10 Things That Make My Holidays Happy

December 10, 2012

Last year (I can admit it now) I was rather Scrooge-like in my participation in holiday events. I just did NOT enjoy the Christmas season, though I did try hard not to show that and spoil everyone else’s fun. I don’t want a repeat this year, so I’m putting some thought into what I really enjoy about the holidays, what I don’t enjoy (and am not going to do) and what makes me feel festive.

Here are 10 things, in no particular order, that I like to do that say “happy holiday season” to me:

Watch A Christmas Story. I can’t tell you why, but this is my all-time favorite Christmas movie, and I have to watch it at least once. I especially like to watch it while wrapping gifts.

Make molasses sugar cookies—for us and for special friends.

Put up a tree. I say this, because the year we went to New York for Christmas, we didn’t put the tree up and I missed having it all through the month of December.

Christmas in New York 
Decorate the house. We live in Florida, but I still decorate like we live in a log cabin somewhere in the forest. Palm trees and sea shells don’t say “Christmas” the way fir and holly do.

Listen to Christmas music and, usually, buy one new Christmas CD for the collection. This year, I’m leaning towards Straight No Chaser’s Holiday Spirits. (What’s your favorite holiday CD?)

Spend a night or two with the TV off, the fireplace burning (weather permitting—this is Florida, after all), the candles lighted, and Christmas music playing. I find this so relaxing—an antidote to any holiday craziness that creeps in.

Put antlers on the dog and a Santa hat on the horse. Because I just have to.

Give thoughtful gifts. I truly enjoy trying to find the most creative and perfect-for-them gifts for my family and friends. We also try to give something to a local charitable organization for families in need.

Have one big family get-together, usually on Christmas day, where all the relatives who live locally come to our house to feast and make merry.

Last year my husband made Beef Wellington!
Watch the Rose Parade on TV on New Year’s Day. I lived in Pasadena, and both attended and worked at the Rose Parade several times. It makes me a little homesick, even though I haven’t lived in California for more than 20 years. The floats and the horses and the marching bands thrill me every time.

Simple holiday pleasures look different for every person, and these are mine. I’m always on the lookout for new ones though, so what makes the holidays happy for you?

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  1. Sounds so good, and this year I have NO momentum at all! My MIL was in the hospital for a full week and is now in a nursing home/rehab 45 minutes away. I need to get the tree put up so it seems like Christmas. Not one present is bought.

    I love your ideas and how you are psyching yourself up, Kathy.

    Kathy M.

  2. Kathy--I'm sorry about your mother-in-law. I hope she will be doing better soon. That sure makes it hard to feel very festive. I'm sure everything will fall into place just fine, and hopefully holiday cheer will help everyone feel better.

  3. Loved hearing about your makings for a special Christmas season. I share many of them with you including watching the Rose Parade after the holidays. I'm itching to bake (and paint), but I've got to do some decorating and clear out my youngest son's room before he arrives home again!! Yikes I better get busy.

    P.S. That Beef Wellington looks fabulous! You are a lucky girl!!

  4. Claire--I'm not surprised that we share some holiday delights! Good luck with the decorating and clearing, and hope you get that time for baking and painting. (I will be baking those cookies this weekend--wish you were here to share them!) And, yes, that Wellington was spectacular. I'm lucky for that reason and many others!

  5. Ever since we got our dog and cat, we haven't put up a tree. This year I've been making ornaments for my housekeeper, who lost her house in a fire over the summer. I enjoy making the ornaments, and she really appreciates them - Christmas is her very favorite time of year. Other than that, I can't say that I've done much for Christmas - except I have bought several gifts. My favorite part of the holidays these days is that we get to see our son and daughter-in-law. I almost said that they come home for Christmas, but since they bought a house, I don't know that this is home anymore. Hmm ...

  6. Love the antlers on your dog! :)

  7. Cheryl--That's so nice that you can make ornaments for your housekeeper--that should help brighten up her Christmas after losing her house.

    I hope you enjoy your time with your son and daughter-in-law--I'm sure it's different preparing for the holidays without having children at home. This might be our last year with our son at home, depending on where he goes to college, so I'm trying to enjoy every minute of it.

  8. Michelle--I think they're so cute, but you can see my her expression she's less impressed.