Well Christmas really snuck up on me this year, more so than ever. Between Thanksgiving being so late, a flurry of Christmas sessions and coming down with a bad sinus infection mid-December, I completely lost track of time. Suddenly, I find myself looking at the calendar and realizing that Christmas is next week. How did time fly by so fast!? While I still have baking, menu planning, gift wrapping and even shopping to do, the love and goodwill that are plentiful at this time of year are our greatest Christmas treasures. Spending time with family, swapping stories about good times gone by, celebrating Christmas Eve Mass with our church family and singing "Joy to the World" so exuberantly that it seems the walls of the church will burst from all the energy--these are my favorite things about Christmas.
The traditions we enjoy this time of year are my favorite way to celebrate the Christmas season and our family has had plenty of them over the years. After a period of time, some traditions have been retired for one reason of another, but the memory of those traditions are still warm in our hearts. In place of the old, new traditions have been created. Two of my all-time favorite Christmas traditions have to be visiting Bellingrath Christmas in lights (the nativity photo above was taken there) and panettone from Wiliams-Sonoma (shown below). Several years ago my dad started sending this panettone to his colleagues for Christmas, ordering one for our family as well. This traditional Italian bread has since become a staple of our family Christmas and we always save it for Christmas Day. We prefer to enjoy it by cutting it into thick slices and lightly toasting it in the oven. When it comes out of the oven from being warmed it melts in your mouth and is the perfect compliment to a hot cup of coffee on a cold Christmas morning. If there could only be one gift under the tree, panettone is what I would pick.
Despite the hustle and bustle of all the pre-Christmas preparations, let us not forget the reason for our celebrating. Let us hold fast to the wonderful fleeting moments of this special time of year and thank God for the blessing of His Son. I wish you all a Merry Christmas!