Monday, December 21, 2015

Advent Calendar - Day 21

Five magical things I love about this season:

1 - Mistletoe

2 - Reindeer

3 - Snowflakes

4 - Fragile glass ornaments handed down through generations

5 - Ancient stars burning in the night sky

What about you? Are there five things you find magical this time of year?

Answer below and I'll pick ten, or possibly more, of you to win a print book. Now,  I will not be shipping anything before Christmas. AND I cannot guarantee what title you'll end up with -- I'm not even sure what all I've got here at this point -- but if you let me know what book you're interested in, I'll see if I have a copy. ;-)


  1. I love your list! I heard a bird singing for 10 minutes this morning, perhaps because it was a beautiful dawn, and it sounded other-worldly. At this time of year, I love to see truly excited children with their eyes full of the magic of Christmas.

  2. In Ukraine, we celebrate the New Year instead of Christmas (anyway, our Christmas is on January 7 because the Orthodox Church is still using the Julian calendar) but the traditions are mostly the same, especially now when the culture becomes cosmopolitan. The main thing is the tree – I prefer the artificial fir from my childhood, it’s both nostalgic and ecologically safe. Ornaments are important too: there are many modern stylish ornaments, but my family keeps the collection of vintage ones - bulbs and figurines, they are like the embodiment of the history: the corn from 1950s, the astronaut from 1960s… The third thing is Grandfather Frost – our analogue of Santa Claus. They are pretty similar apart from a few visual details - the beard of cotton, a long coat – and there are no elves. The fourth thing is champagne, it’s a symbol and main drink of New Year's Eve. Another symbol is mandarins: back in USSR citrus fruits were only available during the winter holidays, and though now we have plenty of them all year round, mandarins keep their association with the New Year, their smell is the smell of the holiday.

  3. 1. The first thing I find magical is your Advent calendar and codas!
    2. The oranges at the bottom of the Christmas stockings.
    3. The giving nature of people that makes Giving Tuesday and Eric's GoFundMe a success.
    4. Christmas card, giving and receiving. Real cards in the mail!
    5. Family gathered around the holiday table.

  4. My 5 favourite things of this season
    1. My mum's cooking... She's a great cook, but in Christmas she just outdoes herself
    2. Beautiful Chrismtas lights in my city
    3. Ginger biscuits
    4. Christmas movies on tv... When is cold outside and you cuddle under a blanket watching a movie which you know it's going to make you cry...
    5. Strangers wishing you Merry Christmas... It just makes me feel warm inside

  5. 1. Children's amazement.
    2. The lights at the park
    3. My own Christmas tree
    4. Laughter while waiting on line
    5. Family around the table.

  6. 1) School break
    2) Christmas cards from far away
    3) The food
    4) A time to plan for the future and recharge your barteries
    5) Optimism

  7. 1. The scent in the air, the tang at the back of your throat promising the first snow fall of the year.

    2. The twinkling pattern of Christmas tree lights reflected on the ceiling of an otherwise dark room.

    3. The anticipation of reuniting with family and friends you haven't seen in ages, normally separated by thousands of miles of land and sea.

    4. The amazing variety of Christmas cookies mom makes unfailing every year for as long as I can remember.

    5. Curling up with a mug of hot spiced apple cider and a good book, especially when that earlier promised snow is falling hard and heavy outside.

  8. 1. Christmas lights in the street when it is dark
    2. Real Christmas tree sight and smell
    3. Cheesy christmas music!
    4. Brass bands playing in the shops and streets
    5. Starting on the booze early on Christmas day!!!!!

  9. 1 Snuggly soft blankets
    2 Hot cocoa
    3 Hallmark Christmas movies
    4 Time spent with family
    5 Christmas music
    5 Cookies :-)

  10. 1) Outdoor Christmas lighting displays
    2) Christmas music and concerts
    3) Nativity creches--the older the better
    4) Hot holiday beverages
    5) Reading and rereading favorite Christmas stories
    --Judy S
    j dot stonewright at gmail dot com

  11. 1. Twinkling lights of the Christmas tree. Like a bunch of tiny, shiny stars in otherwise softly lit room.

    2. Feeling relaxed and in peace with the world and myself. Being able to spend the Holidays with my small family.

    3. Looking back to the old year with gratitude and welcoming the new year with anticipation for the possibilities to come.

    4. Time for reading in front of the fireplace while soothing music plays in the background and a mug of mulled wine is at hand's reach.

    5. Believing that the New Year's resolutions will hold this time! :-D

    6. Revisiting Josh Lanyon Christmas stories. Savoring them and the content, hopeful, happy feeling they leave me in.

  12. 1. Frozen trees in the morning mist
    2. Ornaments department in stores - colors and glitter everywhere
    3. Gloves and scarfs
    4. Reading books - I have more time for it
    5. Holiday spirit :)

    As for which book, my favorite are Adrien English, but any would do really.


