A few of my Christmas Favorite Things
First of all, Sophia, many thanks for this wonderful privilege. I’m delighted to be here on Delighted Reader.
With Christmas in mind, I thought I might indulge myself a bit by writing about some personal reflections about a few of my Christmas favorite and not-so-favorite things. As in the Sound of Music song, I’ll toss out a random list of items and talk about them a little bit.
My first Christmas
I had my first Christmas in Switzerland, my mother being Swiss. I don’t remember it of course, but my grandmother was born in 1910 and so she had very specific traditions. One of them was that the Christmas tree had to be real and so did the candles. That being the case, the candles were only lit on each Sunday in December and on Christmas Eve. The first Sunday was so exciting! The candles were lit and the lights turned off. We sang Christmas carols and ate specially made Christmas cookies. I loved watching the candle flames on the tree as a child (the tradition continued until I was about twelve) but it was hard to sit still! Here I am as a baby with my Grandmother. You can see the lit candles behind me. I don’t know much Swiss German, but I do know the lyrics for “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht” (Silent Night) and I love the Vienna Boys Choir.
As my husband will attest, I love Christmas carols. If I had the chance, I would buy every Christmas Carol album there is out there. I even had someone bring me Chinese Christmas carols from Hong Kong! I have so many that if I played each of them once I would get through December without repeating a single one! I love the funny ones and the sad ones, the choral ones and the solos, the Christmas Polka ones and the techno ones.
Because Christmas is at that time of the year when it’s dark and cold, I do have a particular inclination towards melancholy Christmas songs/carols that jerk at my heartstrings. One of my old-time favorites has to be “I’ll be so Blue Thinking About You” (The Johnny Cash version). I do think it’s important to remember that Christmas can be very lonely if you don’t have family or friends, or if you’re away from home.
I was in choir once that sang Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols and so I have a special fascination with that collection of carols, though I’ll admit they’re unusual. I like them because they span the centuries and give me a sense of historical continuity. They’re modern but with their medieval lyrics and Gregorian chanting they transport me into another era. At the same time, they feature a harp so they have a touch of the Regency to them as well. What more could a history buff wish for? Here’s a link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQyunriE1zg
Easily my favorite Christmas-related film is Little Women. I remember being so impressed by the self-sacrificing personalities of the March sisters when I first read the book — I was about twelve — and have loved it ever since. I absolutely adore the interaction between the sisters and Marmee. I like the Winona Ryder version, but I have a special soft spot for the 1949 version. Here’s a link to the trailer. I lived in Boston, Massachusetts for eight years and used to go to Concord often, so I can relate to the setting as well. Here’s a link to the trailer.
Snow, snowflakes and Christmas songs about snow
These are my least favorite things. “Dreaming of a White Christmas” is just not my cup of tea. Having injured my back digging through heavy, sludgy snow, I can’t help feeling the white Christmas part is more of a nightmare than a dream J. I’m not fond of cold weather. Brr!! I’d much rather be indoors with a log in the fire than dashing through the snow in any type of sleigh. I did learn to ski cross-country and I found it energizing but would rather have a hot day than a snowy one. Having said that, I do like the light powdery snow that you get in Colorado, so maybe if that’s what they mean I could see there could be some good to it.
Christmas-related reading this year
This year I’m starting a new tradition with my daughter (she’s thirteen). I just bought Jane Odiwe’s Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Calendar and since it’s specially set up as an advent calendar, I thought we might snuggle up, drink hot mulled cider and read one chapter every day to each other, taking it in turns. That’s my favorite way to enjoy the Christmas season: combining family with reading. Let’s see if it works!
What are some of your favorite/least favorite Christmas things?
White Soup Press
In this humorous Pride and Prejudice Variation, Mr. Darcy is determined to win Elizabeth Bennet’s hand in spite of her rejection and he has a strategy worked out. He will rescue Lydia Bennet from Wickham and will return to Longbourn to convince Elizabeth to marry him. But when a chance encounter prompts Darcy to propose once again to Elizabeth before he has rescued Lydia, his plans go horribly wrong.
Broken hearted, disillusioned and bitterly regretting his impulsive action, Darcy sees no point in assisting Miss Bennet. After all, rescuing Lydia might save Elizabeth’s reputation, but why should he care when they have no future together? His code of gentlemanly conduct, however, demands that he fulfill the terms of his promise to her. Once again, Darcy finds himself faced with impossible choices: helping Elizabeth when she is certain to marry someone else, or holding onto his dignity by turning his back on the Bennets once and for all.
Pride and love are at loggerheads as he struggles to choose between his mind … and his heart.
Volume Two of The Darcy Novels continues the story began in Mr. Darcy’s Pledge but can be read as an independent book as well.
Monica is graciously giving away 2 copies of her book, Mr. Darcy’s Challenge. To enter, leave a comment below.
Giveaway ends December 11, 2014 at 11:59 PM EST. Open Internationally.
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