Christmas is almost here. This time of year always flies by for me. Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. One of the most exciting Christmases of my childhood was when I got my Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal. As an adult, the one that stands out was when my partner got 2 cockatiels for me for Christmas, Adam and Steve.
Every family has their traditions. Here are some of mine:
- Christmas music. We always had a lot of Christmas music around our house growing up. My Mom had these compilations with a variety of stars on them like Andy Williams and Rosemary Clooney. Plus she had the Christmas albums from Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, Nat King Cole and the Carpenters. I loved Barbra’s “Jingle Bells” especially — she does a very fun version of it. Now as an adult, I have quite a collection of Christmas CDs — everyone from NSync to Amy Grant to Donna Summer to Josh Groban. If someone in the last 30 years has put out a Christmas CD, I probably have it!
- Christmas caroling. This warrants its own listing. Besides listening to a lot of music, we sang a lot too. We sang at church and at home too. I went to Catholic grammar school and the kids of the school often sang at one mass on Sundays including at Christmas too. At home, we would sing Christmas carols at parties with family and neighbors. My mom made up these song sheets of Christmas carols, everything from “Rudolph” to “Silent Night.” We would even go to the neighbor’s houses and sing for them too. One my favorite parts of the celebration would be the singing of “12 Days of Christmas.” So everyone would pick out a random verse of the song out of a bowl, and then you would be responsible for that verse… Everyone always wanted “5 Golden Rings” as that is the biggest most dramatic verse to have. Now we have my nieces and their families in on the tradition too.
- Christmas concerts. As you can tell, I love music. For 12 years, my partner and I attended this event called “The Colors of Christmas.” This show brings together 4 different vocalists and has them sing their own hits, plus Christmas songs, as groups, duos and solo artists. Backed by a small orchestra and band, plus with help from a choir on some numbers, this is one of the most enjoyable and uplifting shows you can experience. The crowd is usually dressed up for the event and ready for some holiday cheer. The main star is Peabo Bryson, and they try to have 2 females and 2 males every time. Artists we have seen over the years included Sheena Easton, Melissa Manchester, James Ingram, Michael McDonald, Oleta Adams, Jon Secada, Jody Watley, Bill Medley, Natalie Cole, En Vogue, Patti Austin, Marilyn McCoo, Roberta Flack, Christopher Cross and more. Peabo is known for being quite the showman, and he loves to come through the audience and greet people. We have shook his hand a few times. I also remember seeing Kenny Rogers with my Mom one year in a Christmas show.
- Christmas decorations. I have always been one to help my parents put up their Christmas decorations. We have the lights on the outside of the house, plus the tree and all the decorations inside the house too. It all goes up the weekend after Thanksgiving. My partner and I also love to decorate our home. We favor the real Christmas tree unlike my parents who like artificial trees. Plus we do a lot more with lights and candles. We will have lights strung on every wall and window, plus all the lights on the tree too, often with chasing light patterns. When we have our Christmas Party, we love to just light the place with just Christmas lights and candles. We have a new space to decorate this year. So we will be creative!
- Christmas parties. My lover and I like to throw parties especially Christmas parties. It is great to see everyone dressed up and the house all decorated. Plus all the great food (more on that below). We also try to attend as many Christmas parties of friends and family as we can — some years this means we have 2 every weekend in December. Work parties, church parties, family parties, friends parties and more. We are very grateful to have such wonderful people in our lives.
- Christmas food. I like to make desserts: blueberry streusel, pumpkin bread, sugar cookies, rice krispy treats. My partner likes to do meats: turkey, ham, goose, chicken wings. Other holiday favorites include: freshly made bread, greens, stuffing, potatoes, salads, artichoke dip, and more. Plus for our parties we like to do potluck — so that means our friends cook some great dishes too. My lover makes a great cheesecake too — we have done Reeses, Snickers, White Chocolate and his favorite Sweet Potato Pie/Cheesecake combo.
- Christmas lights. Beside all the lights at home, we will go out and see Christmas lights around town. We love the LA DWP Holiday Light Show in Griffith Park, plus going to Candy Cane Lane in Woodland Hills as well as Christmas Tree Lane and the Ballion House in Pasadena. Nothing better than going out in the convertible with Santa hats on, while listening to Christmas music, and seeing who has come up with the biggest and most dramatic Christmas display.
I want to thank everyone for making the first year of the Kilt Man in So Cal blog so successful. May you have a great holiday season with your family and friends. And best wishes for a fantastic 2012.
Spice69man is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here. They make great gifts for the holidays.