Ten Ways I'm Celebrating the Holidays!

Well, it's that time of year again...the holiday season, halfway through Hanukkah and twenty days precisely until Santa comes down the chimney--and so I give you, in my standard format, Ten Ways I'm Celebrating the Holidays!

1. Gushing over this fabulous satellite photograph of the cold, snowy UK! I'll confess, I know snow is a problem for most people, but I haven't seen a single flurry here in New York, so I'm a little jealous of my friends across the pond (and I'm wishing that I was wandering in St. James this week instead of doing copyedits on Eleven Scandals!)

2. English Shortbread - It's a tradition with my family, but this year we spend Christmas with Eric's parents...so we won't have it on the big day, therefore, we have it now.  :)

3. Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre - I laughed until I thought I might "Wii." Property is an investment; geese are a waste of my time and hers.

4. My Pandora holiday music station. I love holiday music. My husband (who is a musician) hates it. But he humors me from December 1st to December 25th every year, and lets me play it pretty much 24/7. I, in turn, allow him full-access to the stereo between December 26th and November 30th.

5. Oh, Etsy.com, how you tempt me; how you empty my bank account.

6. Christmas Tree! We buy our tree every year just like Harry & Sally do, we go out on the first Sunday in December, select our tree from Nikoli (who sleeps in his van and sells trees 24 hours a day until Christmas Eve), and carry it home in tandem. Nikoli's been doing this for way longer than we've been buying trees from him...so long that filmmaker Mary Matthews did this mini-documentary about him:

7. Winter romances, of course!  Last week, I read Sophie Jordan's FABULOUS latest (wintery and wonderful!) Wicked Nights With a Lover, and Lisa Kleypas's charming Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor. This week's docket? My friend Lauren Willig's The Mischief of the Mistletoe!

8. The Spirit of Hope & Goodwill - Even as we're all hearing (and feeling) about how tough it is out there...I count my (many) blessings and try to pay it forward--I make sure to put money in the Salvation Army buckets when I see them, and I write my annual check to the Robin Hood Foundation.  It's not much this year, but every little bit counts.

9. Environmentally friendly wrapping! For the last three years, Eric and I have been wrapping our presents in recycled, repurposed, all-natural wrapping: we save up copies of the New York Times and wrap gifts in newsprint, then accent the blacks and whites and greys with brightly colored ribbons, evergreen, lavender, and other fun natural or reusable things.  The packaging stands out against most others...and it makes us feel like we're doing our part to save the earth.

10. Yes, I know, I talk about him all the time, but Aaron Sorkin writes a great holiday show. Need proof? I give you the Sports Night episode in which we are all reminded that this is not just a season for giving, but also for giving thanks.

In the spirit of giving, how about this? I've got a signed copy of Sophie Jordan's Wicked Nights With a Lover AND a signed copy of Lauren Willig's The Mischief of the Mistletoe to give away, just in time for winter! Comment below with *your* favorite way to celebrate the season, and I'll choose two winners on Wednesday to receive the books!  We'll make sure to get it out in time for cozy New Years reading! **Don't forget to leave your email so I can reach you if you win!