Sigh. My skin has reverted to its thirteen-year-old pimpliness, I have some monster pinched-nerve issue going on with my back and neck right now, and I have a sneaking suspicion that both of these things are at least partly due to holiday stress. I think it's pretty lame of me to let something as happy as Christmas make me all stressed out, so I'm going to take a moment to reflect upon some of the simple, non neck-pinching things I love about this time of year.
Sure, summer's bounty is long gone, but there are some great things in season in winter, too. Like pomegranates (kind of a pain to actually eat, but so healthy and tasty), and my personal favorite, clementines!
Clementines are the ultimate winter treat for me, especially when I've been over-indulging on all the turkey dinners and baked goods we're inundated with this time of year. They require no silverware, they are sweet and (usually) seedless, and they add color and cheer (and their citrusy fragrance!) to your kitchen.
Trader Joe's Goodies.
No longer do I have to beg and bribe friends from out of state to send me Trader Joe's care packages, or drag my poor hapless hosts in other cities (sorry, guys) to grocery stores when I visit them. Nashville finally got its very own Trader Joe's last month, and I have already patronized it much more than I should.
Trader Joe's has its own version of Oreo sandwich cookies, the adorably-named Joe-Joe's. At Christmas, they stock limited quantities of Candy Cane Joe-Joe's. People, the creme filling is sprinkled with pieces of candy cane! So good.
I prefer to enjoy my Candy Cane Joe-Joe's with milk (the dunking is very important), but to accompany other cookies, I enjoy a nice cup of TJ's Wintry Blend Coffee, which has a spicy holiday kick to it. I need to get over there and snatch up another canister of this before it's all gone!
Starbucks Holiday Drinks.
I know, I know, times are dire and five-dollar drinks are frivolous. I agree. In fact, I've only had one peppermint mocha this year. I'll probably indulge in a couple more, plus a gingerbread latte. These goofy sweet drinks are a nice pick me up in the midst of all the holiday craziness.
For a cheaper treat at home, I indulge in the somewhat trashier. . .
Coffeemate Seasonal Creamers.
Look, flavored non-dairy creamer is seventeen kinds of wrong, and most of the time, I stay clear away from it. But something about these holiday flavors makes it all okay in my mind. I don't ask you to understand, but I do suggest that you try the gingerbread flavor.
As for the eggnog, that just seems too gross, even for me.
(Surprise: a non-edible item!) A Charlie Brown Christmas.
I love all kinds of Christmas music, and just like my wallet makes allowances for goofy coffee drinks and my conscience overlooks the nastiness of oil-based coffee creamer, my snob-o-meter lowers a few notches around the holidays. This is why Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas" will always be on my holiday playlist.
But even the most severe music critic has to admit that the music on A Charlie Brown Christmas by The Vince Guaraldi Trio, stands the test of time and taste. It's beautiful music that awakens the nostalgic, warm and fuzzy dork within me. Give it a listen while you're wrapping gifts, or play it in your car to lessen the stress from holiday shopping traffic.