Friday, 8 November 2013

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...

It’s beginning to look feel a lot like Christmas
                                            …well, almost

A close-up of part of my Christmas tree
last year - Peacock-themed!
In the commercial world, Christmas essentially begins on November 1. As much as I love the holiday season, I really can’t get into the ‘Christmas spirit’ at the beginning of November. For me, it’s a process – it’s like putting together puzzle pieces of a bunch of different elements that, together, make me feel the magic of Christmas like I did every year growing up. Honestly though, Christmas time always makes me feel like a kid, even now being in my twenties.

Some years, I feel like I struggle with capturing the very essence of what puts me in the Christmas spirit. I know I’ve definitely woken up on Christmas morning and thought, “It doesn’t even feel like Christmas.”

I mean, what does Christmas even feel like? What creates the spirit, the magic, and the fantasy?

I love the way ornaments glow and
sparkle from Christmas lights.
Keeping those questions in mind, I want to share a few of the things that I know always get sugarplums dancing in my head.

Christmas carols

Every year, as far back as I can remember, my family has always played Christmas carols throughout the month of December, and all day Christmas Day. I remember sitting on the floor in my living room, shuffling through the holiday CDs and choosing The Time-Life Treasury of Christmas to play through the house. Playing these CDs has been an annual ‘tradition’, and it’s the first thing I do on Christmas morning when I’m back home with my family in Winnipeg. 

A small snapshot of some of the ornaments
on Bowring's display Christmas trees

love decorating for Christmas. I turn on some music, set up my Christmas tree, and put up lights, garland, and decorations. Oh, and candles are essential…especially the scented ones at Bath and Body Works – O.M.G. I’m constantly keeping an eye out for sales on decorations, because they can get pretty pricey, especially if you’re on a budget (and everything adds up fast!). Some of my go-to places for nice Christmas decorations and adornments are: Hudson’s BayHome OutfittersPier 1 Imports, and Bowring.

A cute scene from Rudolph
the Red-Nosed Reindeer - Aww
Holiday movies and television programs

The little kid in me definitely comes out here. When December arrives, that’s when I allow myself to watch Christmas movies. I’d say Elf and Home Alone are a couple of my faves. Usually the week leading up to Christmas Day, nothing got me into the Christmas spirit more than watching classics: Rudolph the Red-Nosed ReindeerFrosty the SnowmanHow the Grinch Stole Christmas (original and remake), and A Charlie Brown Christmas, to name a few. Every Christmas Eve, my family and I will watch It’s a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street (the original). What are some of your favourite holiday programs and movies?
"You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch..."

The overall atmosphere

Snow…yes, I said the ‘S’ word…it actually contributes to what comes to mind when I think of Christmas. Being from Winnipeg, I have seen a fair share of snow on Christmas Day before, but I’m not talking about the 4ft pile of snow on your lawn here (okay, maybe that much snow is just a Winnipeg thing) - I’m referring to the fat, fluffy snowflakes that flutter down to the ground, and the blanket of snow on the ground subtly crunching under your feet. It creates such a beautiful image. Pair that with candlelight, sleigh bells, music, the Christmas tree and decorations sparkling, and cozying up with a cup of peppermint white hot chocolate - My Christmas spirit ‘puzzle’ definitely comes together.
My back yard on Christmas morning in Winnipeg, 2012
My list could go on from here. In fact, it does. I could tell you about how much I love visiting New York during the holidays, the delicious festive foods my family makes, and some of my favourite ‘Christmassy’ activities, but I want to hear from you.

What are some of the things that get you into the holiday spirit?

Not my photo, but see?
Snow can be beautiful! A winter wonderland. 

"Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings." - It's a Wonderful Life

* Disclaimer: Being with my family for the holidays is the #1 most important thing for me, but this post is meant to be a fun, fairly ‘material’ overview of the things that allow me to experience the spirit and magic of the holidays. Let your imagination guide you :-) 

-- Samantha Machan
@SamJade26 (Twitter / Instagram)

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