1. Holiday-filled Weekend #1 took place last week, with two quintessential, time-honored holiday traditions: ZooLights and my company’s Christmas party. I went to ZooLights on Friday, so let’s start there, shall we?
This was my fifth trip to ZooLights, and while a lot of things remain the same from year to year, it was fun to notice changes as well, like the addition of a candy cane lane! That was probably my favorite change. I also noticed a family theme among the animals, with most of the light up animal crews feature a dad, a mom, and a baby animal. I’ve never seen this before, though maybe I was always just unaware?
It was warmer (and earlier in the year) than my past visits to ZooLights, so maybe that accounted for this change, but this was the first year that I’ve actually seen real, live animals during ZooLights! Two Sichuan Takins and three seals were out and about, while the brand new polar bear was snoozin’ in the new arctic habitat.
The seals may or may not have been mating…? They were definitely cuddling, at the very least. Well, two of them were. I don’t know what the third seal was doing, other than clearly not getting any action. Poor guy/girl.
2. Then on Saturday, I spent my evening at my company’s holiday party, which took place at Morgan MFG in the West Loop. Morgan MFG is a renovated, loft space-style event venue, and it was really pretty!
The company I work for now is 75 times bigger than my previous company (not an exaggeration: a statement of fact), so needless to say, this holiday party was SUBSTANTIALLY different from the usual let’s-all-go-get-lunch-and-you-can-go-home-after-that shindig I’m used to. Open bar, several food stations, passed dessert (*dies*), interactive displays, giveaways, a cover band – it was quite the experience! Although I must admit that I preferred not having to get dressed up or wear heels to my previous company’s holiday party 😛
Speaking of my outfit: I was at a loss as to what to wear. I looked through pictures from previous years, and it seemed like anything fancier than sweatpants but less fancy than an evening gown would be appropriate. The official dress code was “smart casual,” which is also our work dress code, but I figured most people would be dressed nicer than they are for work and wanted to dress nicer myself. Naturally, I put decision making off until the very last second, and finally on Black Friday decided I’d look through H&M’s website to see if they had anything that struck my fancy. I found a decent black shirt, ordered it, and was told it would arrive between Nov. 30 and Dec. 2. Well, Nov. 30 came and went, as did Dec. 1, and still no shirt. When it hadn’t arrived by Friday afternoon, I gave up all hope and settled on a backup shirt I already owned. Then, on my way home from work that day, I got an email from H&M telling me that my order had just shipped that day, Dec. 2! The last day it was supposed to arrive! *shakes fist at sky*. So that will promptly be going back to H&M once it actually gets here, since I neither need nor want a too-dressy-for-work black shirt.
3. Another holiday tradition of mine includes my mom, her two sisters, and my grandma/their mom coming to Chicago on the first Tuesday of the December through a bus trip my high school sponsors to spend the day in the city shopping, and me taking the day off work to join them. That happened two days ago, fortunately before it became bitterly cold outside like it is now.
While we did do a little shopping, the highlight of the day (for me, at least, and I think at least one of the highlights for the rest of my family as well) was riding the Holiday Train!
Oh, how I love the Holiday Train. It’s the same every year, and yet it never gets old. It’s just so pretty and festive!
I’m really glad I got to ride the train with my family, too. I tell them about it every time I catch it, but it’s one thing to hear about the Holiday Train and a totally different thing to experience it for yourself. It was fun to show them what I’ve been talking about!
Have you done any holiday activities so far this season?