‘Tis The Season

Deck the halls with holly.
Roast chestnuts on a fire.
Hear the soft angelic voices
Of a caroling children’s choir.

Snowflakes frost the windows
In the quiet winter air,
While the smell of fresh-baked cookies
Wafts through houses everywhere.

Candy canes fill stockings
Hung above the fireplace.
Loved ones joined around the table
Start a feast by saying grace.

Excited little children
Gaze up at the starry sky
To catch a glimpse of Santa
And his reindeer that can fly.

The family all gathers
Round the decorated tree
As they give each other presents
And they share each other’s glee!

‘Tis the season to be jolly!
May your day be full of cheer!
Have a very Merry Christmas
And a wonderful New Year!

Merry Christmas to all my family, friends, and readers who are celebrating! May you all have a blessed weekend and a wonderful holiday season!

My Top Ten Christmas Songs

Charlie Brown ChristmasWhat’s Christmas without Christmas music? Since I wrote a post on my favorite Christmas stories last year, I thought this year I would share my favorite Christmas songs! I have plenty of fond childhood memories of listening to seasonal music around this time of year, and it always inspired me to get into the holiday spirit.

So to help you get a little more into the spirit of the season, here’s a countdown of my ten favorite Christmas-themed songs! Enjoy, and have a very Merry Christmas!

10) “O Tannenbaum”

A Charlie Brown Christmas, anyone? This is probably one of my favorite songs from Vince Guaraldi Trio’s soundtrack, not to mention I used to have lots of fun making up parodies of “Oh Christmas Tree” with my sisters when we were kids!

9) “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”

I’ve lost count of how many times this song has gotten stuck in my dad’s head, as I would so often hear him singing “And so this is Christmas…” around the end of the year. Christmas is a time of love and peace, and this song by John Lennon and Yoko Ono is always a good reminder of the real joy we should be spreading throughout the world!

8) “Jingle Bell Rock”

Okay, I admit it: this song is on my list because of Mean Girls. After all the times I’ve laughed over this scene with my sisters, how could I possibly leave it out?

7) “What’s This?”

Yes, The Nightmare Before Christmas totally counts as Christmas music! Jack Skellington discovering the magic of the holiday season is by far my favorite scene from Tim Burton’s classic 1993 film, thanks in no small part to Danny Elfman’s charming music!

6) “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”

“Rudolph” is one of those childhood carols that I used to sing with my sisters at family gatherings. I would sing the main part and they would chant the backing lyrics (“Like a lightbulb!”). Laugh if you want, but I can assure you we were quite adorable back in the day!

5) “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

I remember having to sing this song for a Christmas show in my middle school chorus group, and it was one of my favorites of the whole set. The holiday season isn’t complete without a handful of songs about the birth of Jesus Christ!

4) “Carol of the Bells”

I love pretty much any version of this harmonious carol, but Pentatonix take it to a whole new level of epic. Goosebumps every time. Seriously, is there anything these guys can’t sing?

3) “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen”

This is a particularly powerful and moving Christmas carol, and it’s actually one of a handful of songs I wish I could have learned to play on the piano. Whether sung by a choir or played acoustically, I always find this song incredibly beautiful. Of course, nothing tops the Salvation Army band’s rendition from Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean! Hilarious!

2) “O Holy Night”

Ask my mother what her favorite Christmas song is and she will answer without hesitation: “O Holy Night”. Nearly every Christmas, she would ask me to sing it for the family. At the very least, hearing this song gives me chills, and when sung at it’s very best, it can even move me close to tears. Quite possibly one of the most beautiful Christmas carols ever written!

1) “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)”

While it may not be the most beautiful song in this countdown, “The Christmas Song” is number one on my list because it’s my favorite to sing! I have many good memories of singing this song for my family and friends, as well as listening to various lovely renditions by well-known artists. With a relaxing melody and lyrics about all the joys of the holiday season, it’s the perfect song for getting into the Christmas spirit!

I hope you enjoyed my list of favorite holiday songs! Thanks for listening, and Merry Christmas!

What about you? What are your favorite Christmas/holiday songs?

What If? Writing Prompts: Holidays II

And so we reach the end of another year! To celebrate, here are some new “What If?” Writing Prompts for you, once again set to the theme of the holiday season! See what sorts of fun stories you can spin from these ideas! Enjoy, and Happy Holidays!

What If - Parchment and QuillWhat if… you discovered a group of elves making toys in your house?

What if… you received a Christmas present from a secret admirer?

