'Tis the season . . .
Some of the things I like least about Christmas:
Feeling like I have to spend money. I'm working on it; at least this year we have managed to avoid going overboard in an orgy of spending. So far.
Related to this: Watching kids go into overload as they open present after present after present, when they just want to play with what they've got.
Gaining weight and having my blood sugar go nuts from all of the baking my wife does.
Having to hear that stupid song about getting run over by a reindeer again.
The so-called "War on Christmas" and those that perpetrate the meme.
The fact that it never snows on Christmas Eve like it's supposed to. (This one is balanced out by the fact that for almost all of our married lives, we've lived in places like Austin and Seattle where it's not likely to snow on Christmas Eve.)
Some of the things I like most about Christmas:
Seeing White Christmas and It's A Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story again. (And again, and again, and again . . . )
All the Christmas specials on TV and radio.
FSM help me, all those yummy things my wife bakes.
Going to see The Christmas Revels and The Canadian Brass, and (on years when we're lucky) The Nutcracker. (Not this year, sad to say.)
The chance to give experiences instead of just one more thing to clutter up the house.
Putting on my digitized collection of Christmas music and hearing all the old favorites, plus stuff that gets added to the collection every year. The old standbys by Bing Crosby and Elvis. Petty Booka singing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" in Japanese. Pete Seeger singing "Behold That Star" and "Glory To That Newborn King." Spanish and German carols, in Spanish and German. "Santa Claus and His Old Lady." Chet Atkins. The Three Tenors doing "So This Is Christmas" and hearing those operatic voices go nuts on "War is over if you want it." The Beach Boys' tight harmony on "Little St. Nick." MECO's Star Wars Christmas Album. Things I'd forgotten I had. Things I remember fondly from my childhood.
Santa letters. Seeing the kids', and now the grandkids', eyes light up on Christmas morning. (And one year, hearing my granddaughter exclaim, "I didn't know I was this good!!")
Going out early on Christmas morning when Santa is doing his rounds. There is a time after midnight when the traffic dies down and everything is still. It's kind of the aural equivalent of a blackout. I like to go outside then and just listen to the sound of the city in silence and at peace. If it would just start snowing then, everything would be perfect.