Embrace the Joy of the Holiday Season

Well Thanksgiving was yesterday and it is the official start of the Holiday Season, which is by far my favorite time of year. If I could freeze time, I’d freeze it between Thanksgiving and January 2nd. No matter what is going on, I always take a little extra time to embrace this blessed season. I know this time of year can bring on extra stress, sadness and test our mental health, which I am not immune from. This is why I embrace the holiday season. I look at all the joy it brings versus the stress it invokes. So I am here to share with you some of the ways to embrace the joy of the holiday season.

Decorations

Like Kevin in Home Alone, I love Christmas trees. Real or artificial, I love them all lit up with ornaments and charm. Personally, I have an artificial flocked tree. It is my favorite piece of holiday decoration. I like having a flocked tree because it gives me a piece of winter wonderland in my home. Plus, the lights on the tree sparkle. I can stare at it all day. 

Candles, candles, candles! I love having a few extra candles throughout my house during the holiday season. I am a big fan of Yankee Candle and Bath and Body Works multi-wick candles. They burn super long and also burn even. I am partial to all their pumpkin scents. It makes me feel warm and cozy. It is like having pumpkin pie baking all the time. When I’m home, I light all my candles first thing in the morning before my coffee. I am in love with this battery lighter from Amazon. It is so easy, safe and convenient to light all my candles.  

Oh my goodness, I can’t forget Christmas Lights. I love them indoors and outdoors. The gentle glow brings relaxing energy and comfort. I also love going on walks at the local zoo to see their “Zoo Lights”. I also love going on drives with friends around neighborhoods looking at all the houses and their creative designs. This is so nostalgic for me. We used to do this as a family every year. Loading up our family minivan with a thermos of hot chocolate and drive around our neighborhood looking at all the lights with holiday music playing on the radio. Fun fact: the neighborhood I grew up in, Timberline in Sammamish, WA, made the news as one of the best places to go to see Christmas Lights. 

Movies

I will first start off by saying I am not a Hallmark movie watcher, too sappy for me which is saying a lot, LOL. But, if you are, I don’t judge, you do you. The movies I love watching this time of year and will watch on repeat the entire holiday season are Home Alone and Home Alone 2, Christmas Vacation, the Holiday, Elf and the Grinch (Illumination version). I consider them classics. What I love about these movies is that they make me belly laugh so hard that I cry. In addition, these movies also highlight the magic of the holiday season. I’m a sap and cry tears of joy by the end. 

Music

Holiday music like holiday movies spark the emotions of this season. Listening to holiday music makes me smile, especially as I can sing along without even knowing I’m doing it. Also, music makes me pause and meditate on what this time of year is all about. 

Food

There isn’t enough time for me to talk about all the wonderful food I enjoy this time of year, so I will just highlight my favorite… My Great-Grandmother’s (GG) Raisin Bread. This recipe has been handed down generation to generation. It is absolutely delicious dense bread that can be enjoyed warm or cold. I love having it with my coffee in the morning. The recipe makes 6 loaves, so my mama would make it and take it to the neighbors every year. Now, I make it for my mama, auntie and friends. I also love to keep a loaf in the freezer to enjoy when I’m feeling nostalgic. I have provided the recipe below if you would like to enjoy it yourself. 

Ingredients:

3 packages of yeast

2 ¾ C sugar

¼ C warm water (~110o)

4 C whole milk

6 C flour

5 egg yolks

¾ lb butter

1 ½ lbs raisins

1 ½ T crushed cardamom

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine yeast with ¼ cup of sugar and water then set aside to bloom until it doubles. While the yeast blooms, melt the butter and heat the milk until warm. In a bowl mix together the flour, remaining sugar, and egg yolks then slowly add the warm milk. Once combined add the melted butter then raisins and cardamom. Pour the batter evenly into 6 bread pans. I use aluminum pans so I can gift the extra loaves. Put the bread pans on a cookie sheet for easy transfer to the oven. Bake for 45 minutes, but check with a fork to make sure it comes out clean. You may need to bake a bit longer. I usually keep an eye on it. When done baking, remove from the oven and let cool completely. Then wrap each loaf in a clear gift bag, tie a bow around it and adhere a gift tag then distribute for loved ones to enjoy. 

And so much more…

I honestly could go on and on about the holiday season because it really makes me so happy. I could talk about how much I love the winter wonderland when it snows or share the joy I get from spending extra time with family and friends. Sure the holiday season is full of hustle and bustle but it is also an opportunity to slow down and meditate on the spirit and joy this time of year brings. Until next time have a joy filled day and peaceful holiday season. 

Do you enjoy the holiday season as much as I do? If so, what is your favorite, the music, decorations or movies? Did you try my GG’s raisin bread? If so, did you share it with loved ones? Please share in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *