01 02 03 corral b.: in the christmas spirit. 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

in the christmas spirit.

i was never somebody who loved christmas (this is an understatement; i was a total grinch!) until i moved to chicago. then, my first year here, i couldn't afford to fly home. instead, i had to facetime my family in california and watch from my couch as they went through all our yearly traditions. it took that year to remind me what the holidays are really about: spending time with family, being grateful for the year you've been given, and giving back to others...and pretty decorations don't hurt :p
yes, the cat has a stocking...
now, i'm somebody who starts decorating the day after thanksgiving and gets started on thoughtful gifts as soon as i can. when i saw that a sweat pink sister was hosting a secret santa exchange, i signed right up, eager to say thanks in a small way to a group that has supported me so much.

the exchange was hosted on elfster. i think this website is really neat! elfster hosts a secret santa exchange for you and your friends, all for free. all you have to do is have everyone sign up by a certain date and then the website takes care of assigning everyone names; none of that accidentally pulling your own name stuff! you can also post a wishlist or answer anonymous questions so your secret santa can get some ideas of what you'd like, even if they don't know you personally. addresses are available so that gifts can be exchanged, even from afar (we had sweat pink sisters from other countries participate!) i definitely recommend this site for hosting your own exchange!

in november, after the drawing was finished, i was surprised to see that i already had a present at my front door. shelley was sweet enough to send me a purple buff! if you remember my wishlist from last year, you'll know that i've been wanting one of these for a year now! i was so excited to receive it and have gotten so much use out of it already.
i squealed when this showed up on my doorstep.
as for me, i got darlene! a fellow friday five linkup-er and starbucks lover, i was so happy that this exchange existed to introduce me to her blog. i went back and forth about a million times on what to get her, but i ended up with a bright pair of feetures! and a couple of salted caramel gus to help this frequent racer get through some of those long runs.
this snowman made his journey to new york!
this exchange was the perfect way to get in to the christmas spirit and to send a little appreciation back toward one of my biggest support systems in running. i'm so glad i was able to take part in it!

how have you been getting in to the holiday spirit?


note: i'm not affiliated with elfster, i just really liked the site!

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