My Favorite Things–Christmas 2013 Edition

Every Christmas lover (myself included) has certain traditions and items that are such an integral part of the holiday that we can’t imagine the season without them.  Faith, family, and friends combine with movies, music, decorations, and cookies to create the most magical time of the year.  Though we love our perfect versions of Christmas, there will always be room for new favorites that make our holidays even more merry and bright.  Below are my holiday favorites, both new and old.  I hope they’ll help get you in the Christmas spirit.

Music is first up for me.  I. love. Christmas music.  I’m not one of those people who start listening to the Christmas station the day after Thanksgiving, but I’ll fully admit to turning that dial over before Thanksgiving.  As a very little girl, it just wasn’t Christmas without Barbara Mandrell’s “Christmas at Our House.”  I remember listening to it and singing along to each and every song with my mom.  As I got older, I brought Amy Grant’s “Home for Christmas” and Martina McBride’s “White Christmas” into the fold.  To me, they have the same warm, homey quality as Barbara Mandrell’s album does.  Later on, I found Pottery Barn’s “Classic Christmas” and immediately loved it.  I’m a sucker for the retro styles of Tony Bennet, Dean Martin, and Nat King Cole, and this cd has them all.  This year, I’m adding Kelly Clarkson’s “Wrapped in Red” to my heavy rotation.  It’s the perfect balance of classic, country, and upbeat pop to keep the Christmas spirit flowing.

What would Christmas be without movies?  My list of favorite is short and clear.  Number one is (and will likely always be) “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”  There is nothing else like it.  Period.  Second place belongs to “Love Actually,” and entirely different kind of movie, followed by “Elf.”  I just have to watch each of them at least once during the holiday season.  (And maybe more during the year.  Judge away.)

Scents are also a major part of my Christmas experience.  I think this may stem from spending my young childhood in Oklahoma where the air always had that crisp, on the verge of snow smell and our house always smelled of fresh Christmas tree, then moving to Phoenix where the air never smells crisp and my sister developed asthma (no fun!) causing our family to switch to artificial trees.  Luckily, my mom and I found candles to fill the gaps.  Yankee Candle Company’s Balsam & Cedar smells so closely of real Christmas tree that I sometimes actually forget my tree is fake.  I can bring in the fresh scent of snow (and a yummy twist of peppermint) with Yankee’s Jack Frost candle.  Together, it’s holiday perfection.  

I don’t stop the scents with just two candles.  Of course, there’s plenty of holiday baking going on, but not even that is enough for me.  With Williams-Sonoma’s peppermint hand soap and lotion next to my sinks, I’m Christmas ready.  They stopped making it for a couple of years and I’m so glad to see it’s back now.  I hope it’s here to stay.

This year, I wanted to bring some Christmas cheer to my phone and laptop.  I upgraded to an iPhone 5s just after Thanksgiving, so of course I needed a new case.  Red is my favorite color, so this Case Mate glimmer cover in flame red is perfect for me.  I may use it during other times of the year, but it seems best suited to Christmas.

I also found some new free wallpapers.  I’ve got the red glitter one as my lock screen and the lights as the wallpaper on my phone and wallpaper.  The red glitter also comes in a really pretty baby blue, which I think I’ll switch to in January.  To install each of these on my phone, I just found them on Pinterest, took a screen shot, then stretched them a bit to cut out the Pinterest formatting.  I know it’s not the most technical, but it worked.

Finally, I’m sharing a year-round favorite I often turn to during the holidays.  I’ve had a subscription to Bon Appétit for several years now and I still enjoy it just as much as I did during my first year.  I’ll be renewing my subscription this year and I’d love to give one of y’all a subscription of your own.  All you have to do is complete any or all of the following steps for up to three chances to win.  Don’t forget to leave me your e-mail address!

1.  Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite Christmas tradition or item.  

2.  Like Apple a Day on facebook.  Leave a comment here telling me you’re now following me or already were.

3.  Follow Apple a Day on Pinterest.  Whether you’re a new follower or an old friend, leave me a comment on this post letting me know.

4.  Follow Apple a Day on instagram.  You know the drill–leave a comment here telling me you’re now following or are already a follower.

