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Rethinking Christmas Priorities

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Posted 01-15-2010 at 02:26 PM by Sapsorrow

Seeing that tomorrow is my first prep day, I thought I'd get down on "paper" what matters most about the Christmas experience so that I won't lose track of it. My ultimate goal is not to plan Christmas all year every year, or even to end up with Christmas on my brain for 365+ days this time around, it's to give myself the time to learn to do it right come next Christmas. Then I hope to pack "doing it right" into the brief November to December timeframe you find in mainstream Christmas planners like the one you can download from Martha Stewart.

The top things that make Christmas into Christmas for me are as follows:

1. [I]The lights![/I] This year my parents put nothing but tinsel garlands and lights on their tree rather than pick a losing battle with their toddler granddaughter and three ([B]three![/B]) new kittens. I thought it was the prettiest tree I'd ever seen, not naked at all! I like string lights year round, but Christmas means lights in the windows and magical lighting everywhere I look!
2. [I]The smells![/I] I am intoxicated by the smells of holiday cooking, pine, wood fire, beeswax candles, and more. These scents never come together in such strength any other time of year for us.
3. [I]The sounds! [/I]There is nothing like traditional Christmas carols, bells, choir concerts, the occasional band in a bandstand (extinct around here), children scampering through the house singing, more bells, Celtic Christmas music, trans-siberian orchestra music, and so on, and it only "fits" this one time of year.
4. [I]The people! [/I]I don't plan to go into religion or family much on this blog because those are the very definition of personal, so when I refer to people I mean everyone out in town, every one merry and happy. I enjoy shopping in town this time of year, and will make a point of getting stocking stuffers during the usual shopping season, at least.
5. [I]The stories! [/I]I'm a reader and it simply wouldn't be Christmas without the stories!

Although I'm shopping or planning throughout this year, it really isn't about gifts or decorations at all (excepting the lights). We follow a tradition of four gifts each, some shared gifts, and a generous stocking. I don't go to town decorating because that's never been my aesthetic. We simply hang some lights and greens, though I'm now considering getting some bells.

Now that I know where my priorities lie, not only won't I skimp on the good ingredients for the holiday foods (since I want the top notch scents), but I'm going to buy some themed scented candles and balsam incense as well. I'm also going to buy more lights rather than ornaments, and I'm going to get some bells. Each prep day that goes by, I'm going to get a Christmas album via iTunes so we have a whole slew of them next year.
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