Lest you think my heart has grown two sizes too small, here’s a happier list of things I DO like this time of year.
1) Holiday Cards
Christmas Cards are like reading People Magazine articles about people you actually know.
Call me crazy, but I actually LOVE getting holiday cards. I love seeing how people’s families have grown, and I like hearing about everyone’s year. (Even if the pictures are all taken in matching outfits during a once in a lifetime vacation to someplace out-of-this-world, right before their 4-year old was accepted to Yale and right after their cat died of feline leukemia.) Plus, who doesn’t like getting mail?
2) Holiday Baking
Sprinkles = joy!
I love to bake. Because of how I was raised, I feel a lot of joy when I’m in the kitchen. Cooking is what you do in order to eat. Baking is what you do in order to feel. My kids and I make huge batches of sweet rolls every year and deliver them to friends and neighbors. It’s become a tradition - one that we all love. My mom and I have made green wreaths with red-hot holly berries out of corn flakes and marshmallows for Christmas Eve as long as I can remember. My kids and I make iced sugar cookies during December. My grandma always made a Cardamom braid for Christmas morning. Food has meaning and memories and can be shared. When someone gifts me with a special batch of something they have baked themselves, I feel honored, because baking takes time and someone’s time is far more valuable to me than their money.
3) UGG boots
Sweaters for your body - bad. Sweaters for your feet - good.
4) Pine tree smells.
We have a fake tree, but this year I’m almost tempted to tolerate the endless needle-dropping for the luxury of inhaling pine for a month. It’s the official smell of the holidays as far as I’m concerned.
When I was growing up, it was all about the stocking. We opened our regular presents on Christmas Eve and went to bed that night anticipating the bounty that Santa would leave in our stocking. My mom packed ours with every “little” thing that she knew would tickle our fancy. Without fail, our stocking would also include an orange in the toe and one of those humongous peppermint sticks that looks like a relay baton. I really believe that when you stop to think about it, it’s not the gigantic, flashy items that count, it’s all the small things. No matter how old we got, our stockings were the perfect snapshot of who we were and what we loved at that moment in time. The one part of holiday shopping that I do love is picking out all the trinkets for my own kids because I know those are the things that will truly delight them.
6) Warm blankets
My kids have all inherited my obsession with blankets. We have dozens and they are all warm, cozy and soft. If they have a plug and heating coils? All the better.
7) Baby Jesus
Is there anything more glorious than the birth of a child?
Coffee - or cocoa - or both.
The weather is getting frightful around here. During my runnings-around the other day, I took sanctuary in a Barnes & Noble with a steaming Salted Caramel Mocha. It gave me the strength I needed to go back into the cold.
See…I can be George Bailey too! I even gave you 8 instead of 6!