My Top 10 Christmas Traditions
I LOVE Christmas time. Truly, from about Halloween on, I’m all about the tinsel, the trees and the music (why do they have to stop the Xmas carols on the 26th?!). For years now it’s just been my mom and me during the holiday season, but we’ve got our traditions…and they start early…even before we carve the Thanksgiving turkey.
- We decorate on Thanksgiving day. It used to be the day after Thanksgiving, but I spent years working in retail and we all know what that means. No one gets black Friday off, so our decorating begins as the aroma of roasting turkey and baking pies hits the atmosphere.
- We put up 3 Christmas trees. That’s right. 3. Of varying sizes of course. We have our 7″ (fake) tree that takes hours to put up, light, and decorate. Then we have our smaller, 3″ tree that’s reserved only for Harry Potter ornaments and my Grandfather’s tree-top angel. Then there’s my favorite tree–the small, 2″ tree my Grandmother had in her bedroom every holiday season, covered in hand-made needlepoint and tatted ornaments, topped with an antique glass topper that once upon a time cost .10 cents at the Five and Dime. Once that tree is up, Christmas has arrived.
- Make the egg-nog! Okay, this is a polarizing issue. Some people hate it, others love it. Me, I was in the middle (calories, ugh!) until I discovered a “fake” eggnog recipe that’s made from soy or almond milk and vanilla pudding mix. I LOVE it–and you can find it at HungryGirl.com. I’ve served it to so many people and no one has ever guessed it’s fake.
- Garth Brooks. I’m not a big music fan. And I’m really not a country fan. Okay, I confess. I’m a leftover metal head from the 80’s, but for me, the perfect Christmas album is by Garth Brooks. I love hearing him sing the traditional carols with a twangy twist. And more than a little heart.
- A Christmas Carol. Everyone has their favorite holiday movie and I’m no exception. At least once during the season I need to watch A Christmas Carol…but not any version (and not, oddly enough, the Patrick Stewart version, despite being a die-hard Trekkie). The George C. Scott version hits all the right notes in both homage to Dickens and to the season’s spirit (ahem, literally and figuratively).
- Party! Everyone’s always so busy, it’s hard to get people together, even around the holidays. But every year I have one dinner that includes my 2 best friends and my Godmother. I cook (like a maniac) and we open gifts and share all sorts of memories and goodies. It’s a tradition we had to miss last year for various reasons, but for me, that day, is even better than Christmas.
- Legos! So, like I said, it’s usually just me and mom on Christmas and if there’s one thing we have in common it’s our love of (and fascination with) Legos. Mom and I head to either Target or the Lego store well in advance of Christmas and choose a set to assemble on Christmas day while music plays on the stereo and dinner cooks in the oven. Last year it was The Hobbit; the 2 years before that, it was Harry Potter (Hogwarts and The Hogwarts Express respectively). Not sure what this year might bring…maybe some superheroes? Someday it’ll be the Death Star. Fingers crossed!
- A drive. We’re so fortunate to live where we do in Northern California. Sacramento has some beautiful old areas that go all out for the holiday season. Typically a few days before Christmas, we’ll head out just after sunset to explore the lighted homes and marvel at people’s creativity. The beauty stays with me for months…which probably explains why I was able to write a Christmas story in March.
- Shopping. I’m an early shopper for presents. I’m usually done sometime around Thanksgiving (you may commence hating me now). But I love venturing out closer to the holiday, to those little holes in the walls, the non-chain places that house treasures of the season you might not find other places. Seeing new and different, feeling that cold chill on my cheeks as I go in and out of the stores…is there anything better?
- Celebrating dreams coming true. The holiday season in the perfect time to reflect on the past year and to see how far I’ve come to fulfilling my dreams. Nearly 1 year ago to the day of this post, I got “the call” from my friend Melinda, letting me know my first story was going to be published. This story, THE CHRISTMAS WISH. I could not have had a more perfect gift, or have found a better time for my dream of finally being a published author to come true. Because they do. This story is proof.
So how about you? Share your favorite holiday traditions in the comments below. Maybe I’ll be adding yours to mine this year and celebrate in even grander fashion..
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