Yesterday, I woke up bright and early, humming Christmas songs. Only three months to Christmas!!!
Those who know me in real life would tell you that I am a huge Christmas person. I am known to shop Christmas gifts in July (but, I have to add, this is a way to avoid the horrible crowds and stress in the stores in December!), and I wish I could keep my Christmas lights on all year. As much as I love the sun, I also like the dark fall evenings, which give me a good excuse to light candles around my apartment. I love Christmas music - and Christmas books - and every year, I eagerly wait for the day I can decorate our apartment for the holidays (despite the fact that I've never spent Christmas here, but always at home with my parents). I still insist on buying an advent calendar each year. Living in the city center, I also love the day - sometime in late November - when I wake up very early in the morning to a sound of trucks installing Christmas lights above the streets. A couple days from that night, the city sets up a huge Christmas tree on the city hall square and lights the various decorations above the pedestrian streets. Around the same time, a number of Christmas markets and the Tivoli Gardens open for the season.
I love Christmas food - specially the sweet things, such as gingerbread, Christmas buns or stollen, and my Mom's English fruit cake - and the Swedish Christmas drink, glögg (= mulled wine, but I actually much prefer the non-alcoholic version, made with currant juice). I love all the scents, traditions, the atmosphere, the memories, and arriving home a few days before Christmas. I love being able to read a good book for hours, on the couch, without the guilt of "I should be studying instead". I even like the snow - somehow, Christmas doesn't feel 'real' without it - but I really wouldn't mind if everything wasn't covered in it until April..! ;-)
I have a soft reindeer musical toy that plays the Jingle Bells. I picked him up at a garage sale once, almost for free. Most of the year, he sits tucked away in the back of my wardrobe - but every once in a while, throughout the year, I notice him when organizing laundry. I wind the toy up, watch him play and dance for a few minutes - and then I tell him there's still seven months to Christmas
Christmas is my favorite holiday of the year; and these days, it holds an even more special place in my heart, as it is the only real holiday we have during the fall. Halloween in Europe - if celebrated at all - is a lame comparison to the festivities in the US - and Thanksgiving is not known at all. I always set up some pumpkins, however - and if I happen to visit my parents around the holidays this year, they have a giant (150 lbs and growing!!) pumpkin just waiting to be turned into a spooky Jack O'Lantern.
This badly lit picture features two of our Jack O'Lanterns from last year - after a deer (or our pumpkin-loving dog?!) had eaten the hats off both of them!!
One thing I love - perhaps the most - about December is waking up very early and watching the city wake up around me. I like to turn on only my Christmas lights and a candle, put on some music, and enjoy the early hours with a big cup of hot tea. I actually do work in the half-dark - I'm mostly a touch typer, but I'm in love with the backlit keyboard as well! ;-)
While I'm still going to wait for a month or two to set up my holiday decorations, I celebrated today by enjoying my first cup of Candy Cane Lane tea. I love
this tea, but it is so difficult to find here that I only allow myself a cup on special occasions. Oh, was it ever so good!
I realize I'm using the word 'love' a few too many times in this post - but that's just how I feel about Christmas time (and the fall, too!).
Happy Countdown to Christmas! :-) What is your favorite holiday - and why?