Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Getting in the Holiday Mood

This Christmas is going to be special. As I mentioned in a former post, three of my four daughters will be coming "home to Colorado" for Christmas. So---I have a lot to do to get ready. On the "off years" when no one is coming home, I do the travelling. I go wherever my family has decided they want to spend the holiday. All I care about is spending time with loved ones. I really don't care about the location. I could be on a snowy mountain top or a sunny beach. It's fine with me. The people are what make it a special occasion.

Since we'll be having Christmas at home, I've started a list of what to do and when to do it. Since there's SO much involved in this special holiday, I have to spread it around. And I'll post weekly on my progress.

Shopping: Got it done. Thanks to Black Weekend (I was traveling home to CO on Black Friday). What made it simpler was that so many of my loved ones wanted gift cards. I understand the appeal. I'm asking for a couple of them myself. So, now all I've got left is to order one more present online and it's done. Everything's in an upstairs bedroom waiting to be wrapped.

Holiday Baking/Cooking: Started this weekend by buying ingredients for my homemade Gingersnap Cookies. I put the recipe for this in the back of FLEECE NAVIDAD, along with several of my other holiday favorites I've developed and made over the years for my family. I also tried fellow Cozy Chick Deb Baker's Sugar Plums and they came out great! Of course, I always wind up tinkering with recipes (can't help it, it's my nature), so recipe came out with a little more honey and accidentally more allspice and deliberately more orange zest, because I love orange zest. But, honest, they smelled and tasted great. It was hard not to eat the dough. That's what always happens with my gingersnap recipe. The dough tastes SO good, you keep snitching as you're rolling it into balls.

Music: I really felt like the holiday season was starting last weekend when I attended a Colo State Univ choral concert. All four of the university's choruses performed different Christmas songs from many different composers, several sacred, medieval, and the old favorites like White Christmas. After each group performed, the conductor directed the packed concert hall in a favorite Christmas carol. That was so much fun. Nothing gets me into the spirit faster than singing Christmas carols. Also, the first part of the concert was a beautiful production of Menotti's short (45 min) opera, "Amahl and the Night Visitors." It's a sweet story about a crippled shepherd boy and his widowed mother who host the Three Kings on their journey to "follow that star." The music is beautiful. I remember hearing it in my childhood, and it's been a favorite of mine ever since.

Next, I'll start playing my collection of CDs with Christmas music. A two-volume set of Christmas carols and songs from a variety of artists that was produced years ago by Time-Life. I don't think it's available anymore, but it's my kids' favorite. Next, there's Christmas Songs with Frank Sinatra singing all the Christmas favorites. Then, Sing We Christmas by Chanticleer, and a gorgeous arrangement of old medieval carols and songs with voice and harp called Celtic Christmas.

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs or other holiday music?