Please Stop Asking Me 'What Did Santa Bring You?'

Please Stop Asking Me 'What Did Santa Bring You?'

The holidays are about so much more than gifts and I'm tired of talking about material items.

The holiday season is a time full of hustle and bustle for everyone. Between parties and events it seems like time never stops. After it all ends, the question everyone seems to ask is "What did Santa bring you?"

Yes, it is so nice to receive gifts from the ones that we love & even nicer to give gifts to those people. But is that really all we want to remember from the holiday season? Obviously, sharing the gifts that were given to us is a fun conversation that can be truly positive but what about the things that matter a little more than material items? As this holiday season comes to a close, we should remember that these weeks are about who we are with and the memories we make. The most important part of the holidays is the experiences we have with those we love. Instead of asking what gifts someone received, instead try asking a few of these!

What was the best memory that you made?

Why does it matter that my mom bought me a watch or my sister gave me a necklace? These things are nice but I’d rather remember my mom’s smile when she watched all her kids eat breakfast together for the first time in months or my sister’s laugh when I jumped on the bed to get her up.

What is your favorite Holiday tradition?

Baking and decorating Christmas cookies with all of my siblings and seeing who can make the funniest cookie will always outweigh the materialistic things they gave me.

If you could live inside any Holiday movie which one would it be?

This question will start an amazing and fun conversation and will allow you to learn a lot about the person you are talking to! (I would obviously choose to live in the movie the Grinch because Who's just seem like really nice people)

The most important thing to remember is that the holiday's are about who you are with and not what you receive. My Christmas was filled with joy and love and a family that laughs together no matter the circumstances. The happiest moments aren’t because of material items. My happiest moments are because of the genuinely beautiful people in my life & I wouldn’t change a thing.

Cover Image Credit: Mark Rabe

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An Open Letter To 5 Of The Wonderful Women In My Life

Women are truly amazing... these women prove that.

This month, on March 8th, International Women's Day took place. This day not only makes me so proud to be a woman, but makes me proud to know and be surrounded by such amazing women in my life. This entire month, I have been reflecting on the things the women I know have taught me about being not only amazing women, but being amazing humans. This is an open letter to five beautiful women (amongst multitudes) in my life, thanking them for all they teach and inspire in me.

Dear Mom,

Mom, words can't even describe how thankful I am for you. You and dad are the driving force behind everything in my life. Growing up, I am blessed to say that I was cared for by the most amazing mother: A mom who cut up cheerios for my sister and I when we were babies to make 101% certain we would't choke, a mom who waited outside our preschool classroom because Julie would get sick everyday from the woes of learning the alphabet and colors, a mom who is interested in every aspect of my life and has always made me feel like even my biggest and wildest dreams were in arm's reach, a mom who loves me when I don't have the strength to do it myself. You're a mom who teaches me that being a mother isn't someone's entire being, but just another facet of being a strong woman. From all the successful golf outings to the famous pizza days you planned and organized, you have shown me over and over again how hard work, dedication, passion, and a kind disposition can move mountains. You have not only moved mountains in my life, but have prompted me to start moving my own. I'm proud to call you my mom.

Dear Julie,

Julie (mostly referred to Julie Kinz by myself), you are someone who truly spreads love in this world each day. Your kindness is unlimited and shared with all who you come across. Everyone who knows you will say that you are literally the least problematic person they know! (Although, I must say, you wouldn't be a good reality TV Star. You'd want to simply talk things out on the "Bad Girls Club" and just watch quietly as everyone else flipped dinner tables at Christenings.) You study your butt off in order to one day be a kick-butt nurse, and you still manage to find the time to help me through my constant crises over the tiny-tiniest things. Being a nurse requires someone who is driven to help and show compassion to others no matter what the circumstances are, and if that doesn't describe what type of person you are, I don't know what does. You teach me everyday what the love of God looks like when acting in and through someone's heart. You constantly inspire me to be and do better even with the little things in life. I'm proud to call you my twin.

