Blogmas: Part 1
When do you start listening to Christmas music?
I’m a firm believer in the fact that Christmas music is a genre for year round use. Sometimes I just need a little joy so I throw on some Bing and boom, joyful moment! As far as the season goes, I believe the “holidays” start on October 1st.
Favorite Christmas Movies
Christmas movies are one of those things that we often love more for the sentimentality and tradition related than the actual quality but my favorites are…
It’s a Wonderful Life: Sentimental, classic and Jimmy Stewart. What’s not to love?
Christmas Vacation: Hysterical in every sense and I think we’ve all experienced a chaotic Christmas.
White Christmas: Music, dancing and Bing. For this South Mississippi girl, this is a Christmas dream.
Elf: Modern classic that my students love.
A Christmas Story: We all have a memory of the toy we wanted more than any other. It’s so sentimental.
Christmas Baking Favorites
I could no more pick one Christmas baking favorite than I could pick one favorite Christmas carol but cookies are a must and these Cinnamon Crinkles are easy and delicious. They are essentially a holiday version of what my grandmother called "Cake Box Cookies" which is great for moments when you need a Christmas goodie but are strapped for time. You could make it with any flavor of mix. All you need is one box of cake mix, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup of oil or butter (melted) and for these you can add 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Mix it all together and stick it in the fridge for an hour. Then roll into small balls and completely coat in sugar. Stick it on a sheet and don't squish it down. Cook on 350 for 10-15 minutes. That's it!
DIY Christmas Decor or Craft
How cute and 60s is this box?
Ok, I'm not sure if this truly qualifies because it required craftiness but it's more in the realms of repair but we're going to count it. This lovely little church belonged to my grandmother and I have very fond memories of winding up the music box in the back and listening to it in her living room for decades. She gave it to me years ago because it had gotten very tatty looking and I couldn't bear the thought of throwing it away. I figured with a little paint some, glue and glitter it would be all fixed up and perfect for another fifty years but in true perfectionist fashion I was always afraid of trying to fix it for fear of messing up something so meaningful but it made me sad that it couldn't be used so this was the year!
The bell tower is broken off as well.
As you can see the glue and glitter combo (and potentially asbestos) from the 1960s, has turned yellowy-orange and in some spots looked a bit bloody, like a festive murder had occurred. I knew I wanted to update this little church in a way that it didn't look new. I didn't want it to look like it came from the store. I like that it looks old. I like old things. They have character and charm so I didn't want to overdo it where it looked like some kitchy piece from Target. I wanted it to be obvious that this was passed down through generations.
I used a sponge and white paint to cover the "bloody" spots and extra fine glitter to return the sparkle without covering up the original texture of the snow. I also didn't want to cover the gold on the gables or the steps so this seemed like the best way to make everything look cohesive without covering up original details. The only broken bit I didn't fix was the doorway and windows. My original thought was to use red cello which would work but I just didn't want to remove the old painted design. I may do that one day but for now I'm happy with the outcome. It's difficult to see the glitter in the final pictures but trust me, it sparkles!
I made myself limit my response to ten(ish) options because I could give you a million. Christmas music is the best.
Snowed In or Finally, It’s Christmas Albums (Hanson)
Hard Candy Christmas (Dolly Parton)
Merry Christmas, Darling (The Carpenters)
Rose of Bethlehem (Selah)
Grown Up Christmas List (Amy Grant)
All is Well (Point of Grace)
One King (Point of Grace)
A Baby Changes Everything (Faith Hill)
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day (Casting Crowns)
Favorite Christmas Candles
I love Christmas and holiday candles because they don’t give me a headache like the scents that represent other seasons. My favorites come from Bath and Body Works and there is one that I buy every year because I love the scent and a story of how I came to find it.
Once, I was shopping at the local mall and was smelling all the holiday candles when I noticed this cute elderly couple in stereotypical shopping mode. She was digging around trying to find everything she wanted and he was holding all her stuff and following her like a puppy. She kept sticking candles under his nose for a response which was the generic, “Mmmm, yes.” Well, she came to the candle I adore, smelled it and stuck it under his nose. He apparently didn’t respond as enthusiastically as she hoped so she stuck it under my nose and declared, “Doesn’t this smell like a good looking man?” Here’s the thing… It does smell like a good looking man and now I associate that with the holidays. The scent is Bath and Body Works’ Sweater Weather and I suggest giving it a try.
Your Christmas Traditions
Christmas tradition can run the gamut from silly to sentimental with everything in between. These are a few that I love…
We always start decorating the tree the day after Thanksgiving and we typically watch “Christmas Vacation” while doing so.
We rarely turn on any lights beyond the tree in the living room for the entirety of the season. Mother loves to sit with just those lights twinkling.
We used to open family gifts on Christmas Eve and Santa gifts on Christmas Day. Now that Santa doesn’t visit anymore we do it all on Christmas Day.
The pets get wrapped gifts that we try to unwrap with them to varying degrees of success.
We attend Christmas Eve services together with candlelight. This will be a little different this year and I will miss it.
I rearrange the “Noel Angels” to spell Leon throughout the season. It started out as a joke one year when I would do it every time I visited my parents and my brother still lived at home. They were all blaming each other and no one seemed to realize it only happened when I was there. Now, I do it to be festively aggravating.
Favorite Christmas Ornament
I could no more pick one favorite ornament than one favorite memory because they all have so much sentimental value. If I had to narrow it down. I would have to say these…
I’ve had this ornament since I was born and I always thought she was so graceful and beautiful looking. Everything I wanted to be as a child.
The Silent Night Ball
This is a reproduction of one we have packed away for protection but the original ball belonged to my great grandmother and is tied to Christmas memories for my father and a tangible tie to someone I’ve heard so much about but never met.
Jack in the Box
This one always makes me laugh because it represents a family joke. My mother hates Jack in the Boxes and wouldn’t allow us to have one as a child so my father bought me this ornament as my only option. Truthfully, I’m surprised she allows it on the tree.
I wish I could provide visuals for all of these but they are currently packed away either in my parent's attic or my storage unit and that's not a challenge I'd like to undertake right now. Use your imagination.
Childhood Christmas Photos
This is one of my favorite Christmas photos ever because it represents a very distinct and well-loved memory. Our Christmas tree was always huge and magical in my mind, even in college. We had cathedral ceilings in our living room so our tree was always tall and I adored it. I believe this is our first tree in that house which was very much a Griswold tree. I believe dad is standing in a chair if that tells you how tall it was. I must admit I was sad when I became too big to be hoisted up to put the topper in the place of honor.