California Christmas 2013

This year was the first time in many many years that Matt and I spent Christmas together.  Usually, he stays at home and works while I go out of town with my family.  This year, we were invited to spend Christmas in Los Altos, California with Matt's parents, his stepbrother & family, and his stepsister & family.  There were 8 adults, 5 rowdy boys, and 2 big dogs all in one house for a week.  It was busy & loud but lots and lots of fun.  Since it was my first time to California, we did a lot of typical touristy things, but we also did a little relaxing too.

Day 1 (Christmas Day): Jet lag like whoa.  I attempted to stay awake while Matthew passed out on the couch in the middle of all the chaos.  Watched the kids open presents & opened a few of our own, too.  Lasagna for dinner & a super early bedtime.

Day 2: Tourist day! Lombard Street (a famous crooked street).  Matt drove down! Lots of pictures.  Then we walked through the shops at Pier 39.  Delicious mini cinnamon sugar donuts.  Musical stairs! I bought a trolley Christmas ornament.  Candy shop.  Gorgeous views of sail boats, Golden Gate Bridge, & Alcatraz.  Noisy (and smelly) sea lions! Then we went to an old school arcade with vintage games (Musee Mecanique).  Super fun! Delicious fancy lunch at Alioto's in Fisherman's Wharf.  Trolley ride! Union Square (lots of swanky stores, a HUGE Macy's, giant Christmas tree, ice skating rink).  A search for ice cream.  A peek at China Town.  Tired feet.  3 taxis.  Ice cream & a great view of the water.  Chinese for dinner.

Day 3: Half Moon Bay & Fitzgerald Marine Reserve at low tide.  Anemones, coral, pretty shells & rocks, seals.  Brief hike up a trail & incredible views of the Pacific Ocean.  Little small town shops.  Mexican for dinner.  I think we finally did our adult white elephant gift exchange that night, too.  Hil-ar-ious.  Each person was supposed to bring a gift worth up to $40 or something they already had at home.  Matt's stepbrother-in-law Tom ended up opening the gift that he brought, but he didn't realize it because his wife bought & wrapped it.  He picked the box because he thought there might be liquor inside.  It was actually a girly set of scented Yankee candles.  We laughed for days.

Day 4: Kids went to a technology museum in San Jose and we went to Alamo Square & Steiner Street to visit The Painted Ladies (where they filmed the intro to Full House).  Steeeeeeeep hills and lots of stairs! Then we went to an awesome mall downtown called Westfield Centre.  It was like a traditional 5 story mall, but there were also tons of HUGE stores outside on the street, too.  Forever 21, Old Navy, Gap, Crate & Barrel, J Crew, H&M, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Banana Republic, etc.  Apparently you have to pay 10 cents for a bag in stores there because of a new tax law....!!  That night, we had gumbo for dinner & the adults played an old board game called Acquire.  It was fun once we figured out what we were doing.

Day 5: We drove across the Golden Gate Bridge! We also took a scenic route up into the cliffs and had some amazing views of the bridge & the water.  Grilled chicken for dinner.  Got to see Apple Headquarters.  Matt drove a Porsche! Our nephew Will and I squeezed ourselves into the backseat.  Quite an experience!

A Christmas to remember, for sure!! I will miss you, California! 


  1. My husband's parents live in Los Altos too! We were there for Thanksgiving.

  2. looks like a blast! how was the weather there? We went up to West Jefferson,NC and almost froze to death haha