2. The pre-Christmas arrival of the JC Penney catalog was very exciting because it had toys in it.
3. Our family lived in the midwest but my grandparents and the rest of our relatives lived on the East Coast. My Dad's dad would mail boxes to us wrapped in brown paper and tied with string like in the My Favorite Things song. My father never cut the string but always untied each knot. As I got older, I came to see that as a way of silent communication my Dad had with my Papa Leo.
4. My mother's mom, Nana Alice, always called us on Christmas Day because long distance calls were expensive and she and my mom usually only talked at birthdays or holidays after 11:00 pm when the rates would go down. She made us Koulourakia, Greek cookies, that she would mail to us in a shoebox.
5. I sang in the church choir from about 13 on until I left home for college. I was the only one younger than 40 in the group and most were upward of 50. The director always had a Christmas party at his home. They had 7 or 8 Christmas trees, each decorated with a different theme. One was always birds. As the evening would go on, the adults would drink and get a lot happier and they would sing songs they knew from the 30s and 40s. Our tenor soloist always sang Oh Holy Night at the request of his slightly tipsy, weepy wife. Sister Eileen, the nun in the group, kept an eye on me as the evening got a little rowdier. I had fun watching and because I had unrestricted access to many plates of cookies.
6. I love most Christmas music of all kinds including the choral music you hear on the public radio classical music station. I can't stand the song about grandma getting run over by reindeer and will not listen to purposely tear-jerking songs like the Christmas shoes one. Why do that to yourself?
7. I still handwrite notes in my Christmas cards instead of a mass produced Christmas letter.
8. Christmas comes near the Winter Solstice where the darkness is the heaviest and the weather usually cold and snowy. I love all the Christmas lights that people use to fight the darkness. We put white lights on our outside trees. We aren't quite a match for the Griswolds but there's always next year.
9. We follow Santa on the NORAD Santa tracker website every year with my kid on Christmas Eve.
10. I thought the abominable snowman in the annual Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer Christmas Fear Fest was terrifying.
11. I have never seen the movie It's a Wonderful Life. Unfortunately, I have seen Prancer and Gremlins.
12. I've been doing a weekly volunteer shift at our local food shelf for about 4 years now and am amazed at the generosity people show at this time of year. (We are lucky in that our community is generous year 'round.) I know this is a rough time of year for a lot of people for a lot of different reasons. Whatever your season holds for you, I wish you peace.