I've been Christmas shopping in the rain. It's not white, but at least it feels like a season other than summer...
Every time I hit a Christmas milestone, like hosting twelve for dinner last Saturday night, I think, OK, that's done. Now I can coast. Then I remember the next milestone. Like shopping and cards, which I've ignored until now.
One of my favorite things about Christmas is visiting (fill in the blank) Museum with my granddaughter and whoever else wants to come along on Christmas Eve. This year it'll be the Natural History Museum of LA County - same as last year because we love it so much. On Christmas Eve you have the place to yourself, and they serve a darn good lunch. Sooo much fun.
Another of my favorite things is getting Christmas cards - particularly if they're fat with (oft-maligned) Christmas letters inside. I'm a total sucker for those letters.
I love Christmas music. Especially churchy Christmas music - Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel. The Hallelujah Chorus. O Come, All Ye Faithful. Silent Night. We Three Kings. Anything instrumental and flutey. (Hate hate hate Jingle Bell Rock. Argh.)
I love Christmas decorations with sparkly stuff - gold paint and glitter and that sort of thing. It's gotta stay inside, though - I'm not big on ostentatious yard displays; and plastic blow-up stuff? Puh-leeze. A simple strand of lights along the roof line is about all I want to see.
I love peppermint bark. 'Nuff said.
My son makes the most incredible eggnog. I was not sold on the idea the first time around - he puts the liquor and (raw) eggs together in the cupboard for some ungodly amount of time (countable in weeks!), which sounds like a recipe for a Christmas Day spent running to the bathroom, if not actual death. It doesn't turn out that way, though. Apparently the liquor renders the eggs harmless as well as delicious. He adds the cream at the very end because liquor doesn't work the same magic on milk products. Anyway, it tastes stupendous.
I'm pretty sure there are other things I like, having to do with hope and brotherhood and new beginnings. But those border on the maudlin so I won't get into it them now. I'll leave it at this: Christmas is the best anticipatory event of the year.
Update: In rereading this today, I find that I was a little hard on yard displays. I like lights in trees and bushes outside - especially the tiny multicolored ones that my neighbor has scattered over the rosemary growing under his tree in the front yard. Also, I'm partial to those deer shapes with the white lights, and I like wooden cutouts like the moose and deer I see here and there. I really don't like plastic blow-up santas, though, and I don't think I ever will.