I thought I had written myself out of ideas for the Advent Calendar last year, but inspiration came as I was listening to Christmas music. I decided to make a list of a few of my favorite Christmas things. Here goes:
*Favorite Christmas Carol* Good King Wenceslas. There are so many carols that I love but this one just has something about it that speaks to me. It isn't just a catchy tune; it tells a story. And the story is a good one. A great king leads his servant through a storm to find a poor man in need. I remember an animated special on TV every year as a kid and for some reason loved watching it.
*Favorite Christmas Movie* A Christmas Story (or Ralphie's Christmas). All Ralphie wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder BB gun but all the grown ups around him say, "You'll shoot your eye out." Weren't we all like Ralphie once? Of course, now as a parent I understand the adults' fears but as a kid I just wanted that one thing that would make Christmas the Best Ever! If you'd like to see A Christmas Story but don't want to sit for 2 hours, here's A Christmas Story in 30 seconds by Bunnies or you can enjoy a scene from the movie right here:
*Favorite Christmas Gift to Give* It's not just me being cheap but I love to give handmade presents. In my younger years, it was a necessity because I was broke but now I just like giving something I made with my own hands. In the past I've made snowman candles, decoupaged pots, bath salts and other things I've forgotten. I'm not sure how the receivers feel about my Homemade Christmas but I hope they know I give from the heart. Here are some 3-D star ornaments you can make yourself.
Double sided cardstock in pretty colours
I found instructions for making 3-D stars from Lost Button Studios. I reduced the sized to 80% and printed out a template. Cut out. Trace template to cardstock. Cut out. Follow instructions for folding. Cut out a large circle out of coordinating cardstock. Glue edges of star and place in center of circle. Hold in place and before glue dries sprinkle with glitter. Tap off excess glitter. After glue dries, punch hole in top and string a ribbon as a hanger. Voila! A pretty ornament to give to friends.
*Favorite Christmas Gift to Get* Books! Now I love to get handmade gifts too but nothing beats a book, especially something really unique. My parents were so great at getting me interesting books when I was growing up. One of those was an illustrated copy of Edgar Allen Poe's stories. I still have it. It's really beautiful.
*Favorite Christmas Cookie* It's still my mother-in-laws Melt-In-Your-Mouth Shortbread from last year's Advent post. Here is the recipe one more time:
1 lb butter
1 cup sifted icing sugar
3 cups sifted flour
½ cup cornstarch
Cream butter, add sugar & gradually add flour & cornstarch sifted together. Whip mixture until fluffy & mixture breaks or looks curdled. Drop by teaspoons or put through cookie press onto cookie sheet. Bake at 300F until light golden brown (about 20 minutes).
*Favorite Christmas Candy* Here in Canada, every year the restaurant chain Swiss Chalet has the Festive Special: chicken, potato, cranberry sauce and stuffing. As a treat, they used to give mini Toblerone bars. A few years ago they switched to Lindt chocolates instead. You would have thought they committed blasphemy. "What?! No Toblerone!" Even Rick Mercer made a comment on his show about it. I was so disappointed. So, you've guessed it. Toblerone is my favorite holiday candy. Probably because it's so hard to share, I get to eat it myself ;) Nom, nom, nom...
*Favorite Christmas Tradition* It might sound dorky but my favorite tradition is visiting friends and relatives. This time of year is the one time people make an effort to see old friends.
*Favorite New Tradition* Now that I'm a parent, the best new tradition in my life is Christmas morning after Santa's visit. I get to relive that excitement I had as a child through my daughter. When I was her age, I was awake before the sun rose. Christmas Eve is so busy my girl is exhausted and I'm usually awake before she is, waiting for her to wake up. I love how Christmas brings the kid out in all of us.
So, what are your Christmas favorites?
Finally, I'll leave you with a photo of my cat who's not very impressed by a Santa hat.
****I got the dates mixed up so enjoy my post a day early****