A Few of My Favorite Things: Holiday Edition

One more holiday-themed post before we get back to the regular programming. Here on Deep-Fried Friday, I like making lists. Top 10 Lists. So “raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens,” yada-yada-yada . . . a few of my favorite things around the holidays:

10. Nutcrackers. I don’t even own a nutcracker, although I wish someone would get me one already. But I love seeing all of the variations of the wooden nutcrackers around the holidays. (This does not mean that I like that ballet, however. I never really understood that story.)

pic from http://www.nutcrackermania.com

 9. Wassail. I love this hot spice-laden beverage that warms your whole body throughout. I have never made the mulled punch myself, although I think I should give Christine Ashworth’s mulled wine a try too.

pic from http://www.tasteofhome.com

8. Christmas Lights Reflected in Water. I enjoy Christmas lights around town and in my neighborhood. But growing up in Corpus Christi, Texas, I loved when people strung lights on their boats at the T-heads (harbor).

I also delighted in seeing the lights on the San Antonio Riverwalk – which are always lit in a celebration the day after Thanksgiving.

There is something not only about the bright lights, but the way they reflect upon the water that moves me. Now I may to take a trip to Kemah or Galveston to check out the lights there.

7. Hallelujah Chorus. I was in my high school choir, and we had a tradition of singing The Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah at the end of every Christmas concert. Alumni were invited to come up and join in, if you could still reach all of those notes somehow. I find the lyrics and music uplifting. If the song ever comes on, I sing with it at the top of my lungs. Watch out, people!

Here’s an interesting version:

6. Holiday Parties. I know that some of them are obligatory. But they can also be quite fun! I’ve attended some great get-togethers over the years – from office parties to Christmas progressive dinners to my personal favorite, a New Year’s Eve fondue party. There is a festive spirit at such gatherings, with Christmas carols in the background, decorations all around, yummy food, and a chance to connect socially.

5. My kids’ excitement. Yes, this ranks somewhere in the middle. On one hand, it’s so much more fun to have Santa Claus and Christmas with a wide-eyed 6 – or even 14 – year old in your house! However, children are by nature impatient little creatures. They count down the Advent calendar like it’s a NASA liftoff. And to them, I suppose it does feel a bit explosive when the day finally arrives. Still, seeing the holiday season through children’s eyes gives it a sense of wonder that I hadn’t felt since . . . well, since I was a child.

Not my kid, but ain't she cute?

4. Christmas Carols. Beyond Hallelujah Chorus, there is a slew of great music out there for the holidays. Personally, I like the more traditional stuff best: Bing Crosby crooning White Christmas, Johnny Mercer and Margaret Whiting singing Baby, It’s Cold Outside, and literally anything by Dean Martin. But there is also room in my playlist for such great songs like The Carpenters’ Merry Christmas, Darling, Harry Connick Jr.’s What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve, Bruce Springsteen’s Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, Cynthia Basinet’s Santa Baby, and the recent She & Him version of The Christmas Waltz. My favorite Christmas carol, however, is O Holy Night, and I love the rendition by Martina McBride. Here’s an acapella version from McBride on Opry Live. Wow.

3. Hubby Off Work. My husband usually gets several days off work at the end of the year. It’s a nice change to have him around, and we get quality time with our kids and with each other. I’d post a picture of the hunky hubs here, but I’m saving it for Roni Loren’s Boyfriend of the Week someday. 😉

2. A Charlie Brown Christmas. Although I liken myself to the Grinch at times during the holiday season, every December I aspire to be more like Linus in understanding the true meaning of Christmas. I love the whole show written by the brilliant Charles M. Schulz, but this monologue is the best part:

1. Friends and Family. I am blessed to have wonderful people in my life, and that number has grown in this year of blogging, tweeting, and meeting fellow authors. I have also reconnected with high school and college friends in the last few years. My circle is growing, and it includes some amazing people.

There are some who dread this time of year because it reminds them of their loneliness. I hope that we can reach out to our loved ones and to others and treasure them more than the gifts we receive this season.

Your turn: What are a few of your favorite things over the holidays?