It’s Not the Holidays Until…

Back when I was a little girl, the end of the school semester, exams, and being able to take 3 weeks off school signaled to me that the holidays were well on their way.  During those weeks, I was able to wake up late, help my parents take care of the house, and watch every single holiday movie under the sun.  I also vaguely remember mom and dad bringing home a holiday ham that Melanie and I got to eat for dinner every night until it was gone.  Ham, corn, and mac-and-cheese was the usual before-Christmas meal.  Man, I would kill to go back to those days.

Now that I am grown up, I haven’t been able to take a holiday break for 3 years.  If you’re anything like me, chances are you feel like the year went by entirely too fast, and it really still feels like November, not December.  But I got to thinking about this question: What can I do now that I am all grown and I need a little help getting in the Christmas spirit?  And I have compiled a little list that will be completed by December 24.

CHRISTMAS COOKIE MAKING- Despite the fact that I have really grown as a cook and baker, my sister makes the absolute best Christmas cookies.  It’s a crisco cookie mix that has been in the family for generations with a sweet almond-flavored icing.  Each year my cousin Parker and Uncle Mike are practically salivating waiting for these delicious delights to come out of the oven.  Sadly this year, Melanie will not be home until Christmas Eve in the late afternoon.  I am going to coerce her into making a batch or two tomorrow night (I get to see her tomorrow!!!) while we watch some Christmas movies on the television.

Image Courtesy of ThePioneerWoman.com

Image Courtesy of ThePioneerWoman.com

ADDING TO THE ADVENT CALENDAR- Most of these Christmas traditions are here for Melanie and I to partake in, and with her being gone so much, it holds me up a bit, however, with her coming home this weekend, it’s going to be a little easier.  We have this “Night Before Christmas” advent calendar that Mel and I get to share in assembling.  Some years she will take the even days, I will take the odds, and vice versa.  Regardless, every year, we bicker over who gets to put the ballerina doll under the tree in the calendar.  No idea what it is about the ballerina doll, but I think this year, I am going to let Mel have the doll to place on the calendar.  I know, I’m a giver.

BLOWING THROUGH MY LIST OF CHRISTMAS MOVIES- I finally get a three day weekend to watch a few but my go-to Christmas movies are: Elf, Muppet Christmas Carol, The Nutcracker Prince (with Kiefer Sutherland as the voice of the Nutcracker), Serendipity, Charlie Brown Christmas, Love Actually, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Flintstones Christmas Carol.  It’s a strange list, but it’s just not Christmas until I have watched all these movies and I conclude my movie palooza with A Christmas Story marathon on Christmas Eve.

My Absolute Favorite Scene.  Doesn't Matter How Old I Get, I Still LaughCourtesy of TBS

My Absolute Favorite Scene. Doesn’t Matter How Old I Get, I Still Laugh
Courtesy of TBS

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS AT CAROWINDS AND MCADENVILLE-  I have the benefit of living with 10 minutes of the first and 30 minutes to the next.  Every year, Carowinds uses their “needle,” one of the tallest attraction in the park as a giant Christmas tree.  My parents would drive Mel and I by it whenever we were up in the Charlotte area.  I still squeal like a five-year old kid when I drive by it.  If you have never seen Christmasville USA AKA McAdenville, it is a true gem!  I started going 3 years ago, and the town that I am pretty sure has a “you must put up Christmas lights and furthermore decorate every tree on your lawn…you know what, don’t stop there we want to see the holiday spirit blow up all over your lawn” clause in their HOA laws.  Thousands of lights and displays…simply magical.

The tallest tree in Charlotte!Courtesy of themeparkreview.com

The tallest tree in Charlotte!
Courtesy of themeparkreview.com

TO GRANDMYRTLE’S HOUSE WE GO- It’s just not Christmas until we go to my dad’s mother’s house AKA GrandMyrtle’s.  She makes the best food, we all open gifts, and catch up on our year.  Afterwards, we head over to Concord Mills to handle some last-minute Christmas shopping.  I am thrilled about going this year!

HICKORY FARMS RANCH CHEESEBALL-  My obsession with this now nonexistent holiday treat borderlines Cartman’s love affair with the Swiss Colony Beef Log.  Don’t know what I am talking about?  Do yourself a favor and click here.  Every year, my family would get a Hickory Farms Summer Sausage…or 4 and a ranch cheeseball.  A few years ago, they discontinued it.  And every year, I want to start a petition to bring it back.  Seriously, Hickory Farms?  You’re killing my inner fat kid.  IS anyone else with me?  So this year, I am going to attempt to make a ranch cheeseball of my own.  Here’s hoping I can do it justice.

What holiday must-haves do you have to cross off your list before it feels like Christmas?  And can I get an amen on the Hickory Farms Ranch cheeseball, seriously??!!

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