did Christmas letters simply because I am so far away and can’t talk to everyone in the family that often.

  • Favorite thing about Christmas this year? (I added this one in)

The crew on board formed a crew Christmas carol choir.  As soon as I heard that this was going on I couldn’t NOT join!! I quickly was given the title of music director and loved every second of it.  Most (probably everyone) had no musical training and were just doing the choir for fun, which was great to see.  I had a couple of solos too, which was fun.  We performed on Christmas Eve night just before each seating for dinner, and because it made me so happy to see everyone else so happy it made me extremely emotional!

Christmas day I then had to work in the morning teaching our stretching class and our abs class.  Since it was Christmas, the gym was pretty slow so I was hanging out at the front desk when a man came into the spa said that he was looking for a girl from the spa last night dressed like me that sang the Christmas carols.  My manager quickly told him that it was me!  He then went on to tell me how happy the carols made him and how my singing was the highlight of his entire cruise.  That made me so happy!  I then had a little bit of a rough day just because every time I would even think about Christmas anything I would just get emotional.  Later that evening, my roommate came into our room where I was hanging out and told me that the man who enjoyed my singing so much was talking to my manager who explained that it was my first Christmas away from home and that I was having a hard time.  He said that he understood the feeling of being away from family and because I made him and his wife smile, they wanted to make me smile so they bought me a little stuffed animal holding a Christmas carol booklet that plays Christmas songs!!! That totally made my day!

Benefits of Working in the Spa on a Cruise

The gym is a part of the spa on all cruise ships, and because of that we are able to receive free treatments.  In fact, it is encouraged so that we can cross promote those treatments to our clients!  I am clearly trying to take as much advantage of this amazing opportunity as I can.  So far, I have had a lime and ginger salt scrub which seriously made my skin the smoothest that it has ever been and included a full body massage, and the second treatment I had was a Thai poultice massage which again was amazing and included warm herbal bags massaged onto the skin.  I have also had a treatment called ionithermie done which detoxifies the body from the outside and stimulates the muscles while circulating algae through the skin.  I loved the treatment, but some people find the electrical stimulation of the muscles weird.

Where I Have Traveled

  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Nagasaki, Japan
  • Hong Kong, China
  • Phu My, Vietnam
  • Laem Chabang, Thailand
  • Ko Samui, Thailand
  • Darwin, Australia
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Melbourne, Australia
  • Hobart, Australia
  • Port Chalmers (Dunedin), New Zealand
  • Wellington, New Zealand (Where Lord of the Rings was filmed)

Things that I have learned while traveling.

  • Thailand has beautiful beaches and resorts and very cheap clothes.  I literally bought dresses for $2.

  • Hong Kong’s skyline makes NYC look little.

  • They actually where the little pointed hats in Vietnam.

  • Australia is very clean.
  • Southern Australia and New Zealand are not hot.

  • I think this was the biggest shocker.  The weather is like below 70 degrees and it is their summer right now.  I just automatically thought that all of Australia and New Zealand were scorching all the time, but I was wrong.

I miss everyone dearly, and although I am enjoying this experience, being away for the holidays has truly allowed me to see how important my friends and family are to me and I can’t wait to come back home to everyone!  I hope that everyone had a merry Christmas and has a happy new year!

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