Today’s blog comes from a Daily Writing Prompt. I thought this was a fun idea. Some of my answers came immediately, while others I had to think a little bit. Here is the prompt: “Make an alphabetized list of the 26 best things about the holiday season, with one item for each letter. Choose your favorite thing and write a short paragraph about why you love it.”
A Christmas Carol.
Every year since junior high school I have read this amazing tale of Ebenezer Scrooge’s transformation by Charles Dickens. I also listen to Patrick Stewart’s wonderful audio performance, as well as watch the many movie versions. No matter how many times I hear this story, it always makes me happy.
The holidays are a time where we reflect on what we are thankful for, and a time for counting our blessings. In years past, I suffered from severe depression and often never really was conscious of those things. With the changes in my life, I am much more aware of how blessed I am. I have so many things to be thankful for and I am truly blessed in more ways than I can count!
To borrow a phrase from Sesame Street – “C is for Cookie.” Every year as kids, my brother and I would wait for my grandma to ship us a huge tin can of cookies! She would make Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal, Sugar, Ice Box, and so many more. The cookies pictured above are called Pizzelle cookies. My grandma always made them at Christmas! My brother still has her pizzelle maker. Today, I still make the Chocolate Chips from a recipe she had in a metal index card box!
Dante’ & Dimitri
My sons. Sharing the holidays with them means so much to me. I LOVE watching their excitement as they open their presents. I love spending time with them, whether it is watching TV, playing a video or board game, or just having a heart to heart talk. They continue to grow into fine young men, and I am proud to be their father.
I LOVE eggnog! My grandmother always had it for us at Christmas. There used to be an eggnog mix that she would buy, but I can’t find it anywhere anymore. My brother and I used to drink this like water! I recently discovered a “custard” eggnog that was really good, too! All things eggnog – I like: McDonald’s Eggnog Shakes, Starbucks Eggnog Latte’s, and even the alcoholic eggnog! There was a place in Frankenmuth that had a drink called the “dirty elf” – it was eggnog with a shot of Fireball whiskey in it – SO good!
Family and Friends.
What would the holidays be with out them?! When I look back on holidays of the past, they are special because of the friends and family who were present! I look forward to the holidays each year because it means special times with these special people in my life.
When I think about Christmas, I always think about garland! My mom used to string it on the tree. She’d hang it on walls, wrap it around things, hang Christmas Cards from it – it was everywhere! We had gold and silver garland, thick and thin garland, and even garland with snowflakes on it. I don’t use it today, because I know our cats will just eat it.
I have blogged about this enough that you had to see this coming! I love Christmas music. There are so many wonderful memories connected to specific holiday songs. While there are some songs that bring tears to my eyes, the majority of them bring me so much happiness.
EVERY Christmas Eve – my grandma made ravioli. That was part of our tradition. We also had breaded steak with ammoglio (moy-gyoo) sauce. She always made an Italian feast. I have tried to keep this tradition going, even though my sauce is no where close to being as good as hers.
This is two-fold. First, the sound of jingle bells goes hand in hand with the holidays. To me, there is something about hearing those bells that makes it feel like Christmas. Second, it is one of those holiday songs that I love. It’s probably THE universal Christmas song. My favorite versions are done by Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Doc Severinsen & The Tonight Show Band, The Glenn Miller Orchestra, and SO many other versions!
Also known as Santa Claus. He’s the subject of many Christmas songs. Millions of children sit on his lap and convey their Christmas list to him. In one night, he delivers millions of toys to good little girls and boys!
I love Christmas lights. When I first got my driver’s license I would pop a cassette tape of Christmas music in and I would drive around looking at the lights. I remember driving around Jefferson Avenue where all these huge mansions were. They would have their lights done by professionals and they were just amazing. Walking through Wild Lights at the Detroit Zoo, or taking the Christmas train at Crossroads Village to see lights is also a treat! I love the way they look and enjoy them more and more every year.
In a world where most communication is done by phone, e-mail, or text messages, I really enjoy getting Christmas cards in the mail. I also love getting the “year in review” letters in them. I can never understand why people diss these letters, because I love to read about what my friends and family have done over the past year. I love when they include pictures from the past year, too. I also love family photo Christmas cards. I used to send them every year. Sam and I were just talking about how we need to get better at sending them.
