We basically have three Christmases at our house. Both sets of parents live in the city, and we have our own little family unit, so it makes for a busy season. Most of the holiday organization falls to me, since the husband doesn't remember it's coming until December, and by then if the ball hasn't started rolling, it's probably not going to. But I love Christmas and all the preparations that go into it. Just... the whole season. I know some people hate it, and some are heartily sick of it by the time December 25th rolls around, but I honestly just love the whole thing, from beginning to end.
Yesterday was our first day of Christmas, spent with the in-laws, so it's clearly time for a holiday update!
Favorite tradition: There are several traditions I haven't participated in yet this year, since there are still a couple days of Christmassing to be had. Of the ones we've done so far, though, letting the kids dress up in their seldom-used "fancy clothes" for the holiday events is pretty fun. They get so excited to do it.
Favorite holiday song: I'm not sure I have one particular song I've been hankering to listen to over and over, but I do truly love the Barenaked Ladies' holiday album. It's a wonderful mix of sincere and silly that captures just the right mood.
What I've Been Doing: Everything! Wrapping, shopping, baking, decorating, organizing, mailing, taking photographs, visiting... it's busy but it's been a good busy. It's been fun, not frantic (well, for the most part).
What I've Been Baking: All the cookies! I've made spicy chocolate chili crackles, mint chocolate chip, cherry chocolate kisses, macaroons dipped in chocolate, cinnamon snickerdoodles, and peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip. I also made red velvet cupcakes with creamcheese icing just because I was on a roll and I just re-found the recipe (the husband accidentally threw it out a few months ago). We're, uh, pretty set on the baking front.
What I've gotten: I got a gorgeous package full of dance goodies through the gift exchange organized by beafarhana through bhuz (the cat wasn't included, but the cat toys were). I was sent some delicious cookies from a friend of mine, and my brother bought me Guild Wars 2 when he could get it on sale. (This last is more significant if you realize I spent a long time in the original Guild Wars game with a pretty tight-knit guild, all of whom moved on when the new game was released. I couldn't justify spending the not-inconsiderable on a new game for me, especially now that I have less time for gaming than I ever have, but I've missed my guild friends.) I'll do a fuller post later about yesterday's Christmas activities and gifts, but that'll focus more on the kids' gifts, because they're the ones I have all the photos of and are more fun to talk about, so I'll list what I received here: there was a DVD and CD for dancing, two books (Ann Aguirre's Enclave and Sarah Beth Durst's Vessel), a "soft kitty" shirt, a very pretty Christmas ornament (I get one every year; at least half of what's on my tree is from them), and a gift certificate to spend at Dahlal for more dance stuff. Om nom nom, dance stuff.
What I've Done for Others: There hasn't been a lot in the way of charity, since I've been so busy working on getting things together for my own family. Not sure what that says about me really. I did box up my maternity clothes to send to a friend pregnant with her first baby, although that wasn't really holiday related, just happened to be timed for this month. I'm involved in the earlier stages of putting together a steampunk calendar for 2014, the proceeds of which will go to charity, but it's mostly ideas beginning to coalesce at this point (meaning nothing has yet been booked or paid for). It should be a fun project, though!