It would be easy this year to say, “Bah, humbug,” about Christmas.
Traffic has never been worse. There’s been crazy weather around the country. The malls are a mess.
Not to mention I’ve had quite a tumultuously 2013, which is only ending with a stress fracture in my right leg and news that someone was racking up thousands of dollars of charges on my credit card in France.
Still, that hasn’t dampened my Christmas spirit, amazingly.
I still love this time of the year, when the weather in Hawaii has a little chill in it that makes it harder to get out of bed with two snuggling dogs.
So here are the 10 things I love about Christmas — and I hope it reminds you to look at something other than the stack of cars in front of you:
1. Decorated houses and trees: I’m a sucker for Christmas decorations. You got a house decked in lights, I will stop and marvel. I love that people take the time to climb ladders to wrap LED lights around plumeria trees and and edges of roofs — and really for no other reason than celebrating the season.
2. Winter surf: This is going to sound strange, but I love that the North Shore is getting the surf right now. For one, if you’ve ever seen the monster swells out there, it’s mind-blowing. I can see why thousands of people trek to the North Shore — and sit in traffic for hours on Kamehameha Highway — to see it. But the surf out there clears out the breaks on the south shore, and there’s nothing better than a little out-of-season south swell or west wrap to make up for the flat days in Waikiki. Trust me.
3. Weather: I realize all of my far-flung friends will groan when I say this, but I love the (relatively) cold weather during the winter months. It’s nice to bundle up, to use three blankets, to put T-shirts on my dogs. I love it.
4. New releases: There’s always a slew of great movies that get pushed out toward the end of the year to make the Oscar run. If you can find the time between Christmas shopping and wrapping gifts, you can see some of the year’s most-anticipated movies, like “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” “August: Osage County” and “Frozen.” Or, if you’re like me, all you want to see are the season’s sequels: “Thor: The Dark World,” “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” and, of course, “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.”
5. Movie traditions: Speaking of movies, this is the time of the year when it makes sense to watch movies like “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Elf.” Not that you can’t watch these Christmas flicks in June, but they’re so much better in December. Two of my favorites to catch before Christmas: “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” and “The Sound of Music.”
6. Cookies: I love baking — in fact, baking got me through 2013 — but it’s so much more fun to bake for a purpose. For the past three years, I’ve been participating in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, where I’ve met a lot of cool bloggers who love to bake/cook like me. (And I’ve eaten some pretty interesting cookies, too.) And baking during the holidays has long been a tradition in my family. My mom’s kitchen is always filled with the smells of freshly baked bread, sugar cookies and fruit pies, especially this time of the year. And whenever I can score free baked goodies from her, it’s all good!
7. Christmas shopping: I know, I know. This might top the list of Things I Hate About the Holidays. But as sick as this sounds, I enjoy walking around the malls when it’s packed with shoppers, armed with lists and credit cards. You feel like you’re part of something big, like you’re witnessing the Olympic Games of Christmas Shopping. It’s competitive, it’s stressful, I love it. (Mind you, I do all of my shopping online. LOL)
8. Christmas songs 24-7: This is really the only time of the year when listening to “White Christmas” and “Jingle Bell Rock” is not only appropriate but entirely tolerated.
9. Christmas Eve: This is, hands down, my favorite day of the year. Always has been. When I was a kid, my family would go to an annual Christmas party made up of my dad’s classmates and their families. These people are really family to me, too, and this is the only time of the year we get to see everyone. But I think, too, I love Christmas Eve because Christmas hasn’t arrived yet. The anticipation is far greater than the anticlimactic let-down the following day, when Christmas is over by 10 a.m.
10. Excuse to see people I love: We’re all busy, I get that. But we tend to make time during the holidays — sometimes after Christmas, and that’s OK — to see the people we care about. Screw gifts, I’d rather just spend an evening chatting with my friends or hanging with my family over a stellar spread of food. And to me, that’s the best part of this, and really any, holiday.
Got your reasons for the season? Share them here!