I'm not really a xmas person. Over the years I've simplified my holiday traditions. As a society, our traditions have totally gotten out of hand. In years past, I've baked lots of cookies and spent days decorating the house. As my children got older, they really weren't interested in all the Christmas trappings, so in a way they gave me permission to simplify my life.
We arrange the family gifts under my huge 35 year old Christmas Cactus and we open gifts on xmas morning.
In the 1970's my parents purchased a Christmas carousel made in East Germany. It has 4 levels, with traditional carved wooden figures on it. There are paddles on the top, which spin when candles are lit underneath. I love when it is dark outside, the candles are lit and it slowly begins to turn. It is really delightful to watch. For me this is Christmas. It makes me feel a little like a child again and lifts my spirits.
For my 20 neighbors, I write a newsletter. I find out what each family has done over the past year, add a couple of pictures, and I have 4-6 pages of neighborhood news. Some people look forward to it all year. One neighbor that moved away, wants me to send them a copy so they can keep up with the old neighborhood. It's really an enjoyable project. It is my gift to my neighbors. To me, it is incomprehensible for people to live next to each other for years and never reallly get to know each other. So I do this to make my world a better place for all of us. We do need to look after each other, for safety and friendship.
Oh yes, I have a holiday tip for all you quilters out there. I'm sure you are familiar with the narrow plastic strip that is wrapped inside Wonder-Under on the bolt. If you have pieces that are 1 or 2 yards long, you can make them into great big bows. Tie them around a railing, on your sewing chair, your tree, lamps or any place that is appropriate. They are quite festive. At last there is a use for this stuff.
Have a wonderful holiday however you like to celebrate it.