Those of you who know me well, know I love a good list. I thought it might be a fun exercise to share with you my favorite parts of the holiday season alphabet-style.
A Advent calendars. We have moved long past the cheap little chocolate santas, my friends. Now there are holiday socks, wine, Godiva, coffee. A nice little treat each day.
B Blogging! My family has been writing this blog for 11 years. It’s a fun mental exercise as well as an effective time capsule.
C Cards that I look forward to giving and getting every year. Even though some people we only touch base with annually, the human connection continues!
D Donations. One night of Hanukkah is devoted to giving in our family. Over the years the kids have donated for musical instruments in a community in Africa, my orchestra, a children’s foundation, save-the-manatees and many more!
E Evergreens in a White Christmas. I was born in a blizzard. Enough said.
F Family and friends. I love all the special get togethers that happen this time of year, all at once. So much so that we sail right through dark and cold January recovering from the festivities.
G Gifts that one gets that are unexpected. As in a casual friend brings you something. Truly the Christmas spirit and can make your day.
H Holiday movies new and old. Classics like White Christmas and Christmas in Connecticut, new classics such as Polar Express and Elf, and new favorites like Klaus.
I Icy Roads. Hear me out. When the roads are icy, one must stay home. One year we spent Christmas out at my parents. At the end of the day, we all piled into our cars to head home. The temperature had gone down and the roads got very slippery. After about 20 minutes, the three-car caravan turned around and went back to their house. An extra night of Christmas! We talked about that for years after.
J Jingle Bells. So distinctly Christmas-y. I have a cheap set. One of these days I am going to work up the courage to bring them to our Christmas Eve caroling and shake them during Jingle Bells!
K King of Kings! In high school we used to sing the Hallelujah Chorus, and of course we sing it at Christmas mass. If that doesn’t liven your spirit up to the heavens, I don’t know what will!
L Lights. Lights on our Christmas trees, in people’s yards, and on our Menorah.
M Music, starting the day after Thanksgiving. I like to play all different kinds of styles of Christmas music throughout the house. Two favorites of mine that you have never heard of: Aspenglow and Christmas for Cowboys (both by John Denver).
N New versions of A Christmas Carol. We have seen many movie versions, a local stage production in downtown NYC, and will soon see the Broadway version where one actor plays all 50 parts. Love the creativity.
O Ornaments. I think we have somewhere near 1,000. Fun fact: you absolutely cannot fit 1,000 ornaments on a real live tree. Consequently, we were forced to buy a second, artificial tree. Still not enough room. Plus, we get new ornaments when we travel every year. It’s a challenge.
P Poinsettias, wreaths and real trees. Each year we go to the nursery and pick out an interesting new variety of poinsettia, a real tree, and a way-too expensive wreath. So pretty!
Q Quick visits from my neighbors. Last year the new neighbors popped by with some holiday treats. Such a lovely gesture from some good people.
R Roast beef, or how we do it German style, Sauerbraten. Many years ago my father combined the recipes of several family members and came up with the best version ever. Tastes like Christmas!
S Store windows festively decorated for the Christmas season are the absolute best.
T Traditions! The things that we do every year. One of these that I have not told you yet is each year my husband and daughter have a Daddy/Daughter shopping day. Cherished times.
U Unwrapping presents. Presents are everywhere in our house! Advent calendars, daily Hanukkah presents, birthday presents, and of course Christmas morning.
V Vacation isn’t so much our thing at Christmas, but at New Year’s it is fair game. We have rung in the new year in Iceland, Key West, Okemo, Vegas and Antarctica – as the ship closest to the South Pole in the world at midnight.
W Warcake – it’s my traditional birthday cake. It’s a thing. Google it.
Y Yuletide Log on the television. Why is that darn thing so enticing?!
Z Zucchini latkes. And beet latkes. And of course, potato latkes! Love our family tradition of hosting a big Hanukkah party for our family and friends.
Thanks for reading!