Holiday Traditions

Have I mentioned yet how much I love Christmastime??!!

There’s no snow [yet] – I’m not complaining – and up until just about a week ago the temperatures were trickily and fantastically spring-like.  So by all accounts for this time of year in Minnesota, it doesn’t necessarily look like Christmas, or seem like it when you step outside.

But, oh!  It is, I can feel it!  I cannot contain my glee for this time of year, it just fills me up.

It would be impossible to narrow it down to only one thing I absolutely love….it’s all the traditions I have grown to love and count on, year after year.  They are comforting, genuine, often simple, humbling, and a reminder of the spirit we should carry throughout the year.

Here are my favorites:

Trimming the tree and house

Okay, so maybe this isn’t quite a “tradition”….it certainly isn’t unique and everyone else puts up a tree and decorates their homes for the holidays.  But still.  I get so excited to transform our house into a winter wonderland for the teensy little fraction of time we get to enjoy it.

Baking with Mom

Remember when we did this last year?  I’m not sure how far back our baking weekends go, but they are treasured by my mom and me (and hopefully to those who eat our treats! 🙂 ).  2012’s is coming up next week, I can’t wait!

Shopping

The malls are crowded and crazy, parking is a nightmare, and some fellow shoppers are kind of grinchy.  Yes, shopping during the holidays can be a test of yuletide cheer, but it’s still something I look forward to.  I love the hustle and bustle, the decorations, the excitement [or horror] to see Santa, the handfuls of shopping bags people are lugging around, the excitement of finding a gift you know is simply perfect.  There’s just a certain, special energy!  It takes a bit of twisting DT’s arm, but when I remind him of the fun we’ve had in years past (and that we’ll reward ourselves with something delicious to eat and drink when we’re finished), he usually perks up and gives in.  😉

Festive dates

This is a bit of a piggy-back on the shopping excursion, but another favorite this time of year is a date somewhere(s) fun and festive.  Most restaurants are dressed to the nines right now with holiday cheer….add to it classy Christmas tunes flowing into my ears (see below), delicious holiday drinks and sweets….ahhh.  I am on cloud nine.

Giving back

Every year my family sets aside resources we would have spent on each other to donate to those in need.  Last year we shopped for a family from my parents’ church who had fallen on hard times.  We’re working with their pastor again this month to buy gifts, household items, a meal, whatever, to someone(s) who could really use a dose of cheer.  It’s a wonderful reminder to us of how fortunate we are and that the season is truly about goodwill toward others.

Holiday music

As with movies this time of year, the music just reels me in, hook-line-sinker.  Two of the local radio stations are playing songs of the season, all day every day (at least one started before Thanksgiving).  Generally, if I’m in my car, there’s a very large probability that I’m listening to one of those stations.  I loaded up our spare iPod with Christmas tunes (from our ridiculously excessive library) to listen on the stereo upstairs.  We’ve got a little bit of everything….Tori Amos, Harry Connick, Jr., Chris Isaak, Bing Crosby, Jimmy Durante, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Vince Guaraldi (A Charlie Brown Christmas), Emerson Lake & Palmer, Crash Test Dummies, She and Him, Mariah Carey (I know)….eep!  I could just roll around in Christmas music, if it were possible and didn’t sound so weird.  P.S.  What is your favorite Christmas carol?  I have too many to count, but one that is definitely at the top and always gives me goosebumps (as long as it’s sung properly) is O Holy Night.

Holiday movies

I just posted on this topic a couple of days ago, so I don’t need to repeat myself [too much].  I love Christmas movies!

The neighborhood lights

DT and I love to watch our neighborhood light up in anticipation of Christmas.  We’ll come home and report “such and such house has lights up!” or  “Such and such house hung decorations on their tree in the front yard!” or “Did you see the tree in the window of such and such house?”  The streets become bright and alive even though everyone has hunkered down for the cold months ahead.  When the weather permits and isn’t 20 below zero, we’ll take a stroll to see all the prettiness up close and in person.  *LOVE!*

What are your favorite holiday traditions?

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