Things to Be Happy About, Vol. 8

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.
— Burton Hillis

Merry Christmas to those of you celebrating the holiday today (and Happy Tuesday to those of you who are not!)!  I am in Richmond, staying with my brother and his family.  We will open presents shortly, then get ready for my parents and grandparents to arrive from parts north.  After what will surely be too much food and not enough time, I’ll head back to NoVa tonight.  I was going to be off tomorrow, but I’m going to Western New York this weekend, so I switched tomorrow’s day off til Friday.  I’ll drive to my mom’s in PA Thursday night, then make the 4-hour trip from there to just outside Buffalo Friday morning in anticipation of a mini family reunion that night.

I’m planning to come back Sunday, even though plans for New Year’s Eve aren’t set yet.  I bet you anything I end up drinking champagne straight from the bottle (try it, if you never have – it’s kind of awesome), alone in my apartment, watching sappy movies.  Honestly, I can think of worse ways to ring in the new year.

Ok, since I missed last week’s list, here’s a double shot of things to be happy about over the holidays:

1. giving lots of little gifts instead of one big one
2.  Christmas lists – not what you want, but who to shop for
3. going to church on Christmas Eve [I don’t think I ever feel a greater sense of community than at that time]
4. the feeling of Christmas in the air
5. Christmas carols [and going caroling]
6. Santa Claus
7. Papa Noel – the “Spanish” Santa Claus
8. setting the official time for opening gifts on Christmas Day [when we were kids, this was inevitably super-early; as we got older and learned the value of sleep, it gradually got later]
9. the first snow
10. when the snow sticks
11. turning off all the lights and watching the Christmas tree glowing in the darkness [this is my absolute favorite thing to do on Christmas Eve]
12. driving through the Maryland countryside after dark, seeing the farm houses lit up with Christmas lights from a distance
13. homemade Christmas gifts
14. a cookie baking marathon extravaganza with a good friend
15. the downtown Richmond skyline at night during the holidays, with all the big buildings outlined in white Christmas lights
Edited to add (12/26/07):
16. the way my almost two-year-old nephew says “Ho ho ho” when you ask him what Santa Claus says
17. decorating cookies and making pinecone “favors” with my three-and-a-half-year-old niece

I hope you all have a wonderful day, however you’re spending it!

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