Merry Christmas, everyone! (Or, if you’re in the UK, Happy Christmas!) This week, it’s been a good old nostalgia-fest, as I’ve been indulging all my favorite memories of Christmases past. Everything on this list fills me with warm-fuzzies, or exhilaration, or wonder, or peace, or, in one case, a sugar high you can’t even imagine. And so I thought I’d share with you, if you’re curious to learn more…
Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker—I’ve always an enormous soft spot in my heart for classical music, so you better believe this comes out every year. When I was wee, I can remember putting on this music and galloping around the rug in our living room, leaping about as though I were a prima ballerina on stage. The setting may have changed, but I still dance around to the Nutcracker in the living room of my apartment. It wouldn’t quite be Christmas without it.
White Christmas—Oh, boy. For me, this movie is the ultimate vehicle for Christmas comfort and joy. Cheesy, peppy, makes me want to sing along and dance around the living room (are you sensing a theme here?). Rumor has it that MamaPen and her sister were known to perform the duet, Sisters, from the beginning of the movie, but I’ve never successfully goaded them into repeating it. Also, as an adult, I drool over nearly all of Rosemary Clooney’s dresses.
Christmas walk—When possible, I like to fit some form of movement into the holiday, if only because sweating a bit makes me feel less like I gained a pound in one sitting. It can also be a nice break from the holiday hustle-and-bustle. MamaPen and I had a lovely walk last year. While I don’t anticipate such a lovely snowy scene as pictured above (boo!), I’m looking forward to a finding a nice moment of peace in my day.
Jingle Bell Rock—I cannot underscore the extent to which my brother and I loved this CD (part of a TIme Life collection celebrating the Rock ‘N’ Roll Era) or the extent to which MamaPen grew to loathe it. Every year when we were little, Robbie and I would pop this guy into the CD player and rock out. From the opening strains of the first track—Bobby Helms singing Jingle Bell Rock—we were in a frenzy. Even now, hearing any one of the songs from the CD takes me back to our childhood living room. Good times!
The Night Before Christmas—I’m fairly certain I can recite this entire poem from memory. Enough said. (…And then, from the roof, there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter…)
Fudge makings—In my family, the holiday season doesn’t really begin until we start making fudge. It involves an enormous pile of German sweet chocolate, sugar, marshmallow fluff, chocolate chips, and evaporated milk; an old weathered recipe card with Million Dollar Fudge scrawled across the top that no one needs because MamaPen could do the whole thing in her sleep; and a well-practiced ballet of stirring, breaking, scooping, pouring, and stirring. It all ends with a hybrid sugar high/coma that sounds impossible but is all too real. As far as I know, the tradition started back when MamaPen was just a girl and she and her family would make fudge to give as a holiday present for teachers and other such people in your life you want to acknowledge during the season. These days, PapaPen’s colleagues are the primary recipients, as well as family and friends. It’s classic.
Christmas Vacation—What’s Christmas without watching with great glee and irreverence the Griswold Family’s attempts at a Good Old-Fashioned Family Christmas? I don’t know, because I’ve never had one. It’s not quite appropriate for kids (although I can attest to the fact that kids enjoy it very much), but it’s part of the big ole mess of what makes Christmas for me. PapaPen and I quote various classic lines to each other throughout the year. So, to tie this back around to the first movie on this list, I hope you all “have the hap hap happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap danced with Danny bleeping Kaye.”
But enough about me. What are you guys reading, watching, listening to, eating, or whatever-ing this week? Are you indulging in any old traditions? Maybe creating some new ones? I’d love to hear about them!