4:35 PM

Everything I know about Christmas

I learned from my mom.

The joy of baking and the smell of butter, nuts, chocolate and cinnamon filling the house. That's still the smell of warmth and home-iness for me today.

The pleasure in giving those treats away in pretty packages. And trying to have some on hand by Christmas day!

And the old classics on TV; Frosty, Rudolph, Charlie Brown and The Grinch...guess they weren't "classics" then.

And learning to play carols on the piano and singing badly along.

That adding sparkle and twinkle and color to a house is partly lights and tinsel and partly the same decorations that go up year after year...many homemade and given by others and not about matching or color schemes or themes.

That wishlists are starting points and no guarantee. And they're really just a way to dream and imagine and maybe even realize how little you need.

That the hustle and bustle should be less about shopping and more about stopping in. My mom was not generally a fan of stopping in - that's my dad's domain but at Christmas there was no end of friends stopping by and Christmas Eve was about us going to friends' homes all over the place.

That Santa is more about magic than anything else. And a great motivator for an early bedtime.

And grownups still love cookies and milk.

And stockings are the best part of the gifts.

That Christmas morning is about chaos and mess and unhealthy breakfast and that's absolutely ok once a year.

And that the whole thing should be capped off by family gathered together with hospitality, laughter and thankfulness.

Merry Christmas!