Now that we’re well into the Christmas season, I thought that I might mention what happen to be a “few of my favorite things” at this time of year. Thus, in no particular order:
Gift giving. Here, I think my wife and I are like many of you. We set spending limits on gifts and, then, exceed those limits. Following this, we peek at each other over our morning coffee with guilty smiles on our faces knowing that: (a) we were never going to abide by the limits anyway; and (b) we both enjoy being Santa Claus — especially now that we’re grandparents.
Cooking. My wife’s Italian. I come from Cajun stock. We’re both from New Orleans. Where. Food. Matters. I admit that we tend to overdo it during the holidays, and anyone counting calories in our home will lose count long before a meal is over. I’ve often considered putting a plaque on our door that would read: “Abandon diets all ye who enter here.” Simply as fair warning, mind you.
Decorating the house. I don’t “do” ladders anymore. That said, despite grumbling when I find that I didn’t untangle the lights when I put them away the year before, those lights now adorn our plants, porch and front door — all at or near ground level. Inside, you’d see scars on the ceiling from purchasing trees that were too tall for our living room. One would think that, by now, I’d have learned to measure a tree before bringing it home. One would be wrong. We both like big trees and, when we see one we like, rational thought goes a-glimmering.
Decorating the tree. We’d been married all of four days before our first Christmas together and our first tree was some small thing I found at a local store two days before Christmas. There weren’t many ornaments and one string of lights covered the tree completely. Fast forward 46 years and, now, we make sure the branches are strong enough for our (ever growing) supply of ornaments — the number of which make Hallmark stockholders beam with joy.
Guarding the tree. Daily, we try to keep our dog from knocking ornaments off of the tree. This continues to be a losing battle as “Monty” — our 60-pound, hair-shedding, sofa-sleeping, treat-seeking, lap-sitting, wet-nose-in-the-ear-at-6 a.m., collection of canine genes — thinks nothing of continuously barreling past the tree to get to the window so as to see whatever might be happening in the front yard. Which is usually nothing.
Snack foods and drink. Let’s see, there’s eggnog, peanut brittle and hot chocolate with whipped cream. Then, eggnog and various chocolates in dishes strategically placed around the house. In the kitchen, there’s eggnog and cookies, brownies and cupcakes. Did I mention eggnog? (See previously mentioned plaque for front door.)
Christmas music. Anything does it for me. From “Stop The Cavalry” and “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” to “In The Bleak Midwinter.” On that last, my favorite version is performed by The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge. Get comfortable. Turn down the lights. Close your eyes. Then, just listen. It will reassure you that we humans can still produce beauty when we wish to.
Guests. Our immediate family can best be described as “scattered.” They reside in Louisiana, Texas and Japan. When we can get them here for the holidays, my wife and I have smiles plastered on our faces the whole time.
Sending and receiving Christmas cards. Ever since Vietnam, when a helicopter deposited the mail on the fantail of our destroyer on Christmas Eve, 1972, and I received a card from my wife of one year, I’ve always looked forward to them. They remind me that someone, somewhere does “care enough to send the very best.” And that’s always a great feeling to have.
Christmas movies. My favorite is “Love Actually.” Go ahead and groan but, for me, two scenes make the entire movie worth seeing — the marriage proposal scene and the montage of greetings at the end. I’ll see your “It’s a Wonderful Life” and raise you two “Love Actually” movies right now. It’s that good.
Christmas itself. Most importantly, just remembering what this time of year is about makes me wish that the season lasted longer. Much longer. There’s something about the idea of peace on earth and goodwill to men that just seems to do that.
Do take the time to enjoy it all and, finally, Merry Christmas to each and all of you!
Larry Simoneaux lives in Edmonds. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.