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This is the first Christmas I’ve spent not surrounded by multiple members of my crazy but well-loved family, so I thought it would be a good idea to chronicle my five favorite non-family related things about Christmas. Plus, with the hours I’ve put in lately I know I’ve been a bit bitter about the season, so I think this will do me some good.

1. Christmas decorations

I love love love Christmas decorations. This was our first year decorating our own tree, and even though we were using hand-me-down ornaments and it wasn’t exactly what I would have done had I been able to purchase what I wanted, I’m still very happy with having my own tree. The smell of pine is amazing. I also can’t think of anything nicer than Christmas lights on a cold night.

2. Cookies!

Everyone and their mother has sent us Christmas cookies and they are awesome. Shortbread, piecrust, sandwich, drop – I don’t care, I’ll eat them all. And since R. is not a big sweets person, I pretty much get to.

3. No obligations

After 25 Christmases of needing to be somewhere at least 2 hours away from where I currently lived, it’s nice to not have to go anywhere. Yep, I’ll miss seeing my family, but I’ll also enjoy having an excuse to sit around the house and play with whatever Santa brings.

4. Food

I already hit on the cookies, but oh man, Christmas is such a good excuse to eat good food. Last night R. made me filet with mushrooms and potatoes and an entire bottle of Bordeaux. We’re thinking lamb for Christmas dinner.

5. The weather

Remarkably, we’ve had cold but sunny weather for the past few weeks, and I’ve been enjoying it. It’s really amazing how much more Christmassy everything feels when then temperature is not seventy-odd degrees. It looks like our no-rain streak will be breaking on Christmas day, but that’s fine by me since I’ve got fuck-all to do.

So now I’m going to do the thing I never do just because it’s almost Christmas – ask lame questions at the end of the post. Do you guys have favorite non-family things going on right now? How do you spend the holidays if you don’t travel or have family visit?