Despite the fact the holidays in Florida are very different than the holidays in Wyoming, there are lots of cozy crossovers that seem to transcend location, age and any other diverse factor this Christmas season.
No matter where I am or who I’m with, the Christmas spirit always seems to find me. Here are a few of my favorite things (all wrapped up in brown paper packages tied up with strings):
1. Peppermint hot chocolate. Starbucks has a really lovely white chocolate version that is worth the expensive red-cup price tag. But you can’t go wrong with stirring your cocoa with a candy cane, or adding mint chips to melt in your cocoa before topping it with marshmallow love. I recall seeing this Calvin and Hobbes comic strip where Calvin stuffs his mug with marshmallows and just uses hot cocoa to fill in the cracks, and that pretty much sums up my philosophy on cocoa.
2. Carols! Ooh, carols everywhere! Top Five Carols: What Child Is This?, O Holy Night, Baby It’s Cold Outside, All I Want For Christmas Is You, I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm. Bonus track: You’re A Mean One, Mister Grinch.
You’re a triple decker sourkraut and toadstool sandwich… with arsenic saaaaaaaauce!!
3. Christmas lights. This is my favorite part of Christmas. I have some sort of ADHD complex or something because every time I see twinkling lights, I get severely distracted. There have been several times I’ve nearly wrecked my car or driven off the road because lights caught my eye. You should see the amount of glittering tinsel in my apartment, lit up by vibrant LED lights from the dollar store that are probably slowly killing the environment.
4. Elvis. Don’t tell me you don’t sing along wholeheartedly to Blue Christmas, because I know you do.
5. The Nutcracker. This is the glue that holds my Christmas together. Every single year since I was a wee tot I’ve either watched the Nutcracker or been in it. Every year I suspend all sense of reality to enjoy the most magical, amazing ballet ever performed. (Although I like to forget the one year I joined the Eugene Oregon Ballet and I played a boy. In the most horrendous purple pants. And a very manly bun.)
6. Christmas cookies. My grandma makes them dotted with red-hot candies. They taste like home. And love.
7. Paper snowflakes. I am kind of a beast at cutting paper snowflakes. Not to brag or anything, but I feel totally like Elsa from Frozen, throwing out ice crystals, only instead of using magical powers I use craft scissors and copy paper and lots of glitter.
8. Gingerbread! My gingerbread houses always look a little wrecked, and for some reason my brothers and I always fashion a man in a bathtub chillin’ on the front porch, but it’s a classic tradition. We also tend to not want to eat it because of the sticky, messy effort we put into it, so it just hangs out until about New Years, when we take a hammer to it on the frozen porch.
9. Mexican Wedding Cookies. Don’t ask me why we make wedding cookies at Christmas. It’s just a thing.
10. Reading the Christmas story. I know everyone says it every year, but behind the Santa hats (conveniently placed on our displayed antlers back home from hunting season) and the tinsel and the lights, Christmas is really about the most amazing Gift the world has ever known. And I know in this politically correct world, it’s taboo to bring up the meaning of Christmas in public forums, heaven forbid someone is celebrating Kwanza instead. But you know what? I’m all about putting the Christ back in Christmas. I’m all for students celebrating Christmas break, not this “Winter Vacation” nonsense. I stand behind people who proudly wish customers a “Merry Christmas!” instead of a “Happy Holidays!” or “Season’s Greetings!” Christmas is about the birth of a king to save a wretched people, and there is nothing on earth like the Christmas story. It’s a miracle, an amazing one, that we tend to lose behind the snowfall and the mistletoe. We were blessed with a God that loved us enough to send his son to save our lives, and that’s the meaning of Christmas.
And as much as I love the lights and the cookies and the stocking stuffers, that will always be the best part of Christmas: the remembering and the celebrating of the gift of divine love.
In comparison, my presents don’t really seem all that great.
Although I did wrap them quite beautifully with the sparkliest wrapping paper I could find, naturally.
So tell me, what’s your favorite tradition around the holidays? Is it watching Eloise At Christmastime (the world’s best Christmas movie ever) or maybe gift shopping with your crazy aunts and cousins?
Share in the comments!