As a girl growing up in the Philippines. I’ve been accustomed to an “All-out-Christmas” which is quite frankly just a regular celebration back home. It is what you would define as: Christmas decorations (and songs) in malls and households as early as September; Going to, no-joke, twenty different events during December, and spending a lot of time with your family until you get sick of them. I remember always having to put a lot of thought and effort into gift buying, because that’s just how everybody did it. I also remember much of the weird traditions in our country, as well as the ones in just our family.

When I moved to the US, I discovered that Christmas is not such a big deal. I mean, obviously they put up the Christmas trees and lights and stuff, but the day itself, is just pretty much a normal day. My friends would go to work, maybe go out for dinner, and that is it. The “Christmas-person” in me was heartbroken. However, we discovered something that we’ve never experienced before: Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is more of what’s celebrated in America. It’s not something my family and I traditionally do, but we’ve always been known to jump at any chance of spending time with each other. We love any excuse to travel together. 

My dilemma ever since I’ve started working, was not being able to request the holidays off. Now that I live in a different state, it’s even more difficult to celebrate with my family who live miles away. So when I found out that I had the Thanksgiving weekend off, I told my family to drive down to Aspen, and I’m so happy that they said yes.

This year, like the past few years ever since we’ve stopped celebrating the “all-out-christmas,” Our family decided to schedule our own celebrations. Myself and my older sister split the holidays so I had the family for Thanksgiving in Aspen, and she was with them for Christmas in Vegas.


It was their first time in Colorado, and it was my little nephew’s first time experiencing snowfall. It was honestly such a surreal experience watching a toddler discover snow for the first time.

I might have possibly given them the worst tour of Aspen, because I’m honestly just not good at giving tours, and my cold ass just wanted to stay inside the hotel and play with my nephew. I also did not realize that Thanksgiving was still part of the town’s off season, so the non-skiers that we were pretty much had absolutely nothing to do. Luckily, they didn’t complain, and it was still such a great few days because we had fun spending time with each other, even if it was just driving or walking around town looking at the view, or staring at the snow fall from our hotel room window.

For actual Christmas, I celebrated with my extended family in Colorado. I went to an Argentinian celebration on the 24th with my co-worker which felt very close to home considering our Christmases are very Spanish influenced. We had a “noche buena” where you basically just pig out while waiting for midnight, and anything that involves food makes me very content. To be honest, I felt a little awkward in the beginning because I think I was the only one who didn’t know how to speak Spanish, so I busied myself with all the great food that I was experiencing for the first time. After the countdown, they decided (in Spanish) to go outside. I was so clueless as to why we were putting our boots and coats on but I just went along with it. We all went outside and had a big snowball fight. It was so much fun, and I hurt my stomach just laughing at how silly us adults were acting. I did learn something new though, “mucho frio” which is pretty much just all I said until the end of the night.

On Christmas Day, I took a gondola ride up the mountain with my friend Aimeeh and we had Christmas-day-lunch while everyone else was doing “Christmas-day-Skiing.” We had an amazing view, great food, and had a lot of fun feeding the birds & doing our little gift exchange. Afterwards, we went to Snowmass to see Nenita and I had a nice Filipino-food dinner with her in my old place.



#findgizel @ the peak of Aspen Mountain

The day after, we had another (late)Christmas dinner at Aimeeh’s with a bunch of her friends and co-workers. Like every single time I’ve spent at Aimeeh’s place: good food,  good wine, and good company. We ended up playing games & watching movies like actual old people that we were. haha!

On New Year’s Eve, I met up again with them to ring in 2019 at the St Regis in Aspen. Yet again, another “mucho frio” night in town, I honestly felt like my toes were going to fall off, but it was so much fun watching the fireworks display and just celebrating with a lot of fun people around.



All in all, despite being away from my family, I’m so happy I’m able to celebrate festivities with my friends and feel a little less homesick. It’s exciting to look forward to a new year with a new place and a promotion, and just having more new people in my life.

Like every year, instead of a resolution, I’m making a promise. 2019 will be a year of more travels and uhh- finding myself. So hopefully, more Find Gizel’s in new places! Also, because of that, I promise to focus more of my energy into writing. Maybe at least 2 entries a month, we will see. For now, I’ve just got a lot of exciting adventures lined up for 2019, and I can’t wait to share it with all of you!!


#findgizel welcoming 2019! Happy New Year!


xx Gizel

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