Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas!!!!! Part II

Okay, so in an effort to cheer myself up and stop obsessing over my lack of a student teaching placement, I decided to move forward with the Christmas post I've been promising!

Christmas is my favorite holiday, and there are many, many reasons why. Here are just a few...

1. Candy Canes - I love them! All that pepperminty goodness, curved into the fun shape of a cane. Although that darn bend does make it harder to enjoy that part, the rest of it is fabulous. When I was little, I only liked the multi-colored ones that tasted like cherry, but now I only like the traditional peppermint ones.

2. Peppermint Mocha - I've already mentioned my love of this frothy beverage from Starbucks, but it can never be discussed too frequently, as far as I'm concerned. Love it w/soy milk, and have recently converted a co-worker to my drink of choice.

3. Christmas Trees - I love a beautifully decorated tree. I don't care what color or kind of decorations are on them, I adore them all. And the smell!!! I so wish I lived in a place where it was feasible to have a real one...maybe I can have one whereever I wind up living next year.

4. Shopping - Finding the perfect gift is awesome. I wish I could say that I always find the perfect gifts for everyone every year, but I definitely am not that creative. But I just love being able to go to the mall or to the store and spend. I can always justify it b/c it's the one time of the year that I'm not cheap and I don't feel guilty for spending money. Better yet, it's spent on other people!!

5. Christmas Music - Again, I know I've talked about this in the past, but I just love it. I have a huge playlist on my iPod, tons of CDs, and a playlist on my work computer that drives my co-workers crazy. I love the 98 Degrees CD, and I also love the funny songs from South Park.

6. Snow - Christmas is the one time of the year that it's okay for it to snow. My usual theory about snow is that if it's going to be that cold outside, it may as well snow. But Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are the only two days of the year that snow is welcome in all of its white, fluffy glory.

7. Christmas Parties - I love having the opportunity to see everyone dressed up in their winter best. There's always such a great mood at holiday parties, and everyone is cheerful. I have two to attend this weekend, and I can't wait!

8. Holiday Spirit - I really think everyone is happier and more giving at this time of the year than at any other time. It's tough to be annoyed by a crowded store when there's a Salvation Army bell-ringer shivering outside. The sound of that bell just reminds you of Christmas, and reminds you to be generous. We need something like this for the summer months...

9. Decorations - Nothing makes me happier than to come in to the cafeteria and to see it transformed into a Christmas wonderland. I love seeing the stores in all of their finery, and especially the windows downtown at Kaufmann's (okay, it's Macy's now. Sheesh).

10. Family Traditions - I saved this for last b/c it's nearest and dearest to my heart. The holidays are a time for family, and I love being with them. Christmas Eve is my absolute favorite day of the year. My cousins on my dad's side (including Caitlyn) are all very close, and we started ice skating during the day at the rink at PPG Place downtown. We go and get some Starbucks, wait in line, and ice skate in a beautiful location.

We have deviated from this tradition a few times (last year it was too rainy to ice skate, the year before there was a Steelers home game on Christmas Eve) but we always spend the time together, which is the most important part.

(Okay, this pic is obviously a few years old)

In the evening, my parents' best friends and their kids always come over to my parents' house before mass, and we visit with them and then we all walk up to church and go to mass. Afterwards, we pile into the car and head to my Grandparents' house. Their house is wonderful. There's always a roaring fire, homemade Bailey's, all of relatives from that side of the family, lots of food, and laughter. My cousins and I (same ones from the morning) always sit in the living room and sing Christmas carols. After dinner, we nag the "adults" to come upstairs so that we can open gifts.

Then the flurry begins. The youngest cousins pass out the gifts, and my Grandma always tries to make people open one at a time so that everyone can see what everyone else received. This never lasts very long - soon there's wrapping paper everywhere and "thank you's" being shouted over the noise.

The last tradition is pajamas. My Grandma buys all of the cousins PJs every year. And every year we immediately put them on after the gifts are opened and then wear them home. Keep in mind our ages range from 6 - 38. And it never fails. We tell her annually that she always has to get us PJs.

Christmas Day is always wonderful, too. I stay at my parents' house and open gifts with them and my sister in the morning. We gorge ourselves on a big breakfast. The afternoon/evening is reserved for my mom's side of the family. We go to someone's house and we get to see all of my relatives on that side. A lot of my cousins on that side live out of state, but there's usually someone home for the holidays, and it's always great to catch up.

We also do a grab bag on this side of the family - everyone buys something and then we draw cards to determine the order of who opens when. You can open a new gift or steal someone else's (everyone calls this something different). There's usually one gift every year that moves through the ranks, and it's hilarious.

Mission accomplished - I'm in a much better mood now!! I love the holidays :)


AirmanMom said...

swg...you certainly paint a lovely Christmas picture!

~AirmanMom returning to her blog...

Vegas Princess said...

Okay you have officially helped me get into the spirit, thank you! I love your list and your traditions. Makes me miss my family. :)

jellybean said...

that's a great list. great traditions. great holidays.great family get togethers!
i didn't like the peppermint candycanes when i was little either. but i do now. they're really good hanging on the side of a mug of hot chocolate! and they make great peppermint fudge too! and they're good all by themselves.
so glad you are feeling more in the spirit. sometimes it is hard to get in the spirit of things. you certainly have helped bring around the rest of my missing spirit.

Caitlyn said...

Oh Sarah... you made me tear up. All the christmas traditions are sooo true. The christmas songs.. the nagging of the grandparents.. the shouting 'thank you's' over all the noise! it's classic crawshaw christmas. i'm sad i'll not be there this christmas.

p.s. how do you add links and pics into your blogs to be put in the spots you want them to go? Like how do i highlight your name if i refer to your blog. and how can i put pics in the places i want them throughout the blog? Help!

Steelers Wine Girl said...

AMM - Thanks!

VP - Well, I'm glad you're feeling more Christmasy but I didn't want to make you homesick!

Jellybean - I am definitely going to immediately buy hot chocolate and candy canes - sounds delish!

KK - :( Soooo sad you won't be there this year. But we'll call you and you know we'll be thinking about you all day! And I answered your blog questions on your own comments.

Courtney said...

I do really love the Christmas decorations. The traditional decor just feels so warm and inviting. I love it. I love the tradition of opening PJ's on Christmas Eve - my family used to do that, but it ended a few years back. I'm going to reinstate it for my daughter.