1. the smell of the fresh cut pine tree in the house. i keep threatening to buy a pre-lit fake tree and avoid the hassle, but i would sorely miss that scent.
2. christmas carols. i just love to sing along to the old standards like bing crosby's "white christmas."
3. rudolph, frosty, the grinch, and the peanuts christmas special.
4. buying way too many of the fun things the kids want and having an excuse for it.
5. watching the kids open those way too many gifts.
6. christmas lights strung on houses. i wish we lived in a neighborhood where the houses were more visible. those 'hoods where each house is glittering in the night are wonderful. as a kid we spent many christmases at my grandparents' trailer park in florida. almost every place was decorated and we reveled in it. here is a photo of me at maybe 8 years old in florida...
7. i was feeling scroogey this year, but begrudgingly went to lowe's on december 1st, bought a damn tree, heaved it into the back of the minivan cursing at the dropped needles and heaved it back out into the garage at home. swearing at the pine sap all over my hands, i sawed the end off with an angry vigor and dragged the thing through the house, all the while uttering oaths under my breath. i screwed the damn thing into the damn stand, and that's all the christmas spirit i could take that day. i told the kids we'd get out the decorations tomorrow. not to be deterred, they spent the rest of their afternoon diligently cutting, pasting, stickering and sculpting their own homemade ornaments and hanging them eagerly on the tree. i cried. they brought the spirit back to me, and i got out the lights and tinsel. here is an ornament made by s...
8. the pink tinsel tree in s's room that she chose when she was about 2. it still suits her personality so perfectly, and i love getting it out each year and putting it in her room.
9. those soft peppermint stick candies. not regular candy canes but the kind that melt in your mouth, or that you can poke into an orange and suck the orange juice through. does anybody know what i'm talking about?
10. the angry throngs of pissy christmas shoppers packed like sardines into understaffed department stores. just kidding! at christmas, i LOVE being home with my family, just like the crabby hermit that i am.
11. the madame alexander christmas angel that t and i bought together for our first tree. i have collected and loved madame alexander dolls since before i can remember, and having her on the top of our tree each year reminds me of all the christmases that we've been a family.
12. remembering our first christmas with h. he was a little over a month old, and he was the best christmas present we could ever imagine. there was a freak ice storm that year, and we were without power for 3 days. we mostly stayed at our friends' apartment for whom we were pet sitting, but on christmas morning we bundled up and went home to our frigid little house. we snuggled with our bitty baby while we opened the few gifts we had, and it was really just the warmest christmas i can remember.