One last bit of holiday-related stuff. Here are ten things that I love about the holiday season.
1. I’m always delighted to unwrap our Christmas ornaments. I love finding little bits of prettiness that have been packed away all year.
2. My brother-in-law is arriving today! (I misread the dates and thought he was coming on Sunday, but it’s a good thing he didn’t; the snowstorm mucked up the whole eastern seaboard, so he probably wouldn’t have been able to get here, anyway). He had told me this summer that he probably wouldn’t be coming back for the holiday. I was disappointed, but I accepted it; he makes the trek from warm Alabama to chilly New England every year (and has for all of the 17 years I’ve been with the Chili family). When he told me that he’d bought his tickets for this trip, I was positively delighted. I love my Bruder, and I love having him around for the holidays.
3. Presents. I’m not going to pretend that gifts – both the giving and receiving – are not a part of what I love about this time of year. I really like giving people things that surprise them or that they use all year (I was thrilled the other day to see my father-in-law wearing a sweater I gave him a year or two ago). I don’t know that I have any “winner” presents this year, but I do know that I’ve ordered something for Mr. Chili that he’s totally not expecting, but that is going to delight him.
4. Food! Oh, my, but I love the food that we have around this time of year! I started a tradition last year of making a prime rib roast for Christmas, and it’s a tradition I intend to carry on this year (in fact, the roast is already ordered). There are some foods (like the creamed onions) that I only make around the holidays, and some candies (After 8 mints, for example) that we only have at this time of year. They embody the holiday for me, and I love them all.
5. Fellowship. (I never said this list was in any kind of hierarchical order). For me, Christmas really is about being with the people I love, whether they are friends or family. I try to make a point of being with the people I care about all through the year, but somehow having them near me at Christmastime is that much more special. I love the New Year’s Eve tradition I have with the Boywer family, the Boxing Day breakfast with the Wayfarer clan, and I’m looking forward to seeing Kizz on Christmas Eve day and the Falcon family on the Sunday after Christmas for meatballs and football.
6. The stories. As I write this, my students are watching Patrick Stewart’s A Christmas Carol. The girls and I have plans to see Miracle on 34th Street. I’m going to see if I can snag A Charlie Brown Christmas and Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town on TiVo (I LOVE the Winter Warlock; “I’m not such a loser after all!”).
7. Vacation. Two weeks of unstructured time (well, for the most part)! Being with my little family, lazing about in our jammies, doing what we want rather than what we must, and sleeping in are all things I very much enjoy during the holiday season.
8. The music. While I have a very low tolerance for Christmas music in general, there are a few days out of the year when I set my iTunes to my holiday play list and let it go on for the whole 14.7 hours. I’m particularly fond of monks, jazz, and acoustic guitar.
9. The sentiment of the season. While the holidays often bring out the crazy in people (who are mostly, let’s face it, already pretty crazy to begin with), it is also a time when many at least pay lip service to the idea of kindness, generosity, and compassion. If some of that sticks to at least one person who carries it through the rest of the year, it’s worth it. It matters.
10. The pretty. I love pulling into my driveway at night and seeing our tree glowing happily in the windows. I love the candles and the soft glow about our house this time of year. I love the lights that other people put up on their houses and trees (though some go way overboard). I like the glow of white lights on snow (this is the one week out of the year that I LIKE snow…). I love gaily wrapped presents, wreaths on doors, and flowers and candles on the table. The Christmas season rivals my appreciation of spring in terms of aesthetics; it is a very pretty time of year.
Happy, Merry, Everyone!