It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Ok, I admit it. I am head-over-heels crazy about the holiday season. For me, it’s all about the build-up: smells of sweet spices from steaming beverages, songs you know by heart even though they only come around once every 12 months, the crunch of leaves beneath your feet, and how your cheeks flush as you rush from shop to shop in the increasingly colder air to find the perfect gifts for everyone on your “Nice List.”
Here are just a few ways I celebrate every year. Try one, or all of them, but most of all, have a very happy season!
1. I make a playlist of my favorite holiday tunes for my iPod and whenever I’m dreading that trip to the crowd-packed streets of the city (always in the rain!), it picks up my spirits. Here’s what I’m loving right now:
“Frosty the Snowman” by Fiona Apple
Hotel Café Artist Medley of “Auld Lang Syne” (various artists)
“Silent Night” by Priscilla An
2. I send a little “care” package out with my holiday cards. Whether it’s a copy of the holiday mix CD I made for myself or a small bag of homemade peppermint bark (so easy to make), it makes me smile thinking about my friends and family opening up that little something:
Crushed candy canes, to yield 1 cup
2 pounds white or dark chocolate
Peppermint flavorings, optional
Place candy canes in a plastic bag and hammer into 1/4-inch chunks or smaller. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Combine candy cane chunks with chocolate (add peppermint flavoring at this point if desired.) Pour mixture onto a cookie sheet layered with parchment or waxed paper and place in the refrigerator for 45 minutes or until firm. Remove from cookie sheet and break into pieces (like peanut brittle.)
3. I squeeze in some extra work-outs so I won’t feel as guilty helping myself to that second piece of pumpkin pie. Because let’s be honest, it really is worth it.
4. I don’t wait until crunch time to pick up gifts. If I’m out and about and I see something I think someone might like, I get it! And boom cross that one off the list. I wrap as I go, too. There’s nothing better than seeing a stack of festively wrapped presents every night when you come home!
5. I make a list of the things I loved about the past year stand-out memories, risks I took, friends I made, things in my life I’m grateful for and a list of things I wish may have gone a little differently. I’m not into New Year’s resolutions (mine always seemed to fade away by February), but reflecting on the year, writing it down, and then getting to spend time with everyone I love is a great reminder of the things that truly matter. And after all, isn’t that what this season is really about?