1. Christmas Eve. It's my favorite day of the year, because everything is done, and you can just sit and anticipate. Also, there's a quiet that night like no other quiet any other time of the year.
2. Single candles in windows. This is, by far, my favorite Christmas decoration.
3. Lights in general. Christmas lights make me happy. When I was little, there was a family up the street from us --- the Lewises --- who put green lights on their house every year. It was SO pretty. From those big hot bulbs that burned hot to today's mini LEDs in shapes and srings. . . I love them all.
4. The blessings of Hanukkah. Actually, I like everything about Hanukkah, but the nightly blessings as each candle is lit move me.
5. Wrapping gifts. I should be very much over this after all those years working at the jewelry store, but I still enjoy picking out paper, coming up with new ways of "bowing" the packages, and ways to fake people out by putting tiny gifts in big boxes, or putting parts of one gift in several boxes to be put together later.
6. Two songs. "O Holy Night" for my traditional Christmas song, "Please Come Home for Christmas" for my more modern one. I'm otherwise turned off by Christmas music because I start hearing it much too soon.
7. TV with my children. Each Christmas Eve, we watch "The Muppet Christmas Carol." We know it by heart. We don't care.
8. Unpacking all the ornaments for the tree, and remembering the story behind each of them. There are very few "generic" ornaments on our tree; they, almost all, mean something very specific to us.
9. Getting beautiful cards. Today, I got a terrific one from Kathy:
10. Refusing to let go of that beam of hope, that sliver of "what if," that holds out the possibility that it might snow.