We all know them. The traditions that make things “right”. This time of year the traditions are very visible and what makes people happy – something we all need this year! People are thinking about Christmas, preparing the event in spite of everything. The thought of not being able to be with loved ones is truly sad. But we have to try anyway! I usually say: “it’s gonna be Christmas no matter what I do or say – so let’s do this the best we can!!”

I love Christmas! Not that it ruins the budget because everything is so expensive here. But the chance to focus on giving the recipient something they’re going to be happy getting. It doesn’t matter if it’s something big or not. Doesn’t matter if it’s trendy or not. Doesn’t matter if it’s expensive or not. What matters is this: the thought behind the gift, the willingness to make an effort to find just the right gift. Wrapping the gift so it’s looking it’s best. Writing the card and pouring all the good wishes in those words. Giving the present and watch the recipient’s reaction. It’s nice to get a present too, but I get a thrill out of giving. Doesn’t get better than that!

I love December even more! I start decorating on December 1. Day by day more things will appear around the house, old things that just have to be there, new things that are going to be a part of it all in the future, weird things just because and of course the Christmas lights are there to brighten the dark days. That’s my way of creating Christmas spirit. It seems like some people have an on/off switch in the head that makes them wait with decorations and everything else until a couple of days before Christmas. I don’t have that switch and honestly; I don’t want it. I have to build my Christmas spirit up slowly over time. It takes about twenty days 😉 Then I’m all Christmas and nothing you say or do can ruin it. It’s that strong!

One of my favorite traditions are oranges with ribbons and cloves. I tie the ribbon on the orange first, it’s easy this way and divides the orange into four spots to put the cloves. Then with a skewer I poke a hole in the orange and put in the clove. It takes a while to fill a whole orange and it’s a bit messy but the fragrance! This is what Christmas smells like to me. Maybe because it was one of the first things I learned to make for Christmas when I was a kid, I don’t know. I just know that it’s not real Christmas without the fragrance of oranges filled with cloves!

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