Gathering up things that brought joy this week and taking a moment to be grateful.
Cookies. With all the sweets and treats, I love things that aren't too sugary. My mom's Christmas cookies are perfect when it comes to that. Austrian baked goods just aren't as sickly over-sweet like American goodies tend to be. If you'd like to give some a try, my mom's Linzer Cookie recipe would be a perfect start.
Jammies. When we were younger, my grandma from Austria would send us new pjs for Christmas Eve. As we got older, my mom took over the tradition. This year, I gave in to Cyber Monday sales and couldn't resist some matching organic cotton Hanna Anderson pj pants for Dave and I. I didn't quite realize that they were long john style and I have to say seeing Dave in fair isle long johns was worth the purchase in itself.
Lights. Is anything better than Christmas lights when the days are so short and the nights so cold? I just love the cheer and light they bring. I would be in favor of keeping them up until days get long again and the snow melts. We need all the light we can get this time of the year in Michigan!
Music. I'm kinda weird when it comes to Christmas music. Depending on my mood, I listen to vastly different stuff. But Dave and I both agree that Sidewalk Prophets: Merry Christmas to You album is our favorite for singing and dancing along to. This year especially, What A Glorious Night has been our version of Advent Devotionals. When we need a quiet moment, we listen to it and the intro with Linus from A Charlie Brown Christmas reading the Christmas Gospel has been super meaningful to us. We also quote "That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown!" all the time. It's such a good reminder.
Movies. Also, it's worth a mention that I can't wait until we have a moment to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. We always watched it growing up and I love it more every time I watch it. It addresses big things like consumerism, but brings it back to the most important thing. Too good. (Other favorites: The Holiday, Elf, White Christmas)
Candles. The Austrian tradition of real candles on a Christmas Tree shocks most Americans. But when mounted on a fresh tree and watched vigilantly, there is little danger. Because of our move this year, we haven't brought a tree home yet. This weekend we'll finally remedy that and I can't wait to clip my shiny new tree candle holders (my sister brought from Germany for me) to our tree in our new home.