Christmas Traditions and Stovetop Potpourri

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Isn't it interesting that at this time of year, favorite traditions take on a whole new league? They are amped up, held high, savored, and protected. I love that about Christmas and the holidays. It is one reason why I look forward to it all so much throughout the year. I get all nostalgic just thinking about how we've always done something as simple as easting at a certain restaurant on a certain night. I'm a nerd.

I thought I'd share  a few of my favorite holiday traditions over the next couple of posts--some that are new-ish and some that I have known my whole life.

Let's start with one that is relatively new: Stovetop Potpourri

It is, hands down, my favorite handmade gift to give out to teachers and neighbors. I found the recipe maybe five years ago on Pinterest (somewhere....can't find the original one anymore). My mother-in-law is hooked now as well and we make this every year for Christmas events, gifts, and for our own personal use. No mixing, no messes, and no washing dishes. And, unlike baking holiday treats, no weight gain on my part, so you!

Here is the recipe:

-1/2 cup cranberries
-Orange, quartered
-2-3 cinnamon sticks
-1 T whole cloves

Put all ingredients in a small saucepan. Fill with water. Put on the smallest burner, on the lowest setting. Refill water as needed to keep your house smelling like Christmas.

And! And I thought it would be fun to share the printable we used this year. I use a 3" scallop punch to cut out the tags on white cardstock. The link for the printable is right HERE. Guys. Please try this! You may just love it.


The other two traditions that I thought would be fun to share today are Christmas movies and the biggie: Christmas music. (I'm one of those who starts listening in October. Shhhhhh.)

Our family's favorite movies...

-Muppets Christmas Carol (my favorite version, still)
-The Santa Claus
-The Grinch
-Miracle on 34th Street (the newer one)
-A Christmas Story
-The Polar Express (Parker's all-time fave....are you surprised? We are watching it as I type.)
-Home Alone 1 and 2
-It's a Wonderful Life (my dad's favorite)
-Also, Love Actually and The Holiday....but I never thought of those as real Christmas movies? Am I weird? Must be the no mention of Santa thing. I watch them all year long.

As for the music....well. Good grief. I could go on for a year about this, but for your sake, I will just list what is absolutely necessary (maybe).

My childhood memories of Christmas largely consist of driving to and from Texas listening to the Alabama, Trisha Yearwood, Reba, Vince Gill, and Amy Grant Christmas cassette tapes. I can still tell you when each tape needs to be flipped. My dad hates country music so I'm surprised he allowed so much of this. (It may have been me and my sisters serious attempts to sound the the pros coming from the back seat. We meant business.)

Disclaimer: Most of these are horribly 80's / early 90's sounding....but I love them. Also, the YouTube videos may have weird slideshows. Sorry. :)

The Christmas Guest (still gives me chills, Reba!)
Silent Night (Reba)
On This Day (Reba)
Thistlehair The Christmas Bear (Alabama...I have a soft spot for this one)
Christmas in Dixie (Alabama)
Let There Be Peace on Earth (Vince)
Till The Season Comes Round Again (Vince)
Sweet Little Jesus Boy (Trisha Yearwood)
The Sweetest Gift (Trisha Yearwood)
Take a Walk Through Bethlehem (Trisha Yearwood)
Breath of Heaven (Amy Grant)
The Night Before Christmas (Amy Grant....the contemporary Christian Christmas anthem of 90's)

Other favorites that I won't link because it takes too much time (ha!), and also because you probably know them all:

Welcome to Our World - Chris Rice (Alright, I will link that one because I love it so much.)
Little Drummer Boy - Bing Crosby
Christmastime is Here - Sarah McLachlan, Sixpence None the Richer
Carol of the Bells - BarlowGirl, Destiny's Child
Somewhere In My Memory - Home Alone Soundtrack
Happy Xmas (War Is Over) - John Lennon, Maroon 5
Last Christmas - Taylor Swift, Wham!
O Holy Night - Nat King Cole, Leona Lewis, Celine Dion
Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy - David Bowie and Bing Crosby
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays - N'Sync (I was 10 in 1998....I can't resist.)
Christmas Song - Dave Matthews
All I Want for Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey (Duh.)
Christmas Wrapping - The Waitresses
White Christmas - The Drifters
Mary's Boy Child / Oh My Lord - Boney M.
Feliz Navidad - Jose Feliciano (Because I find joy in annoying my husband.)

What are your favorite holiday movies and music? I'd really love to know! It is so fun to read about what others do with their families, friends, and homes during this time of year.

Have a great Wednesday! Only nine days left.

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