So the holiday season is coming up and I am SO excited. I love the winter holidays so I thought I would talk about it a little (okay, or a lot since this is a long post)!
Thanksgiving will be a little disappointing this year. Back in Ohio, the entire family is getting together, but we really can’t make it this year due to money. My husband’s mom and stepfather are taking his grandmother back to Georgia, so they will be there, we have problems with his father’s side, and his sister is going to her in-laws. We don’t really want to make the big dinner for just us, so we have reservations for a diner that we love. It just wont be the same. I haven’t had my mom’s stuffing for two years now and I miss it! Thanksgiving is about being with your family and we will be disappointed. At least we have the parade to watch!
And then there is Christmas – my favorite holiday of all. My family goes all out for Christmas. The house is Ohio is completely decorated inside and has lights on the outside. We used to decorate the weekend after Thanksgiving (while listening to Christmas music for the first time!) when we were all there, but now my parents do it a little at a time over that first week. I really miss helping them decorate. They will get a tree usually two weeks before Christmas and we would always decorate it together (we have so many ornaments!), and make hot chocolate but now they will do it alone. When I was in college I would come home about a week before and they would wait…I miss that a lot too.
Then you get to actual Christmas. On Christmas Eve, we go to church for the “Family mass” at 5 – my parents, my brother, my grandmother, my husband and I. It used to be because I was in the children’s choir, but now it is just tradition. Since it is the family mass, the sermons can be really funny, and my brother and I have to bite our lips to keep from laughing. I am sure this makes me a bad person, but I can’t help it…one year it was about the three-legged lamb that gave up his area for Jesus.
We get home, and magically the “Pajama Santa” has been there. We can’t open the gifts until after dinner though – and what a dinner it is! We have my dad’s tenderloin which has been marinating for three days and it is my favorite meal ever! After dinner we open the gifts and get new pajamas and a book. Sometimes my parents will get each other slippers too!
The next morning, we exchange gifts with the people who are there and it is always WAY too much stuff…but we all get things on major sales, so that makes it more reasonable. I always get all my winter clothes then – unless I am desperate for something. We open our stockings first, then the gifts. After that round, my dad makes a great breakfast!
My cousins and aunt and uncle live in Indiana, so we mail each other gifts and open them after breakfast. We then get ready, clean up, and start getting food together for when the rest of the family comes over. My grandpa and his wife and my uncle and his girlfriend come over around 3. We snack then have round 4 of gifts. Now, there is more socializing before the gifts. When we were younger, my brother and I would ask and ask and ask to open them – which the entire family still makes fun of! We have a great dinner of turkey that my uncle makes, stuffing etc. After dinner, the fun people play some games. Christmas is huge at my house because it is a holiday where we can celebrate our love for everyone.
My husband is Jewish, so he tolerates my Christmas obsession. He doesn’t want to go to church, but I think it is weird if he just hangs out at home when we are there. I only ask him to do it once a year, so I think he should…I think we will always have a mini argument about it. He enjoys the rest of the holidays in Ohio, which makes me happy!
Here are some of my Christmas favorites
I don’t think I can pick just one for most of these, especially the movie! I love A Muppet Family Christmas, but I cannot find the FULL version on DVD anywhere! They have one on Amazon, but it cuts out scenes! If you have never seen it, you are really missing out! It has all the Muppets, from Kermit and friends to the Sesame Street gang to the guys from Fraggle Rock! I laugh my butt off every time I watch it!
I also love It’s A Wonderful Life (and am seeing a musical version of it this year!) and have to watch it every year.
Honorable mentions to: A Christmas Story, The Gathering, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and The Polar Express
I also love Christmas music. I used to wait until the day after Thanksgiving, but ever since I have been away from the Ohio home, I have started listening on November 15th. I probably have over 30 Christmas CDs.I used to sing in several choirs and would have a few holiday concerts which exposed me to some great music!
My favorite general song is probably…”The First Noel”. It is a beautiful song and can be done so well by so many people! My other favorite is “A Mad Russian’s Christmas” by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I saw them live once and it was amazing I would see them every year if I could afford it. Christmas Eve and Other Stories is fantastic!
As I said before, every year we get a book. It used to be strictly books with a Christmas theme, but now it is a wider range. I would have to say that The Polar Express is my all-time favorite.
Honorable mentions go to A Christmas Carol, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Skipping Christmas by John Grisham.
This year will be a little different, since it is the first year I will be married for Christmas! We are going to celebrate Chanukah with my husband’s family that weekend. We will drive part-way to Ohio on the 23rd (last year we got caught in an awful storm and swore we wouldn’t drive at night again), then drive the rest Christmas Eve Day, so we can get there in time for church. I don’t know about my job situation yet, so we don’t know how long we are staying. I thought I would share some special things I am doing this year!
I am not buying as many CDs as I usually would because of money, but I am going to get this year’s Carols for a Cure. Every year, Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS puts out a CD of casts doing holiday music and the proceeds go to charity. If you are interested, check it out here, the music is always great and it goes towards a good cause!
I am also going to get Jingle Spells 3, another CD that benefits a charity! The proceeds from Jingle Spells goes to Book Aid International. It is a CD that the Leaky Cauldron and Pottercast put together with wizard rock bands (yes, I love Harry Potter and wizard rock) of holiday music. The songs on 1 and 2 were very addicting and I can’t wait to hear Jingle Spells 3! For more information, keep checking the Pottercast website (where you can find out how to get Jingle Spells 1 and 2)!
I may also get the new Sugarland CD and maybe the Tran-Siberian Orchestra, but it will depend on money.
Well, gifts are not going to be too exciting this year due to money. Most people are getting framed pictures from the wedding. I have 3 ideas for my husband, which is good since I have to give him something on Chanukah, on Christmas, and on his birthday which is December 28th! Hopefully next year will be better…
Finally, have you signed up for the Book Blogger Holiday Swap yet?
The holiday swap is a way for book bloggers to connect and celebrate the holiday spirit by sharing gifts. It’s done secret Santa style; all of the participants are randomly assigned a blogger to send a gift to and they are kept secret (hence the secret santa part) until the gift is received!
You can sign up at the Book Blogger Holiday Swap website. The Deadline is November 12, so hurry!!
What about you? What traditions do you have? What are your favorite holiday things?