Dear Grandma,

Gran (almost always referred to as Gran next-door because you live next-door to our house), every time I think of you, a feeling of warmth spreads in my chest. Growing up, you'd come to our door every night to eat dinner with us, and I'd sprint from wherever I was to be engulfed in the huge bear hugs you'd give. You were the first person to hold Julie and me in your arms at the same time. To me, that image is more than just a picture in a frame residing in your living room: It is a symbol of the love you have for the two of us. A love that, like the challenging task of holding two chunky babies in each arm, is strong and assured. A love that makes me feel like no matter what happens in life, I will always have those arms to fall back in. You have given me so many things that I cannot begin to thank you for, but the one thing I am most grateful for is your love of family. Family is your top priority, and so is mine. Thank you for being such a beautiful, kind, warm, and witty person. I hope I become even a fraction of the woman, mother, and grandmother you are. I'm proud to call you my grandma.

Dear Grandma,

Gran, you are one of the strongest people I know. You are someone who embodies a truly determined and confident woman. You know what you want and go for it, an attribute I wish I had more of. You are one of my biggest supporters in everything I do, and you urge me to take the opportunities I come across and run with them. You call me after every one of my articles is published to tell me your positive and supportive review (which might be biased but I'm ok with that). You are someone who would do anything for her family and is a true matriarch, always watching out for and trying to help every child or grandchild that she can. When Grandpa passed, you taught me how to rebuild and start a-new even when this process is scary and foreign. You taught me that the strength within ourselves is the strongest and most important power we can ever channel. I'm proud to call you my grandma.

Dear Joey,

Joey, you are Julie and my best friend. You are someone I can't imagine my life without. Well... actually I can. It'd be full of lonely 2 a.m. Wendy's adventures, it'd be beach days without Linda's uncrustables and our endless photoshoots, it'd contain no memories of all our high school tales and shared stories (even the cringy ones), and it'd be lacking someone who has become a person I consider family in my life. This last year, especially this last month, has been hard for you. Losing a grandparent is a loss that changes lives and affects not only people's minds but their hearts as well. I am so sorry for every unfortunate thing that has happened to you and your family this year, and I wish I could stop the pain that comes from all of the loss and hardship. But these downfalls are a part of life, and although they cannot be stopped, by me or anyone else, they have a way of strengthening those who are able to pick up the pieces and make it through the darkness. Your strength, courage, and poise in these times have truly made me even more proud to call you my friend. I'm sure your grandparents feel the same way.

I'll love you all always and forever,

Vic xoxo

Cover Image Credit: Victoria Gallo

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Sometimes I Hate You, Big Brothers, But I Love You All The Time

I will always be your biggest supporter and your best friend.

To the ones who taught me how to fight and how to worry, sometimes I hate you but all the time I love you. There is nobody in this world I trust more than you even though you used to beat me up as a kid. We have been through it all together and I wouldn't have wanted anyone else by my side.

Even though I told on you when you were watching South Park, you were there to protect me. The first scary movie I ever watched was with you and the first black eye I ever got was because of you, or maybe because I'm anemic, whatever. I broke my arm because I was holding you on my back but the story we told mom is one I will never forget.

I remember when we wanted to make money and instead of setting up a lemonade stand, we tried to sell the condiments from our fridge. That is when I realized how innovative we were. You were there with every trip between mom and dads house during holidays and weekends, thank you.

I'm sorry for telling on you when you would sneak out and for when you broke the neighbor's window with the baseball. However, you had it coming because you would tell on me when me and my friends would spy on you and your friends playing video games. You're better for it now, it built character.

Regardless of our fights, there is no one else I would've rather begged to get to play Mario Kart with or to be a part of the chain gang in the front yard. I have to say though I would've rather gone without the fighting that led to us holding hands in the corner or being separated in the car. I try to forget those times.

I have never worried about anyone as much as I worry about you. I want you to be happy and healthy. I want you to have kids of your own and feel the love I feel with my child. I want to make you proud of your little sister, even though I'm bossy and act like a big sister. Thank you for being my biggest supporters along with the biggest pain in my butt.

I know they say as we get older we are supposed to fight less, but let's face it, I'm always going to be your controlling little sister that constantly nags you. But just remember, I will always be your biggest supporter and your best friend.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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