Before I get to my Christmas post, I have an update on Murder, by George. I received word from Five Star a week ago that they are rescheduling the release of their upcoming titles. The release date for Murder, by George has been moved from January to May 18, 2016. Now instead of having the book to curl up with on a cold winter’s night, it will be the perfect book to bring on your summer vacation!
The wait for Murder, by George will be a bit longer, but the Advent season of waiting will come to an end soon. Where are you in your Christmas preparations? Are you done and enjoying the sights, smells, and tastes of the season? Or are you still running around, searching for a gift for your uncle, buying flour for cookies to be baked, and trying to figure out where you’re going to find the time to bake those cookies?
Baking is one of my favorite Christmas traditions, with the candy cane cookie serving as the official Quigley family holiday treat. My paternal grandmother introduced the family to the cookie, baking it for many years from a Betty Crocker recipe. When she passed away in 1983, I assumed the duty of sifting confectioner’s sugar, crushing candy canes, and dying dough with red food coloring to make the tasty goodies. The cookie distribution has grown from three tins to nine as family scattered from upstate New York to the mountains of Colorado look forward to sinking their teeth into the delicious delight. I don’t leave myself out, always filling a tin with a few dozen to enjoy all the way to the twelfth night of Christmas.
Add batches of chocolate chip cookies and butter cookies to the mix and I’m in the kitchen for hours. That’s plenty of time to indulge in another tradition, the viewing of Christmas movies. I always start with Grumpy Old Men, starring my favorite screen team, Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. It might not be considered a holiday film, but the plot takes place during the season, which is enough reason for me to pop it into the dvd player and enjoy. It’s A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, and A Christmas Carol (the George C. Scott adaptation!) are on my must-see list.
A Christmas Carol is also a must-read in the days that lead up to Christmas. The Charles Dickens’ classic is so rich in story, characters, and setting, something different stands out to me each time I read it. If you’ve never read this short story, or if it’s been a few years, I heartily encourage you to set aside some time to spend with Scrooge, the Cratchit family, and the Three Spirits. I also add a helping of humor to my reading list with laugh-out-loud tales of holiday disasters, courtesy of Laurie Notaro’s An Idiot Girl’s Christmas.
Finally, what would the holiday be without fabulous Christmas music? Rosemary Clooney’s version of “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” Doris Day’s “Toyland,” “Christmas Time Is Here Again” from Marty Robbins, and anyone singing “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” are particular favorites of mine. And I’m always ready to sing-along with Mitch Miller and the Gang (“The Twelve Days of Christmas” anyone?), though my family would prefer I keep it to a soft hum.
However you celebrate, may your traditions bring you pleasure this season. Enjoy every moment with your family and friends, savoring old and new traditions with the spirit of the season. I wish you a very happy Christmas!