Ah, Christmas...the music, the decorations, the food. But somehow, it's a little different each year.
Today, we baked our Christmas cookies. Black raspberry bars are everyone's favorite, but I never realized how labor-intensive they are to make until today. (Just one more reason I don't enjoy giving them away.) We also made oatmeal-Craisin-pecan cookies that are surprisingly good and baked to perfection with crunchy outsides and delicious, gooey oatmeal insides. We've never made them before, but they're extra healthy for my dad.
I know what I'm getting for Christmas. Well, at least I think I do. I have an early-December birthday, so every year towards the end of November, I make a list detailing what I want for both Christmas and my birthday. This year, I couldn't think of much. Nalbinding needles, books, a yarn bowl, and wool combs. I didn't get any of those things for my birthday, and I know for a fact that I'm getting books and wool combs on the 25th. With the exception of clothes, I don't think I've ever known for a fact what one of my gifts will be.
For the first year in a very long time, I thought of something imaginative to get my grandfather. Papa is a typical man in that he doesn't ask for much for Christmas. Last year, we got him ten boxes of peanut brittle, and he was happy as a lark. But this year, we're getting him the boxed DVD set of one of his favorite TV shows, Hogan's Heroes, which is no longer on regular TV. We've never had such a great gift-giving idea before.
No matter how many traditions we have, there's always going to be something different.
I remember the Christmas after we moved to Texas. After the ice storm that shut our whole town down the week of my birthday, there really wasn't much snow. Our living room layout was different, so we had to put the tree in my dad's office. I was thirteen and had recently lost interest in dolls. I think I asked for animation software.
Different can be hard, but different can be better. I've never worked so hard on the black raspberry bars before, but I'm sure they'll taste extra special. I know that I'll use and enjoy my presents. And when different is combined with tradition--the carols, the telling of the Christmas story with candles, my own little tree in my bedroom--something wonderful is born.
What's your favorite Christmas tradition? How much do you like Hogan's Heroes? Let me know in the comments below! Merry Christmas, dear readers--and don't forget to like us on Facebook!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.