I’m writing this with a baby tied to my chest, and I’d like to mention baby carriers are one of the best inventions out there. We’re a big fan of the mei tai, and fortunately, so is baby. Moving on.
- Lights. For some reason, Christmas lights make me smile. They’re bright, they’re cheerful, and there’s a metaphor somewhere about “the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light” that could be applied, if one cared to try. Personally, I like colored lights because COLOR! but white’s not bad.
- The music. Oh, the music. “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” is my favorite Advent song, but then we sang “O Sanctissima” [link to youtube] last week at Mass and I was reminded how wonderful that is. Of course, there’s the entirety of Handel’s Messiah… so much wonderful music to remind us of the important things.
Coventry Carol, which we sang in high school chorale… haunting, in my opinion, and one of my favorites to hear.
And it took me a while, but I found a decent version of Masters In This Hall for your listening. And if you don’t like that one, try this one.
- Cookies! Who doesn’t love cookies? My favorite part of baking is sharing the goodness with others. I really do put a little love in everything I make.
- The movies. Sure, some of them are awful pablum, but there are others that remind us what it’s all about. If you’ve taken note of modern society, we can do with a few such reminders. I had never seen Love Actually until Husband forced me to watch it last Christmas. I get why it’s a Christmas movie. You’ve got National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation for your laughs, as well as Home Alone, and then you’ve got the sappy-but-good stuff like Nestor. (Ok, I’m not a Nestor fan, but I respect that it’s a tradition in Husband’s family and I get that it’s chock full of meaning so I’ll represent it here.) It’s A Wonderful Life is one we agree on for its goodness.
Fun facts: I’ve never watched Elf through all the way, and I’m not big on A Christmas Story, but I’m a huge fan of The Nightmare Before Christmas. What say you?
- Ornaments. I particularly enjoy buying an ornament each year to add to the tree. We have a fun, eclectic group of ornaments from combining our collections. When we unwrapped them, we were both surprised to see the large Our Lady of La Leche ornament because we forgot purchasing it last year at the shrine. My, was that a prescient purchase, eh? I may have bought 2 different “baby’s first Christmas” ornaments and I’m not ashamed. I wonder what we’ll be adding next year?
- I love the tradition of the Advent wreath. This year it managed to get to the table by the third Sunday of Advent, but it hasn’t been lit. (Which is probably smart – smoke doesn’t dissipate well in our condo. See also: experiments in frying foods). I’m hopeful that by next Advent we’ll have a little more space and I can properly set up the wreath with miniature manger. N.B.: The below picture is from Advent 2011. I still have that wreath and candles, and the coffee mug. I don’t live in that location though!
And finally… Christmas is when I most remember my Nana. Her birthday was on Christmas Day, but she never complained about it, and it was our tradition that Christmas Eve was Nana’s Birthday and Christmas Day was Jesus’s birthday. It’s been just over four years now, and while time heals our mourning, it never goes away. When I look at my daughter I’m reminded how much her great-grandmother would have loved being in her presence. Nana died just a few weeks after meeting Brian, when we were dating. On separate occasions after meeting him, she said to my mother and I, “I wonder if he’ll ask for her hand”. Lo and behold, how far we’ve come since then.