1) Christmas Cards! Our culture has gone so electronic that messages of holiday cheer are often lost in the morass of email. It's so lovely to get quality mail. I especially love cards that feature images of my friends or family. The Novogratz' just sent me an epic Christmas card.
2) The fragrance of Christmas! You know what I mean... fir trees and wreaths, apple cider and spiked egg nob, ginger and nutmeg, sugar Christmas cookies baking... all wrapped up with the chilly air of the winter season.
3) Giving gifts! When I was about 13-years-old, it occurred to me that it was tons more fun to pick out the absolute perfect gift for my family members and school friends than to receive something myself. It is so cool to see the expression on the face of a loved one when they open the package of their dreams.
4) Brandy egg nog! (No explanation necessary.)
5) Reconnecting with family! We try to keep in close touch throughout the year, but we're all so busy pursuing our careers and raising children that it's often difficult to come together. Christmas is the perfect occasion for this....and for sitting in Santa's lap! (This is a picture of me when I was six-years-old.)
6) Christmas lights! From Thanksgiving through New Years, my mother would drive us hither and thither, pointing out all of the beautifully decorated homes festooned with lawn ornaments and glittering lights. It's so inspiring to see people taking such pride in their homes to express themselves and their families.
7) Absolutely-awesome Christmas spirit! People seem to be in better moods, the holiday vibe lasts from November through January, and a sense of togetherness and community abounds.
8) Holiday Movies! I never, never, never watch movies more than once--I let myself be moved by them and then move on. Nevertheless, I've probably watched A Christmas Story 50 times. The scene where Ralphie's mom "accidentally breaks" her husband's "tramp lamp" perfectly encapsulates real-life marriage--something that I didn't understand when I was younger.