My 5 Favorite Things about Christmas (post by Anna)
I love Christmas. Thanksgiving is delicious, Valentine’s Day is sweet, and Halloween is spooky, but I look forward to Christmas all year long. What do I love most about Christmas? May I present my five favorite things about this holiday.
- Decorations. The tree, the lights, the garlands — but most all, the Christmas village I painted by hand over the course of more than a decade, beginning in 1997. You can’t buy unfinished plaster villages anymore, so I treasure mine even more. I love arranging the houses and little people every year, and I enjoy the looks on the faces of friends and relatives when they see my handpainted miniature metropolis. I have three Santas, but one always stands atop a building, his goodie sack in hand. My village has a satellite town too, across the house in the kitchen — where I set up the North Pole village, complete with reindeer and, yes, another Santa!
- Food. Christmas just isn’t quite Christmas without turkey, cranberry sauce, frosted cookies, and fruitcake. Yes, I dared mention the dreaded fruitcake. If you think you hate fruitcake, then you absolutely must sample my mom’s trademark homemade fruitcake, complete with booze-soaked candied fruit and coconut. This year, she made it with part bourbon and part apricot brandy. Mmmm, yummy!
- Music. Singing carols while gathered around the piano, with my dad playing the accompaniment, has been a lifelong tradition for me. After his prostate cancer diagnosis a couple years ago, my dad got even more into piano playing and now that his treatments are done, we have even more reasons to sing our praises to God. I also love the secular Christmas songs. I remember throughout my childhood listening to records (actual records, no CDs back then) of Nat King Cole and Tennessee Ernie Ford. My favorite nonreligious Christmas song, though, is Harry Connick Jr.’s “(It Must’ve Been Ol’) Santa Claus,” partly because he sings about his dad standing outside his bedroom saying “ho-ho-ho,” something my dad did too. He never fooled me into thinking he was Santa, but I got a kick out of it anyway. My hands-down favorite Christmas song, however, is “O Holy Night,” particularly when sung by Tennesse Ernie Ford.
- Movies. It just ain’t Christmas without Bing Crosby, Cary Grant, and Nicolas Cage. They star in three of my favorite holiday movies — White Christmas, The Bishop’s Wife, and Trapped in Paradise. In my family, The Wizard of Oz has also become associated with Christmas (and Thanksgiving too). I still love these movies, even after watching them for more years than I care to admit. Okay, it’s in the double digits. That’s the only clue you’ll get! This Christmas, you’ll find me singing along with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and of course, Judy Garland and her Oz pals.
- Togetherness. This is the best part of the holidays, from Thanksgiving through Christmas and on into New Year’s. Family and friends gather for festivities big and little. For as long as I can remember, I’ve decorated cookies with my family while we all crack wise, laugh, and talk about whatever’s going on in our lives at the moment. We’ve gone through scary times, happy times, and in-between times, but through it all we stay together — no matter the distance between us.
What are your favorite things about Christmas? Please share your memories, activities, or whatever makes you smile this time of year.