Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holiday Pleasures

The holiday season has arrived, whether we like it or not. For the record, the only part we would dislike is the hectic shopping, the slew of Christmas music, and anything else that may be so fast paced that you think your head is going to blow up. Besides that, the holidays are just a warm and magical time that you get that really cozy feeling. The holidays are a time of year where you feel warm inside when you're able to make someone happy. It delivers the happiness of a good deed.

Another great thing about the holidays are holiday pleasures. I sure have many of those! Some of these pleasures could be enjoyed any time of the year, but there are some pleasures that are simply meant to be enjoyed for Christmas time (which is what I happen to celebrate).

Shortbread Cookies- I whole-heartedly enjoy shortbread cookies! They're like my fuel for the holiday season. I could go to a BJ's and get a tin box full of Walker's shortbread cookies and I will be set. If I put my mind to it, a whole sleeve could be complete in one sitting. The top of the line shortbread cookies come in four designs: fingers, triangles, highlanders, and rounds. Fingers are rectangular looking, triangles are triangular and look like watermelon slice cookies, and the highlanders and rounds are both circular, but the rounds are a bit more smooth in your mouth. Walker's makes what could be called my favorite make of shortbread cookies. The Danish cookies happen to be more popular, but they could sometimes be a bit too sweet. I remember getting a more unique looking tin of those and they were delicious. It's very likely that I consume about 90% of the shortbread cookies throughout the year in the month of December. They're just that good!

European Chocolate- Well, any chocolate lover could tell you that chocolate is great any time of the year. It just so happens that we want December to be a soothing month, more soothing than it actually is. European chocolate just so happens to be soothing. The different between Belgian and Swiss milk chocolates and other types of milk chocolate like the Hershey bar is that European chocolate tastes richer and creamier. It doesn't have the feeling of a sugary rush, but instead a feeling like you can cuddle up inside and feel like you're sailing on the sea. European chocolate could just about be consumed any time. It just so happens that Christmas and chocolate go together very well!

Cheese- Okay, okay, okay. I am a cheese enthusiast. I write a segment about "Big Cheeses" roughly once a month. In my mind, cheese can be enjoyed any time you feel like it. I just so happen to enjoy it so much more around the holidays. I used to attend Christmas Tea events at my high school, where one of the teacher's would make tea and then we'd have several snacks. I would always bring cheese and crackers. The cheese would be a cracker friendly cheese, like a Cheddar, Muenster, or Gouda. Havarti with Dill also went off well. The cracker would be the Shop Rite Entertainment crackers, which are by far my favorite crackers to pair with cheese. It has just the right taste and texture, but yet the cheese remains the star. This year, I bought a block of Parmigiano Reggiano (the king of Italian cheeses!) and cut off chunks to enjoy. Cheese is an excellent way to celebrate the holidays!

Christmas Music- They seriously overdo the music, enough to aggravate people and make them disagree with my opinion about it. They begin playing it right after Halloween, and by Thanksgiving, we're like "CAN'T WE JUST GET RID OF THE CHRISTMAS MUSIC ALREADY!!!" I think that the right Christmas music makes for the right Christmas experience. Listening to "Do You Hear What I Hear" and "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas" about a thousand times does stir aggravation. Then you have wonderful gems like "Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy" by David Bowie and Bing Crosby, Bing Crosby's "White Christmas," and even Lou Monte's "Dominick The Italian Christmas Donkey" and your Christmas season has feeling to it.

Reading- Just like the cheese option, reading is a 365 1/4 day pleasure. It just so happens that I have been able to get a lot of good quality reading done during the holidays. Last holiday, I read Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner, and thoroughly enjoyed it (in fact, it may be an upcoming "Excellent Read"). This year, 11/22/63 will likely be my holiday read. There's nothing more holiday pleasure than curling up and taking your mind away from reality and placing it in the plot of an excellent book.

So this should be some kind of positive notion as to how I feel the holidays should be spent. We all have our holiday pleasures and these happen to be mine. Well I might as well finish up this post and go forth on accomplishing one or all of these things! I may say this in one post or many, but have an excellent Christmas season!

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