festive fêtes

The holiday season launched into full swing around here pretty early this year and I, for one, had a ball. It felt like every day brought a new celebration, happy hour, party, or outing. While I knew my introverted side was going to want to crawl in a hole and not talk to anyone for at least a week come January (and I was right), my December extrovert was in heaven. 

We kicked off the holiday season very early with a wine-room christening at my godparents'! They converted their storage space in their basement into a 600-bottle wine cellar, and we all went over to eat, drink, be merry, and drink more. My aunt Kris was in town from Canada, which meant all my favorite females were officially together and shenanigans were bound to ensue...especially with wine involved! We busted out my cousin Sara's wedding veil, danced in front of the TV to block out our (least) favorite weatherman, and sent Instagrams to the littler cousins.

Andrew and Alyssa were kind enough to invite Stu and me to join them at the Minnesota Orchestra for a spectacular performance of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No.5, among other bassoon features. I'm a dork for anything orchestral, and we had a lovely evening with dinner out at Zelo, the show, and a nightcap at Brits!

The day after Thanksgiving, my parents, Em and I kicked off Christmas with Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" at the Orpheum! We dined at Ike's before and enjoyed the show in all its campy, cheesy, heartwarming glory. 

The four of us wound down the Thanksgiving weekend with the first of many trips I made to the first annual Minneapolis Holiday Market! There was spiced wine, there were brats, there were nutcrackers, and there was much German. I think I dragged every single friend I HAVE there with me...some even twice. It was so cute!

My parents and I also treated ourselves to an evening of Jazz at Lincoln Center and Wynton Marsalis in early December! I'd never seen Wynton live, which is a travesty for anyone as obsessed with jazz as I am. He more than lived up to my dreams...the show was so dynamic and fun, and their soloist, Cecile McLorin Salvant, was unbelievable. 

Our annual holiday department outing is a bit unorthodox...our entire floor goes curling! It's shockingly harder than it looks...especially after the hours of drinking that accompanied our White Elephant liquor exchange. I'm apparently a natural though, aka I stayed on my feet (most) of the time and could get the 50 pound stones down to the other end right on target. Our team triumphed! Check out that placement. 

I hosted my book club! Even though though this month we hit a new low and didn't actually pick a book! But it's okay! Hannah got me this cute plate of cookies and life was good, even without literature. 

As Christmas crept closer, my family had another major milestone to celebrate...little brother Jonathan returned from Europe right in time to turn 21! We started the celebration around noon on his birthday...

...and continued it right into the next day, with a delicious dinner at J.D. Hoyt's. Here's to all three of the Schwegman kids making it through young adulthood without a minor, woo hoo!

Claire, LizzieBear and I did the unspeakable and went to Sneaky Pete's on a Tuesday...the night before the night before Christmas! It was an absolute riot...new lows of ridiculousness. 

After Jonathan's birthday, I had a far more distinguished one to celebrate...my dear friend Rabes, boyfriend of Claire, turned 27. Although his true age is, as he claims, closer to 65, we drank aplenty, partied down and toasted to Aubrey in style. 

And we closed out the festive season with the ultimate...New Year's Eve! This year, friends Kellan and Mollie hosted dozens of us at their lovely townhome. We snacked, played endless rounds of slapcup in the toasty-warm heated garage, and, of course, memorialized the debauchery in endless photos. 

Wheeee! Just reliving it all is exhausting. I'm almost glad it's January and I get to be a little more antisocial. I had so much fun with my fantastic friends and family...it was truly a holiday season to remember!