Well, Christmas is almost here and I have to say some fun has been had leading up to the big day! Between sharing stocking stuffer and gift ideas with you all here, our Riegelein #TravelingSanta, all the way from Germany, has been having some fun of his own on Twitter. He’s been seen all around our lovely Mitten State and he’s taken residence in my home, car and lodging wherever my family goes! He refers to my family as his host family, which really is kind of cute. While he’s fun to travel with, he can be a little difficult at times as he doesn’t care much to be in the sun too long, nor does he like to be near heat.
So as we all prepare to get our final holiday to-do lists complete and shopping done, I thought it would be fun to recap a little bit of what #TravelingSanta has been up to and then maybe share what’s up next for #TravelingSanta.
#TravelingSanta had some reflecting moments in Cadillac, Michigan.
#TravelingSanta got to learn the game of hockey during his stay with us. Although we are NOT a travel team, we still do travel quite a bit. This time he was in Holland, Michigan with us at Griff’s Ice House West.
#TravelingSanta is having a good time in the car with us, his host family, on the way to St. Ignace, Michigan where yes, again, hockey! This was the Battle at the Bridge hockey tournament.
During Thanksgiving break, #TravelingSanta went for a hike, did some chores around the house and gave some advice to those who needed turkey help.
#TravelingSanta celebrated National Gingerbread Cookie Day.
#TravelingSanta helped us pick out our Christmas tree this year.
#TravelingSanta enjoyed our first big snow storm of the season!
And #TravelingSanta asked me to share some photos of him and our Elf on the Shelf, Buddy. They’ve been talking with each other quite a bit lately. They are good friends and they are keeping very close tabs on my boys, making sure they are behaving!
And last but not least, only seen here, #TravelingSanta wanted me to share these photos of him with some of our many ornaments from our White House Christmas Ornament collection from the White House Historical Association.
So what’s next for #TravelingSanta? I’m not sure yet, I guess we shall just have to wait and see what Christmas holds for all of us! Stay tuned to Twitter and see what happens! So far he’s been a really great guest and he’s kept my kids occupied, however, one child in particular keeps giving him some kind of crazed look… so not sure what that is all about!
Well, finally the snow has fallen in Michigan! And my, what a strange trip this winter has been! Just a week ago my family was up in St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula for the Battle at the Bridge hockey tournament, which is just on the other side of the Mackinac Bridge, and there was NO SNOW and temperatures hovering in the 50’s. We come back to Grand Rapids and the temperature soared to 60’s and wind was blowing so strong! Give it a few hours and BAM! We are sitting at 20-30° F with random lake effect snow from time to time. I would say winter is here! Let’s hope it stays so we have a white and snowy Christmas!
By the way, if you’ve never been to Michigan or you live outside of the United States, please do check out the link about the Mackinac Bridge. You can view updated images of the Mackinac Bridge every minute or so and you can also get some really neat information about our Mighty Mac. If you ever get the chance to visit, the Mighty Mac is fun to drive across, Mackinaw City and St. Ignace are cute little towns. Take a ferry over to Mackinac Island and ride your bike around the only highway in the United States that does not allow motor vehicles! Seriously, there are some awesome places to visit in Michigan if you have never been!
But let’s move on to some other topics of interest, a few of our favorite things you can enjoy this holiday season! Let me tell you my first item of discussion: Shortbread House of Edinburgh. Can I say DELICIOUS! I picked up a tin of the shortbread with warming stem ginger… I am IN LOVE. Seriously. I offered one to my mom and she really liked it, and after I had my shortbread I was kind of sad that I now had one less shortbread to eat, but then… I thought, it’s okay. Now my mom can get some more and maybe next time I’m at her house, I might find some a tin in her pantry and I can raid her stash! HA HA! Just kidding, well… maybe not. (I love you mom, buy me some more Shortbread House of Edinburgh!) These are delicious solo or with a cup of tea or coffee. I absolutely LOVE their packaging. I love this tin – and I can reuse it or let me kids use it for something fun. Their other products come in beautiful packaging as well, but pick yourself up of this shortbread because it’s yummy! Great gift and stocking stuffer!
Next up… and perfect for a stocking stuffer… Messori Cono Snacks! So yummy! These come to our shores of the United States all the way from Italy and they are GMO free. They come in three different flavors: Hazelnut, Carmel Milk and Choco Parties (these have a candy topping). I did highlight these earlier this year with my kiddos, and they still love them and ask for them when we stop into the store. It’s a perfect little chocolate package to give this holiday season: it is wrapped in a cone shape, fits in the stockings that hang on the mantle and they are contained in their own Belgian waffle cone! But don’t take my word for it, go get a Messori Cono Snack for yourself and enjoy the chocolate that is literally filled from top to bottom of the Belgian waffle cone. SO GOOD!
Alrighty. Now time for one more favorite item for today… Bahlsen Holiday Cookies! This package offers 12 different holiday shapes in the following varieties: chocolate, jam and sugar crystals. This is the perfect blend of cookies to have out in December when friends and family are over! There’s a cookie for everyone in this package of treats! With super cute shapes of hearts, gingerbread people, snow-people, trees, and more, a tray of these cookies will help add to your holiday decor on your appetizer or dessert table!
I am not ashamed to say that I feature a lot of cookies within this blog… “Cookie” used to be my nickname growing up, and – sometimes I still get called that to this day. Wether it’s shortbread or a mix of cookies, I am a sucker for them. I love cookies and shortbread and I now may need to find the love of a gym workout to work off all the delicious treats from this holiday season! What are some of your favorite holidays treats – made from scratch or store-bought? Share your favorites with me in the comments! I want to know! Nibble, nibble!
Today is Small Business Saturday! Support your local shops by purchasing gifts, groceries and other items from the local businesses within your area! I prefer to pass on Black Friday, I tried shopping on a Black Friday when I was younger, and it was not my cup of tea!
I love to stroll around the Grand Rapids area and finding the local markets and stores that have the unique and out of the ordinary items that I can’t find in a regular big box store. We’d love to give a shout out to a few of the local shops and markets around here in Grand Rapids:
We also are giving a shout out to some friends waaaaay up north from us, Cup of the Day! You will find them up in Sault Ste. Marie in our Upper Peninsula!
Are you local around here? Where do you like to shop? Are you one of our local retailers? Tag us and we shall tag you back! Making connections, locally, nationally and globally is what we are all about.