Monday, December 20, 2010

My Favorite Things: Christmas Edition

Each year, Oprah has an AWESOME episode in which she lists her favorite things for the year, and people in the audience get all the stuff she talks about. This post won't be that awesome, and I won't be giving everyone the stuff I'm talking about...but I would recommend you incorporate some of this stuff into your week this week as you get ready for Christmas.

I am VERY excited for Christmas. Unfortunately, it doesn't get very chilly in AZ (it's in the 70s during the day), so we have to do things to help make it feel cozy and Christmassy! Some are things I've grown up with my whole life, some are new additions to the Christmas line-up.

Christmas-Scents - I have been doing everything I can to make our house smell like "Christmas". I have a few Cinnamon Spice candles I have been burning, but I have a new concoction that my mom showed me. You put water, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, and oranges in a pot on the stove, and let it simmer on the stovetop. This was the toned-down version, that she showed me how to make, with stuff I already had, but the real deal uses apple juice instead of water, and also uses apples, cloves, and pine as all. I'm planning to pick up some of that in the next few days so the house can smell even yummier.

Christmas Movies - If there is a Christmas movie on TV, I HAVE to watch it. There is nothing better than watching a Christmas movie with come hot chocolate and cookies! This year I've watched a lot of no name movies (that I have never seen before) and classics like Home Alone. The movie I haven't watched yet, but I will not allow Christmas to come and go without seeing it is Elf. So that is on my to do list this week!

Hot Chocolate - This is a Christmas must-have. We always had hot chocolate as kids, after playing in the snow. We'd sip some hot chocolate and dip a candy cane in it - we'd even add whipped cream on a really good day! Ronnie's mom has spiced up the tradition as she made us home made chocolate goodness to make our hot chocolate out of. You can find the recipe here. It tastes like heaven in a mug...I can't get enough.

Family Time - This is a bit of a no brainer, but family in town makes it start to feel like the holidays. With my mom in town already, and my dad getting here in Wednesday (I CAN'T WAIT) it really feels like Christmas is close. I love having my folks in town and spending time together as a family. I can't wait for Wednesday when the whole family is finally together, and we're kicking things off with a family dinner.

Cookies - Ahhh Christmas cookies. What is Christmas without cookies? This year I made me favorite Christmas cookies for the first time. These cookies always show up at cookie exchanges and holiday parties, but I've never made them myself. This weekend, with my momma, I made them, and they were just as good as I remember. "What cookies??" you ask. Peanut Blossom cookies. These are the ones we made!

Christmas Music - I love me some Christmas music. I of course like the classics, but I have one all time favorite, and that is Amy Grant's Christmas album. As long as I remember, Amy Grant was the soundtrack to my family's Christmas's and I associate such feelings of warmth and joy with her songs. If you don't own Amy Grant's Christmas album, I recommend you buy it!

Ugly Christmas Sweaters - I'm sure many of you have heard of ugly sweater parties. I was reminded of their goodness this weekend at our neighbor's ugly sweater party. But what I really was reminded of, is the awesomeness of tacky Christmas sweaters. The sweatshirt I bought for the party I'd actually consider wearing again this week!

Well that's it! I hope this week brings a lot of excitement, joy, and Christmas spirit! It is truly the most wonderful time of the year. What are some of your favorite things that you'll be incorporating into your week as you gear up for the big day?