So I imagine everyone is very busy with holiday shopping, baking and decorating. I haven't done a thing yet — nothing. No decorating. No shopping. No baking. Nada. Nix. Nihil.
I've been very busy with a rewrite of Naked Edge, which I'm close to finishing. I'll probably be avoiding the Internet for a few weeks until I'm caught up.
In the meantime, I'd love to hear about your favorite holiday traditions.
At my house, for example, we always have to have an evening of cookie decorating. I make a vanilla refrigerator cookie recipe, which we decorate mostly with butter creme frosting. If I do say so myself, my recipe for frosting rocks. The kids love it. Their friends love it. I learned it from my mom when I was a teenager. I once overheard Benjy telling a friend, "My mom's frosting is so good, you'll make yourself sick eating it."
We also make Christmas fudge, usually a few batches so that we can have a milk chocolate batch, a dark chocolate batch and then a white chocolate or white/milk chocolate swirled batch. Mmmm.
Before I started writing fiction, we'd spend most of a day decorating the house. Then after I started writing, I would only put up a tree on the years the kids were with me. (I alternate holidays with my ex.) And I admit there were a few busy years since 2003 where Christmas seemed an inconvenience because of deadlines. I truly felt irritated to have to set aside writing to celebrate. Deadlines can freak a person out.
But after this year with all that has happened — most particularly two serious car accidents involving my sons — I'm all for slowing down long enough to enjoy the holiday.
So we'll be putting up a real tree this year and decorating the house and doing our cookies and fudge while listening to our favorite Christmas music.
Funny thing about Christmas music... I find that everyone imprints on Christmas music like baby birds on their mama. No matter how stupid it is, the music we listened to as a child tends to be the music that makes Christmas feel like Christmas. Does anyone else find this to be true?
When I was growing up, we listened to Alvin and the Chipmunks and Andy Williams. Even though I might laugh about this and consider both the Chipmunks and Andy Williams to be pure cheese, they still sound like Christmas to me. In fact, when the entire family gets together to open gifts, Andy Williams' "White Christmas" is what's playing. Though I insist I am not an Andy Williams fan, I just downloaded his Christmas CD. Ah, tradition!
Fortunately, we were also raised with Jose Feliciano's "Feliz Navidad," which is near the top of my favorite Christmas songs. It's so full of energy and fun.
To those, I added Nat King Cole's Christmas album, Bruce Cockburn's Christmas, which is beautiful, and Loreena McKennitt's To Drive the Cold Winter Away, which is stunning. This is what my kids have been raised with — in addition to Andy Williams, of course. (If you have time to sample at iTunes, I recommend listening to and downloading Loreena's song "Snow." It's so pretty it makes me teary-eyed!)
Typically, we open gifts on Christmas morning in front of the fireplace and then have a yummy turkey dinner in the afternoon. I love to spend my spare time — not that I have any these days — reading a Christmas romance or anthology. I haven't done this for years, but I really love it when I'm able to.
It really is my favorite holiday — when I give myself permission to celebrate.
So what are your traditions? What are your favorite holiday treats? And what silly Christmas music do you listen to?