My first Christmas tree 🎄

Well, not my first … but my first, as in the first Christmas tree I have put up in my own home.

Sitting in a dark room with a twinkling tree might be my favorite Christmas mood. But I find I also enjoy sitting at the piano, playing Christmas music next to the tree with all its lights and decorations:

Maintaining traditions you love

I don’t believe in continuing traditions for their own sake. (I’m looking at you, oyster stew on Christmas Eve!) But traditions you enjoy are a pleasure to keep alive.

One of those traditions for me is eating cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. When I was little, my parents would get up, twist open a package of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls, and pour themselves coffee before we settled in to open our stockings. Licking the icing off my fingers before ripping open my stocking stuffers is a cherished part of Christmas.

This year, I decided to make those cinnamon rolls from scratch. I had baked the America’s Test Kitchen Quick Cinnamon Buns with Buttermilk Icing a couple times before, and thanks to the lingering effects of jet lag I woke up around 6 AM — plenty of time to bake before everyone woke up!

There’s something very meditative about baking when the house is quiet and you aren’t feeling rushed. And the joy of eating the results (and watching others enjoy the results, too!) was a gift in itself.

Christmas Markets

I love Christmas markets. While living in Germany I discovered the joy of wandering through the market, seeing the crafts, smelling the food, and (of course!) enjoying a cup of glühwein. On a recent trip to Edinburgh, we happened completely by chance on their market. What fun!