Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Ten on Tuesday

The Ten On Tuesday topic for today is 10 Things You Truly Enjoy About the Holiday Season.  Twenty years ago, I read Unplug the Christmas Machine, and the main message that I remember from it was to choose three things that are important to you during the holiday season and concentrate on those. I still do this in a loose way, so while my list may have fewer than ten things, these are the things that I truly enjoy.

  1. Having the kids here at home - Ryan has his plane reservations, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Justin will be able to be here also, even if it's only for a day.
  2. Decorating - Less is more for me. I Kon-Maried my Christmas decorations last summer, only keeping things that I really, really love - a sequined ornament that Ryan and I made when he was six, five of those light-up little houses from my mother's overwhelming collection of hundreds, garland for the spinning wheel on the porch, the holy raccoon that Justin added to the Nativity. These and the tree are perfect.
  3. Making a few gifts - I'm not a big Christmas knitter, but I'm working on two knitted items for the kids that I think might be just right. Knitting on these in the evening is what I truly enjoy the most right now.
  4. Cookie Day - Almost all of the women from John's side of the family gather together to bake and exchange cookies together. It's a long, tiring day, but the fun and friendship make it worth baking for more than eight hours. It's happening on Saturday, so hopefully I'll remember to take a few pictures after I wash the red and green sugar off of my hands.
  5. Making (and eating) Christmas dinner - For years, Christmas dinner was essentially a repeat of Thanksgiving - turkey, ham, a gazillion side dishes, etc. Three years ago someone (maybe John?) suggested that we try prime rib. This sounded delicious, but I was incredibly nervous about cooking a very pricey hunk of beef. I found this recipe, took a leap of faith, and it was wonderful! So now Christmas dinner is easy - prime rib, some mashed potatoes, and vegetables frozen from our garden.
  6. Candles - The prolonged dark in the evenings is made bearable if I burn candles for light and calm.
  7. Celebrating the Winter Solstice - This really only involves lighting some candles and being thankful for the increasing daylight in the coming days, but that is what I'll be doing on December 21 at 11:48 P.M. EST.
  8. Love Actually - It's a corny movie, but I love the characters, how their stories are intertwined, the humor, awkwardness, and that it is all about love, actually. 
  9. A Christmas Story - The movie isn't bad, but I try not to watch it too often so it doesn't become routine. What I really enjoy is the original Jean Shepherd novel. A friend loaned me In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash back in 1971, and I was struck by Shepherd's wit and detail.
  10. Feeding the birds - (This one is a bit of a stretch, but I couldn't just leave the list with only nine items.) I feed the birds all year, but one of John's Christmas gifts to me is always a 50 lb. bag of birdseed and some suet. This way I get to enjoy feeding the birds without wrestling with 50 lbs. of birdseed.  

So, what do you truly enjoy about the holiday season?
 I hope you get plenty of time to truly enjoy those things with people you love!


  1. I agree with many of the things on your list. We also celebrate the solstice by lighting candles and we let go of our regrets for the year (we write them down and burn them) and we state our intentions for the coming year. It's a great tradition.

  2. What a lovely list! I Kon-Mari'd my decorations this year, too. I have far fewer "decor items" -- but they all bring me joy.

  3. I love the Winter Solstice suggestion! What a nice way to celebrate the gradual return to light!

  4. I'm so glad there are other Love Actually fans out there. Candles are one way I get through the dark gloomy winter. Great list!

  5. I love your spinning wheel! And there is nothing like an ornament that was made by and with your little boy who now is grown.

  6. Winter Solstice is the best day of the year! The light returns!! All your items evoke the peace and beauty of the season.

  7. I'm so glad you included a photo of your porch spinning wheel (because I would have asked for it) - delightful!

    Also, your comment about Kon-Mari-ing the decorations is my favorite thing I've read all day.

  8. Our lists are not dissimilar. I really like what you do with the great wheel. And I am going to check out that recipe.

  9. wasn't this a perfect topic for the first full week of December? so much about your list warmed my heart... a raccoon at the manger, Christmas dinner that isn't a repeat of Thanksgiving (we tried pork loin last year and I think we have a new tradition there), ...and knitting for your loved ones. We stopped exchanging gifts last year, so now I knit for birthdays instead (Sara's in November and Katie's in January) - it does make December a lot less stressful, but I miss it anyway. and wow! 8 hours of baking with John's family (these are the girls who quilt, right?!) - oh my. please do take pictures! (or at least share recipes!) Merry Christmas!

  10. That spinning wheel is so wonderful! And I think I must be the only person who has never seen Love Actually! I'm going to change that soon. And I just got Doug on board with that roast for Christmas #2 on January 2nd! Thanks!

  11. I too feed the birds all year - always giving them more in the winter - they know I'm a sucker - LOL!
    I keep asking to switch up our Thanksgiving and Christmas meals - move away from traditional foods (heck even grill out)! But it always gets voted down by my husband!!

    Linda in VA

  12. I wish I had family close to have a cookie day, what a lovely tradition. I'm looking forward to having a full house next week!!


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