No surprise here, especially since 95% of this blog is about nostalgia! When the holidays come around, I get VERY nostalgic. I think of my grandparents, my mother, and remember the good times we shared. I remember past gifts. I remember past relationships. I remember good times and bad times. There are many memories connected with the holidays for me.
One thing I love about Christmas ornaments is that when you put up your tree, as you unwrap each ornament, it brings back a memory. Every year, Sam and I go to Bronner’s in Frankenmuth and get an ornament that signifies an even from the past year. This year’s ornament is obviously about us expecting our baby. We have an ornament from when we got married and when we got engaged. I have a few ornaments that I brought with me when I moved in with Sam. One of those ornaments is from 1977! It was an ornament that we all got when we were in Catechism in 2nd grade. It is an ornament of the baby Jesus. It is the oldest ornament I have.
When I was a kid, it was all about what presents I was getting. As an adult, and as a parent, your focus shifts. It becomes about what special gift you buy for someone else. What can I get that will make the boys smile? What is the perfect gift for my wife? What do I get for my dad, who seems to have everything? It truly is better to give than to receive, but it is also nice to get something special from someone, too.
I know, this seems impossible! I would agree to a certain extent. Many holiday gatherings are noisy as hell, but I am speaking of a specific quiet. One of my favorite things is standing outside after a snowfall, just listening to the quiet of the neighborhood. There were many times I’d be out shoveling the walk, and stop just to enjoy the quiet of a winter day.
Sure, I love the Rankin and Bass TV special! I, however, and talking about the above decoration. My grandma had these, and so did we! This decoration was made of melted plastic. Pinterest calls this a “melted plastic popcorn wall or window hanging decoration”. There was a Snowman, a Christmas Tree and a Santa in a sleigh decoration, too. My grandma hung 9 of these reindeer and the Santa in a sleigh on the wall every year! Man, do I miss seeing this every year!!!
One of the things I love about living in Michigan is that we see all four seasons. The holidays without snow are very disappointing to me. If it is mid to late December and there is no snow, the song White Christmas really hits home. I NEED to have snow on Christmas! It is just one of those things that makes the holiday mean more. I love the beauty of snow on the ground and stuck to the trees … but, yes, I do hate driving in it!
You can check out the blog I wrote a week or so ago entitled “Oh Christmas Tree” to read about why this means so much to me. For now, just know that it is one of the things I LOVE about the holidays.
I really didn’t have a lot of “U” options. I don’t like underwear for Christmas, but I put it here because of something I started seeing a few years ago. I guess you would call it a meme today. I see it posted on Facebook a lot and it makes me laugh:
Again, a two-fold answer. (1) Vacation time? Yes, I do get some time off during the holidays, but nothing real big. I wish I had the opportunity to actually take a few weeks off around the holidays, but that never is possible for me. (2) Christmas Vacation Movie? Who doesn’t love this Christmas film. There are so many great lines and characters in this film! Come on – you know any time you pass a house with a gazillion lights on it you call it the “Griswold house”!!
She makes EVERYTHING in my life special. The holidays are already a special time for me, but spending them with her make them extra special. There is not enough space on the internet for me to write about how much she means to me, how much I love her, and how happy she makes me. I am so lucky to call this beautiful woman my friend, my partner, and my wife. For Christmas this year, she is giving me the best present ever … she arrives in February.
X’s and O’s
Ok, it was hard to come up with something beside Xylophone for X! X’s and O’s are hugs and kisses. Hugs and kisses from friends and family during the holidays make the season special.
Year Without a Santa Claus.
You should have saw this coming, too! Last year, many characters made a Christmas blog and this year I wrote an entire blog on it. I HAVE to watch this every year! I also have to listen to the Miser Brothers songs in the car during the holidays.
Yet another stretch, but Holiday Zzzzz’s are something I certainly look forward to! In Twas The Night Before Christmas they talk of a “long winter’s nap”. In my opinion, any time I can grab a nap over the holidays, it’s a good thing!!!
That was a fun blog to write! Now it’s your turn. What are your “holiday letters”? I’d love to read them …