There’s Christmas, and then there’s the Christmas season. The former is one single day of magic, and the latter is many days of magic, spanning a little over a month, beginning the moment after you eat that last piece of turkey on Thanksgiving all the way up to the New Year. And while it’s not technically a season—at least on paper like Fall, Spring, Winter, and Summer—it’s every bit as deserving of the title. Now, with the seasoning coming to a close, it only feels fitting to reflect and acknowledge some of the tremendous things about it. Hopefully you were able to enjoy a few of them yourself.
1. The change in weather. The extent to which you experience this is entirely dependent on where you live. For example, if you live in Arizona, it’s still going to be Arizona and frying an egg on the sidewalk is always in play. However, for much of the country, the Christmas season means a shift in the weather. Temperatures dip. Leaves age a lifetime in just a few short weeks. Little white specks of snow dot the sky for the first time in almost a year. It’s everything from a Hallmark movie in the middle of December and more.
2. Christmas movies. Speaking of Hallmark’s in the middle of December, this time of year is great for movies. Sappy movies. Old movies. New movies. Short movies made by your 8-year-old nephew on his Mom’s iPhone that make you question your knowledge of technology and classic French literature. And, of course, Elf.
3. Mittens. Two main pros here. First, they keep your hands warm. This means you can take comfortable strolls through the neighborhood with loved ones or throw snow balls at your little cousin for up to seven times longer than normal. And second, they’re fashionable, pairing well with anything from a stylish winter jacket to a peacoat made entirely out of a trash bag.
4. Eggnog. Nothing says it’s the Christmas season like eggnog being served at a family gathering, or being offered as the milkshake flavor of the month at local diners. It’s as Christmas season as a drink gets without being one of those red cups from Starbucks.
5. Eggnog with alcohol. Like number 4, but with alcohol.
6. Ugly sweaters. During the Christmas season ugly sweaters go from why would anyone get a fuzzy sweater with a print of a penguin riding a reindeer being chased by an angry Santa in his skivvies to why would anyone NOT get a fuzzy sweater with a print of a penguin riding a reindeer being chased by an angry Santa in his skivvies and is that David Beckham wearing it? It’s simply the stylish thing to wear.
7. Fires. Because there’s nothing cozier than sitting around a fire with loved ones during the Christmas season. If it’s snowing outside, even better. Pro-tip: this is best when complimented with a beverage—perhaps some hot chocolate, or egg nog with a little too much of Grandma’s not-so-secret bottle of bourbon.
8. Christmas music. Imagine a nice cup of coffee in the morning, or a drive home from work, or yourself at work doing work things. Now imagine it with Christmas music. Better, right?
9. Board games/card games/party games. What happens when you get a bunch of family members together after a few generous portions of food and perhaps a little too much of Grandma’s eggnog? Uncle Dan getting wildly upset with cousin Tim for his inadequate portrayal of a turtle playing a harmonica in a game of charades. And it’s fantastic.
10. Time away from work. That’s not to say work isn’t important. It is, and it’s very much an integral part of our lives. However, it’s not what is truly important. Nor is shopping, material possessions, or your status on social media. Instead, it’s family, and the time we’re able to spend together. And thanks to the Christmas season, we’re reminded of that.
(Honorable mentions: seasonal decorations, opening presents, and almost anything else experienced during this time of year.)