What if… one of Santa’s reindeer showed up lost outside your home a week before Christmas?

What if… one year, in a “Secret Santa” fashion, you and your family drew names to choose each other’s New Year’s resolutions?

What if… everyone took time to do volunteer work during the holiday season?

Have fun writing your own holiday tales!

If you have any “What If?” writing prompt suggestions (for any theme), please feel free to share them in the comments below. Ideas I like may be featured in future “What If?” posts, with full credit and a link to your blog (if you have one)! Also, if you’ve written a piece based on an idea you’ve found here, be sure to link back to the respective “What If?” post. I would love to see what you’ve done with the prompt! Thank you!

Holiday Cheer

My favorite time of year has arrived!
Everyone in the family will be here,
Ready to celebrate the holidays and
Rejoice together over a wonderful
Year gone by and a new one to come.

Chestnuts roast over an open flame,
Holly hangs along the walls, and
Reindeer pull a sleigh across the lawn.
I won’t sleep tonight, knowing
Santa Claus will place gifts under the
Tree decorated with brightly colored lights.
Mistletoe is hung in the hallway as I hear
Angelic voices caroling outside.
Sing of all this blessed holiday cheer!

Hope you’re all having a wonderful holiday season! A belated Merry Christmas to all, and a Happy New Year!

Five Classic Christmas Stories from My Childhood

Merry Christmas Eve! It’s that time of year again, and what better way for writers to celebrate than indulging in some classic Christmas stories? Continuing from my review of Treasury of Christmas Tales, here’s a list of five Christmas-themed stories I enjoyed in my childhood. Enjoy, and have a very Merry Christmas!

Dr. Seuss - How The Grinch Stole Christmas1) How The Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss

How The Grinch Stole Christmas! is by far one of my all-time favorite Christmas books, which I’ve already made clear in the review I wrote of it last year. Dr. Seuss’s classic tale of the grumpy Grinch’s quest to ruin Christmas for the happy Whos and his discovery of the true Christmas spirit never fails to warm my heart whenever I read it. We even had the TV special on VHS to watch whenever we felt like indulging in some holiday entertainment with Seuss’s beloved characters. The Grinch is a fun story for children and adults alike, and we love it to this day!

A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens2) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Who doesn’t think of A Christmas Carol when remembering favorite Christmas tales? Reprinted and adapted multiple times since its first publication in 1843, Charles Dickens’ tale of holiday-hating miser Ebenezer Scrooge and his change of heart after an encounter with the Ghosts of Christmas may be one of the most famous and influential Christmas books ever written. I had read and watched quite a few adaptations for children when I was a kid, so to this day I remember it as a Christmas favorite!

3) The Nutcracker by E. T. A. Hoffman

Nutcracker - ETA HoffmanOfficially titled The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, the German fairy tale of the toy prince and the little girl who loved him is one that I remember fondly from my childhood, as my mom would read it to us when we were little. Aside from an adapted children’s book, we also had a couple of Nutcracker figures that we’d put out every December with the rest of our Christmas decorations (coincidentally, one of them eventually got a broken jaw, just like the Nutcracker in the story). Though there may not be much to tie this story to the season other than the fact that it takes place around Christmas, I still like to keep The Nutcracker on my list of holiday classics!

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - Robert L. May4) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Robert Lewis May

Why not add a little music to the list? Since its first publication in 1939, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has been a common favorite Christmas story among children, and an even more popular song. I have fond memories of singing the background chant version with my sisters (“Like a lightbulb!”), sometimes for the whole family to watch during our annual Christmas presentations. Maybe this tale spoke to me for its message about being loved for what makes you special, or maybe the song was just that catchy, but either way, Rudolph has always been a holiday favorite of mine!

5) The Nativity of Jesus (a.k.a. “The Original Christmas Story”)

"Adoration of the Shepherds" by Gerard van Honthorst, 1622

“Adoration of the Shepherds” (Gerard van Honthorst, 1622)

With all the consumerism and stress surrounding the holidays, it’s easy to forget why Christmas is celebrated in the first place. That’s why the birth of Jesus is always on my list of favorite Christmas stories: without it, none of the others would exist! Chronological inaccuracies aside, I’ve always considered the account of Christ’s birth to be an uplifting tale that’s worth remembering every time Christmas comes around. I love spiritual and holiday stories alike, so the nativity of Jesus may very well be my favorite Christmas story of all!

What about you? What are your favorite Christmas stories? Any classics you remember fondly from your childhood?

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