Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

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There's something special about this time of year.

While it is cold outside, it's not the "I'm so cold I may never feel warm again" cold that we get later into the winter.  The snow - if we have gotten any - is still pretty. Houses are decked out for the holidays, with lights and garland decorating the outside, and the family Christmas tree glistening in the window.  The music is cheerful and kids excitedly await the arrival of Santa.  People are getting dressed up for holiday parties, selecting the perfect presents for everyone on their list, wrapping pretty packages, planning holiday meals, baking cookies and eagerly awaiting time with family and friends.

This is my favorite time of year.  I generally have 'Nsync's Home for Christmas album on repeat, make sure I have watched It's a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, Elf and The Santa Clause at least once.  I bake hundreds of Christmas cookies and wrap presents in the prettiest paper I can find.  In fact, I like wrapping Christmas presents so much, I often spend at least a day with my parents, helping them get all of their wrapping done.  Despite the fact that their four children are grown, with three married with families of our own, my parents still treat Christmas as though we were kids and go just a little (read: A LOT) over the top on gift giving.  It turns out they love Christmas, too.  My husband and I always make an effort to get out to Christkindlmarket, take a drive around town to check out the holiday lights and generally enjoy spending time together, shopping for the holidays and decorating.

People are friendlier this time of year, wishing each other a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and spreading messages of peace, joy and good cheer.

And I just love spending time with my family, not just on the holiday, but all the time we spend together leading up to the holiday.  We still get the extended family together on Christmas day, bringing together four generations to spend a day together, enjoying the company of each other.  Of course, there is always some good-natured ribbing, too.  My family is close and for that, I am grateful.

So, what are your Christmas traditions?  What is your favorite part about this time of the year?  Enjoy a video from my very favorite Christmas album!