  13. 1. The light show at our local botanical gardens -- Meadowlark in Vienna, Virginia
    2. Having my son home from college (and the four of us laughing together at the table again)
    3. My neighbor's Christmas lights (launch pad for Santa's sled)
    4. Time to read in bed
    5. Visiting with the neighbors

    It's helpful to remember this. I've been in a bah-humbug mood this season, facing the imminent break-up of a long-term business partnership. The emotional fallout from it has just about bowled me over, and it's going to get worse before it gets better. I welcome the holiday respite, and I am very grateful for your Advent calendar, Josh, for the happy distraction.

  14. I only have one - the idea of a White Christmas. Living in Sydney where Christmas is sunny and often sweaty, the idea of snow during this festive season is truly magical.

  15. Two things tie for most magical:
    1) the atmosphere of good will (even if sometimes it's only in the movies!)
    2) Lights during twilight- outside Christmas lights or just sitting inside watching the tree (insert image of the parents at the end of A Christmas Story here!)
    I wonder how this will change as my baby girl gets older and has her own favs!
    And yes, I'm interested in the giveaway! hehe.

  16. 1. Two weeks of paid vacation
    2. Lights and decorations
    3. TV marathons
    4. My sister-in-law's homemade Christmas cookies
    5. The post-Christmas shopping

  17. 1. the first snowflakes
    2. the smell of pine trees
    3. twinkly lights
    4. fragile ornaments
    5. reindeer

  18. 1. luminarias
    2. making tamales
    3. hosting Christmas Eve
    4. family together
    5. m/m holiday stories and Josh's codas

  19. For me, the magical things are 1) Christmas lights, both outdoors and on the tree. They change the entire world into a more magical place. 2) Luminaries. They're not quite the same if you're in a place where it doesn't snow, but when they line a snowy drive, they make such a warm inviting path. 3) Homemade Christmas cookies and sweets. We have a tradition where we always bring a cookie plate to the local firehouse for the firemen who have to work on Christmas. 4) The sales. I gotta admit that I buy things for myself this time of year that wouldn't even consider if they weren't on sale. 5) Visiting family. Seriously, this is the best part for me. Seeing the people I love.

  20. 1. Baking & decorating cookies...and other assorted treats. Sadly this year there will be limited baking, but still looking forward to it. (My best cookie decorating memory is when my friend did a crying Santa face. She said it was Santa's response to the commercialism of Christmas. Lol. In reality, she slipped using the blue frosting for eyes. She's a scientist/patent attorney, so that was her one creative outlet for the year).

    2. Fresh snow. Right before anyone tracks through it or drive through it. I love how it glistens and glitters...or even when the ice/snow sticks to the trees. Just beautiful.

    3. Looking at all the homemade, family Christmas ornaments. My parents have kept everything that we've made for them over the years. My brother and his kids have carried on the tradition and make ornaments each year for us.

    4. Holiday lights and yard displays. I love the tastefully done houses just as much as the tacky ones. Lol. You know the ones. Those houses where the person should have just stopped at 35 lawn ornaments, but didn't. Is it Santa's workshop? Is it a deer farm? Or Mr. heat miser? I also loved the sparkling lights of my own Christmas tree. Its so soothing. I've often fallen to sleep on my couch while watching the lights of my tree.

    5. Gathering around the table with family and good food. Holidays seem like one of the few times all of my family can get together?

    As for which book, any of them, really, although I would be cutious to read the "man, oh man. writing fiction m/m fiction" book.

  21. I would pick
    1. Pine scent of Christmas trees & wreaths
    2. Smells of holiday baking especially ginger, cloves, cinnamon
    3. Holiday lighting of houses, outdoor trees/bushes
    4. Holiday romances
    5. Christmas carols and music

  22. 1. lights - stars and candle arches (Schwibbogen) in the windows at night
    2. singing - all my neighbors suddenly start to sing during December (I do, too^^)
    3. scents - fir trees, incense, frost (if there is any)
    4. baking - it's magic in and of itself and at its prettiest for Christmas
    5. rituals - all those little things that families do every year because it is tradition

  23. 1. Skiing
    2. Ice skating
    3. Baking Christmas cookies and homemade bread
    4. Trips to tropical destinations
    5. Curling up in a chair in front of the fire with a glass of eggnog.

  24. 1. christmas lights
    2. scentsicles - pine! my newest obsession
    3. present time - it's always fun to gather round and possibly see true surprise or joy emanate from a round of gifting
    4. baking - we don't always but when we do it's pumpkin!
    5. sleeping in - just mmmm

  25. I bet you thought I forgot about this!

    (I did -- shhhhhh!)

    Our winners are....


    Contact me through email or facebook and let me know what print book you would like in a perfect world, and if I happen to have a copy of that I'll send it. And if I don't, I'll send something else. :-)