1. Cold night air, when you can see your breath.
    When it's quiet and I swear I can feel real magic.
  2. Cinnamon
  3. Christmas decorations
    Red is my favorite color and I love to see it everywhere.
  4. Church on Christmas Eve
    We decorate the big tree in the Nave and we have a children's liturgy. All the kids dress up for the no rehearsal Christmas play and it's chaos, and it doesn't matter how loud they are. And for once the whole church is full and we even have to use the balcony.
  5. Buying hot chocolate at Starbucks, paying for the people behind us, and then riding around looking at Christmas lights.
  6. Decorating our own tree.
    Letting the boys help and letting them put the ornaments wherever they want. So it ends up looking silly and lopsided and perfect.
  7. Christmas movies
    From Charlie Brown to Love Actually and everything in between. Sweet, joyful, funny, slightly sad, perfect.
  8. Baking
    Here's an example from last year. We have fun with our baking. 😁
  9. I always read A Child's Christmas in Wales to my boys
    Years and years ago, when I was a boy, when there were wolves in Wales, and birds the color of red-flannel petticoats whisked past the harp-shaped hills, when we sang and wallowed all night and day in caves that smelt like Sunday afternoons in damp front farmhouse parlors, and we chased, with the jawbones of deacons, the English and the bears, before the motor car, before the wheel, before the duchess-faced horse, when we rode the daft and happy hills bareback, it snowed and it snowed.
  10. Hot apple cider and making s'mores in our backyard fire pit.
  11. Seeing my boy's faces Christmas morning when they see what Santa left under the tree.
  12. Hearing bells when walking into stores.
    And my 8 year old dropping his dollar or two in the Salvation Army buckets.
  13. The Mall Santa Claus
  14. Two weeks off with my kids.
    They will annoy me, annoy each other, and still I'll be sad when it's over.