Getting in the Mood for the Holidays

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My curious puppy examining the Christmas lights (sans his “Ugly Sweater”).

Earlier this week, there was a post from the WordPress blog that got me thinking about the holidays — more specifically, how I get prepared for them (it also inspired me to change my blog theme!). Don’t get me wrong, reading A Christmas Carol was a good start along with eating some candy canes, but it takes a little more than that to get the jingle bells jingling.

Last weekend, my husband took out the Christmas decorations and started putting them up. He had been talking about it for days. He proceeded to decorate in circles around me. Before I  knew it, we had a nicely decorated apartment with lights, snow globes, and other festive touches (Christmas music included) — no thanks to me.

It’s not that I’m a Grinch during the holidays. In fact, my favorite part of Christmas is when I can make a gift and give it to someone in an effort to let them know how much I care about them. I like taking my time to make or choose thoughtful gifts rather than participating in the crazy rat race that is known as Christmas shopping. In recent years, I have done the majority of my shopping online from sites like Amazon and ThinkGeek in an effort to reduce the stress of store shopping, and cost. But this year I have had the time to experiment with different recipes and I’m hoping to make some tasty holiday cookies and breads to give as gifts. I know that it’s labor-intensive, but I’m hoping that everyone will have as much fun eating them as I had making them!

So the number one thing that gets me into the holiday spirit is giving gifts. The second thing is … music! I love Christmas carols. But to be honest, I really enjoy singing Christmas carols.

I grew up singing in choirs. Every year, for every occasion, until my second year of college (I don’t quite remember why I stopped, but it’s something I definitely regret). I think, partly because of that, I associate Christmas (and the spirit of the holidays) with singing. When I was working in a big high-rise building in the Financial District, the property management company go all out for the holidays — handing out candies, hanging big decorations and lights, placing large donation boxes in the lobby, offering a chance to have your picture taken with Santa, and hosting a mini holiday party complete with hot beverages, cookies, and carolers. And every year I would go to the party in the lobby with a few coworkers and feel a pang of jealousy watching the carolers, secretly wishing I was one of them. It wasn’t until I was at Christmas Eve mass with my family that I was somewhat satiated — having an opportunity to sing my heart out to Christmas favorites.

The tipping point for me is really my husband. I am very grateful to have someone in my life that loves Christmas as much as my he does. It is because of him that we have decorations, and it is because of him that we will be getting a Christmas tree. (But it’s because of me that the dog wears his “Ugly Dog Sweater” from Target, which I don’t think is all that ugly.) If it was up to me, Christmas might just be peppermint schnapps and pinecones on the floor (just kidding).

What gets you into the Christmas spirit?

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