I normally start putting up my Christmas decorations on Thanksgiving weekend, but this year, I couldn't get in the mood. How can you put up a tree and hang tinsel and play Christmas CDs when it's 65 freakin' degrees and sunny out????? The Xmas boxes came up from the basement storage and mostly sat on the floor unopened throughout the past week - although my boyfriend and I did manage to put up the pre-lighted artificial tree, no decorations were hung till Thursday.
Then, of course, the midwest was paralyzed by a huge, nasty winter storm, and so here I sit on Saturday morning, with approximately 13 inches of snow piled up outside my window. Yep, it's definitely time to finish the Christmas decorating.
I love Christmas music and have an ever-growing collection of Christmas CDs. This year, I've added Bette Midler's "Cool Yule."
I'm a huge fan of the Divine Miss M, and as a lover of '40s and '5os standards , I've spent lots of listening time with her recent collections of Rosemary Clooney and Peggy Lee classics. "Cool Yule" is the same vein - lovely covers of holiday standards like "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "I'll Be Home for Christmas," "What are You Doing New Year's Eve" and "I've Got my Love to Keep Me Warm." There's also a special Christmas version of "From a Distance'" - not my favorite track on the CD by any means, but it's growing on me. The only real stinker - "Oh Come, Come Emmanuel": Midler turns this spare, melancholy Advent hymn into just another sappy, "Wind Beneath My Wings"-style ballad. A low point - but not the worst Christmas album cut ever. (That honor would belong to Barbra Streisand's whacked-out, everywhere-but-on-the-actual-melody cover of "My Favorite Things" on her first Christmas disc back in the '60s. )
Finally, nothing rings in the holiday for me like a little Christmas baking. In my search for new cookie ideas, I found this great site: http://www.christmas-cookies.com/. There are hundreds of yummy recipes to try - personally, I'm going to bake up a batch of Cranberry Decadence cookies this afternoon (chocolaty cookies full of dried cranberries and white chocolate chips.)
(Midler CD cover photo from Amazon.com)