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The 15 Best Things About Christmas!

…That have zilch to do with presents!

christmas_caroling

Here are my 15 favorite Christmas memories that prove that it can come without packages, boxes or bags…

1. Grandma taking me to The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center in NYC every year, and enthusiastically whispering the ballet “translation” into my ear. My favorite part is when the Christmas tree grows.

2. Christmas morning meal: Smoked salmon on bagels with cream cheese, a splash of lemon juice, cracked pepper and red onion. Rinse and repeat.

3. Listening to Charlie Williams sing Oh Holy Night in his amazing tenor voice during Lawrenceville School’s Christmas Eve chapel service.

4. Piling into the mini van with dad behind the wheel and seeking out the tackiest, most over-the-top Christmas decorations in the whole neighborhood (usually the house whose light display syncs to a local radio station wins).

5. Watching our favorite Christmas movies: White Christmas, A Christmas Story, and Home Alone… ya filthy animal.

6. TV kid specials: Charlie Brown Christmas, Grinch, The Snowman (I cry every time) Frosty and Rudolph.

7. Christmas dinner at my aunt Kate’s, whom I usually only get to see twice a year.

8. Christmas Eve dinner: lamb chops with mint jelly, potatoes, and asparagus.

9. Our neighbor makes homemade wassail, and often makes me my very own jug because otherwise I’ll drink everyone else’s.

10. Huge family reunion on my mom’s side of the family the weekend before Christmas, when we all stay in Connecticut and go into NYC for the day to visit the grandparents and have a huge Chinese food lunch at Papa’s.

11. Snuggling by the fire with Cookie, our jack russell.

12. Rereading David Sedaris’s Holidays On Ice every year, and laughing hysterically at the story of the competitive neighbors.

13. Putting on the Julie Andrews Christmas album, and trimming the tree as a family.

14. Being woken up by my little brother Jack: “Liza!! Get up!! Christmas!!!!!”

15. Listening to Christmas music on my iPod in the car… My four favorite Christmas albums:

  • All Christmas music by Sufjan Stevens
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas album
  • The Nutcracker Suite, performed by the New York City Philharmonic.
  • South Park’s Mr. Hankey’s Christmas album (because I refuse to grow up when it comes to South Park).

…Presents? Who needs presents?

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