Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What I Like about Christmas...

I like how all the stores are packed to the gills with Christmas and non-Christmas related items for sale - stuff that you don't often see the rest of the year. I like having more choices, even if some of those extra items are often a bit silly, if not a bit superfluous.

Christmas music
I like Christmas music, especially the classics, but you can OD on this, especially since the same songs are often played on a continuous loop. It’s not really Christmas unless Julie Andrews is singing “Ding Dong Merrily on High.” I also can’t get enough of the Pogues, “Christmas in New York.”

Television & Movies
I like Christmas themed movies and TV programs, but you have to be in the mood for them, and some are better than others (or rather, some are more saccharine than others). Among the new ones this year that I've particularly enjoyed is "Arthur Christmas." Though not a classic, it was still fun, and I delighted in hearing British accents for a couple hours (kind of made me homesick for my adopted country).

I also very much enjoyed the Christmas episode of "The Middle." I thought it was funny how Frankie was in such a good mood after attending a festive event (and had had a little wine), and decided she'd have a holiday open house for her neighbors on Christmas Eve. This sounds like just the sort of thing I would do (if I honestly thought any of my neighbors would be free to come over during the holidays, and would want to). I think my husband would take it with the same sense of humor as Frankie's husband, Mike, since they share many similarities as both men and husbands.

Favorite (newish) classic Christmas TV special - "Shrek the Halls." Being a Shrek fan anyway, I guess it's only natural I'd like the Christmas special, but I especially appreciate that it's not too sappy and sweet, and uses one of my favorite Spice Girls songs, "Christmas Wrapping," a song I certainly don't hear nearly enough during the holidays.

I like getting presents.
I know Christmas shouldn't be about the material things, but that certainly is a big part of the holiday. It's nice to get something new, and even better to get a lot of new somethings, especially when each item is a complete surprise. This is less and less common the older I get since my relatives would much rather rely on my Amazon Wish List instead of using what they know about me to get something original. I know it can be difficult because I am one of those people who, when they want something, usually go out and buy it, so I guess I can't really be too hard on my friends and relatives. After all, it's the thought that counts.

I like giving presents (but sometimes it's a lot of work choosing stuff!). Just so you don't think I'm a total scrooge, the older I get, the more I enjoy seeing the looks on everyone else's faces when they open the gifts I gave them. I pride myself on the thought I put into choosing everything, so it's nice to get that positive feedback when I hit the mark. Of course my relatives could all be really good fakers, but I hope that's not the case.

Visions of sugar plums danced in her head...
I like all the sweets that come out just around the holidays. Of course this is also my Achilles heel since I usually end up eating too much of everything, and then feel bloated and guilty until after the new year. Not sure if I'll do much better this year. I guess I'll just have to try and stay busy and out of the kitchen.

I love, love, love outdoor Christmas lights.
With the nights being long and dark until late spring, it's the one thing that never fails to cheer me up whenever I am out after dark. I especially enjoy those 'Clark Griswolds' who make the extra effort to go all out and create something festive for their neighborhood. Roman, I'm talking about you, and all your neighbors with whom you collaborate. I think it's also great that they accept donations for charity, so everyone benefits. Plus, I noticed one of your neighbors handing out candy canes, so that's a nice gesture as well. Also, a shout out to the residents of the Ridgewood estate. I’ve never seen the neighborhood looking so festive, so a big thanks to everyone for spreading a little holiday cheer.

The candlelight service at a local church
Last year I fancied a change from standing on my tippy-toes in the back corner of my church for the 10pm "midnight" mass, so decided to go to a different church and check out their service. My uncle, always up for an adventure, accompanied me. Although it wasn't quite an adventure, it was a truly wonderful experience. Unlike at my church where it's usually standing room only unless you arrive no less than about an hour early, we were able to sit (and sit quite comfortably I might add) and see everything going on. The homily, given by a pair of youthful ministers was interesting, informative and entertaining. However, the best part of the service was when the lights were turned out and we took turns lighting candles while singing "Silent Night." My sister's mother-in-law said they do that at their church too, and it always moves her to tears, so I'm glad I wasn't the only one misting up.

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