Merry Christmas to all those who celebrate it today, and happy holidays if you do not! I hope you can enjoy the holiday season, because it’s probably my favorite time of the year. Ever since we started celebrating Christmas, after moving to the US in 1999, it’s been something I always look forward to – not just because of presents (though, ngl, those are always pretty great) but because I love the festive spirit and everything just seems brighter, lighter, happier around that time of year. Last year I shared some of my family’s traditions and my favorite things about the holiday, and this year I thought I’d share some more!
I absolutely adore How the Grinch Stole Christmas – but yes the version with Jim Carey. I know that this is a pretty controversial opinion to have – but whatever. This is the version I grew up with, and it quickly became my personal tradition to watch it every year (preferably on Christmas Eve, but at least in December). I pretty much know the whole thing by heart, but it just makes me so damn happy. And the Grinch is just so damn quotable. I love it.
I do restrain myself from getting Christmas crazy, so I don’t let myself listen to Christmas music or put up the Christmas tree until after Thanksgiving. But from then on, it’s fair game. I have a Christmas playlist that is 8 hours and 45 minutes long. I’m not even kidding. I grew up with a lot of Christmas music because I was in choir for 10 years and we always had a Christmas concert. So yeah, I know a ton of songs, most of the lyrics, and I can go ALL NIGHT. But I just love it because Christmas music always makes me smile (I mean, until it gets too much – I don’t listen to it non-stop for a month, then I’d lose it). There’s been some inter-office tension in my team, but so a couple times they asked me directly to turn on the Christmas music to lift the mood – and it WORKS. Even the classics that we’ve all heard way too many times get us all bubbly. This year I’ve been particularly fond of Michael Bublé’s Christmas albums. His voice + Christmas music = perfection.
I talked last year about our self-made present-opening board game, but the holiday season means family and family means games to me. I loooove games – but I’m a sore loser, so this is kind of an iffy combination. But yeah, I’m up for anything – card games, board games, video games… One of my all time favorites, though, has to be Settlers of Catan. This game is HUGE in the Netherlands, so there was a point in time when any time I was at any aunt/uncle’s house, they’d pull it out to play. It’s so addictive, I swear. My stepbrother even has a Star Trek version, which is possibly even more awesome. And I also love Apples to Apples. That’s just always hilarious.