This giveaway is open to all U.S. readers and goes until midnight on Friday, December 13th.  I’ll choose a winner by random integer generator on Saturday, December 14th.  Once again, be sure to leave me your e-mail address and be on the lookout that day.  Good luck!

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  1. Liz Swanson
    December 9, 2013 / 3:14 pm

    My favorite tradition is driving around looking at all the gorgeous holiday light displays on Christmas Eve. Thanks for the phone tips – I put the lights as my background too – so pretty I love it!

  2. Missy
    December 9, 2013 / 3:39 pm

    My favorite tradition is watching White Christmas with my girlfriends in our pajamas!

  3. Amy
    December 9, 2013 / 5:34 pm

    I'm right there with you for Christmas Vacation! Merry Christmas, …..'s full!

  4. Amy Rasor
    December 9, 2013 / 5:44 pm

    I love doing "The Elf on the Shelf" for our kids – we've been doing it for a few years now and it is so fun for all of us!

  5. Amy Rasor
    December 9, 2013 / 5:46 pm

    I'm already a Facebook follower.

  6. Amy Rasor
    December 9, 2013 / 5:47 pm

    I'm already a Pinterest follower.

  7. Joanne
    December 10, 2013 / 12:37 pm

    I still haven't gotten my Love Actually on yet this year! Must happen.

  8. Delia
    December 10, 2013 / 12:47 pm

    I love driving around to look at lights. Now that C is older he enjoys it just as much and we take quite a few detours on the way home from work.

  9. Delia
    December 10, 2013 / 12:48 pm

    I follow you on twitter

  10. Delia
    December 10, 2013 / 12:52 pm

    I follow you on Facebook

  11. Delia
    December 10, 2013 / 12:52 pm

    I follow you on Instagram

  12. Delilah
    December 10, 2013 / 2:35 pm

    There are so many things that make this time of year special, but I would have to say that my favorite tradition is spending Christmas Eve with my husband's grandparents who are in their 80's. This year is special since it's baby's first! P.S. Have you heard Straight No Chaser? I especially love their Holiday station on Pandora! They are my favorite along with Michael Buble & Christina Aguilera's Christmas albums.

  13. Delilab
    December 10, 2013 / 2:35 pm

    Follow on Facebook…

  14. Delilah
    December 10, 2013 / 2:36 pm

    Follow on pinterest

  15. Ella311
    December 10, 2013 / 7:21 pm

    Favorite tradition: Making homemade tamales with my family! Using my dad's amazing red chile…made from the pod and not some "powder". Luckily, I'm from New Mexico, so the real stuff is not hard to come by! Then there is watching Christmas movies, Love Actually, Christmas Vacation, Miracle on 34th Street (the original in black and white), ELF, and so many more!

  16. Ella311
    December 10, 2013 / 7:23 pm

    If you didn't already know, I'm following you on Pinterest, IG, FB, and even on Bourbon Street! <3 Miss you, friend!

  17. Cinnamon Freud
    December 11, 2013 / 6:58 am

    One of my favorite traditions is making sausage cups with my mom on Christmas morning

  18. Cinnamon Freud
    December 11, 2013 / 6:59 am

    Follow on instagram

  19. Cinnamon Freud
    December 11, 2013 / 6:59 am

    Follow on Pintrest

  20. Suzy Q
    December 11, 2013 / 9:05 am

    Favorite tradition is hanging the ornaments my mom gave us each year…fun to look at the dates on each and see what our interests were back then!tokyoshoes at hotmail dot com

  21. Suzy Q
    December 11, 2013 / 9:07 am

    New follower on pinterest!tokyoshoes at hotmail dot com

  22. Katie
    December 11, 2013 / 11:54 pm

    New follower on Pinterest!ksmurphs115 at yahoo dot com

  23. modulatetome
    December 12, 2013 / 10:09 pm

    Watching the "Snowman" Christmas Eve before bed!

  24. Heather
    December 14, 2013 / 12:31 am

    I love putting up the Christmas tree after Thanksgiving. We also each get a new ornament every year.

  25. Heather
    December 14, 2013 / 12:32 am

    I follow you on Instagram (SPLemonade).

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