During this special time of year when I was growing up, my mother, who spoke German, taught me and my sisters a few hymns in Deutsch, because she thought they sounded better in that language. My favorite was "Silent Night," or as it's known in German, "Stille Nacht." To this day, when I hear this hymn in English, my mind automatically translates it into the Deutsch version.
I love Christmas music. No matter what language they are sung in, these holiday songs truly help create the magical feeling of the season. I know some people get annoyed when Christmas music starts playing in stores the day after Halloween, but I love it. In our home, I especially love hearing the carols played on the piano by either my husband or daughter. It may seem corny, but to me, it's pure bliss! And, what's better than a frothy, hot cup of cocoa (with a peppermint twist) and a good, old-fashioned sing-along?
Now, if you ask my kids this question, they will tell you nothing beats the toys they'll be receiving from Santa. And, each year, as they get older, my children's wish lists become a little more complex and a lot more high-tech: spy gear, robots, iTunes gift cards, Wii games, and the like.
With so many choices for toys and gear this year, KCFM wanted to help you narrow down your children's wish lists. Check out our toy guide on page 8, which gives you some of the top picks for kids in three age-appropriate categories: babies and toddlers, school-age children, and big kids. Using this guide, you can find some great toy ideas to appease all the children on your holiday gift list. SHHH!! Don't tell my first grader, but I think Santa will be bringing him a Paper Jamz Guitar this year.
Speaking of toys… In Tracie Grimes's monthly Humor at Home article, "Taming the Spirit of Christmas Presents," she writes about her kids' monotone mantra, "I want that I want that I want that…" She's tired of the gimme-itis that plagues Christmas and thinks we need a change – maybe we need a Santa similar to the one in Holland. To read more of Tracie's unique humor, turn to page 11.
Another great gift idea for those on your list is a brand-new, bright, and shiny book. KCFM Recommends on page 15, some great holiday picks including "The Twelve Bots of Christmas" by Nathan Hale and "Grandma's Gift" by Eric Velasquez. And, a book for moms that shows the healing power of a mother's love is "Every Last One" by Anna Quindlan.
For another humorous piece on Christmas, turn to page 14, where Brian Kantz's Newbie Dad article, "A Dad's Night Before Christmas," pays homage to Clement Clarke Moore's "'Twas the Night Before Christmas." Kantz approaches this classic poem and places a more realistic approach. Do children really sleep the night before Christmas? What would PETA think of Santa's fur suit? Wouldn't the neighborhood dogs go crazy if they saw flying reindeer on the roof? You'll love his witty take on this old story - you might even jiggle when you laugh "like a bowl full of jelly."
This season, whether you say "Merry Christmas," "Mele Kalikimaka," "Happy Hanukah," or "Fröhliche Weihnachten," the sentiment is the same: peace and love. Enjoy the holidays and remember the best part of this time of year is the memories you are making with your families and friends.
From us to you – Happy Holidays!!!!