I just love the Christmas season. I love the warmth and glitz you see everywhere. I love how sparkly everything is, with just a little oomph you don't see the rest of the year. I love the deals. I love how everything is packaged so nicely in pretty boxes with bows and ribbons. You don't see that the rest of the year.


Christmas sparkles and I like it.

And for as much as I love giving gifts, I'd be lying if I didn't admit I also gift myself plenty this time of year. Things are packaged so irresistibly well and there are deals you won't find the rest of the year... so, if ya need (read: want) something, now is the time to buy it. I think the Christmas season is a fitting time to buy some of those special touches and splurges you wouldn't buy yourself any other time.

Because of the sparkle and splurges and because I love it all so much, here are a few of my favorite holiday things that are helping me get in the spirit this year:


Did you ever wonder why the brownies in the photo that comes with the recipe are always so much darker--if not downright black--than when you actually bake them? It's black cocoa. Whether you use it to bake and wow guests at a holiday party or just to whisk up some hot chocolate, black cocoa is the stuff that leads to the ethereal chocolate coma. It is as chocolate as chocolate can be, without being bitter. If you're going to splurge, a chocolate coma is worth it, don't you think?

Find them at Target, Home Depot, Michaels, etc.

These things are Christmas in a plastic cylinder. Hang them on your tree. Hide them in stockings. Stuff them in baskets. Stick them in corners. Whatever you do, just get them because they are amazing.


If "Ski Slope Sweetie" is not on your nightstand, well, I feel awful for you.

Nothing says Christmas like a snowglobe 


Every year I treat myself to one of these gorgeous, musical snowglobes from Target. They're inexpensive, fun, and I love scattering them around my dining room each Christmas season. They are my happy.

Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments--how cute is this one?!


Another of my personal traditions is my annual pilgrimage to Hallmark, all three children in tow, where we select our keepsake ornaments for the year. I've been collecting Christmas ornaments my whole life. When I got married my parents boxed them up and I put them on my own tree. I have a number of complete collections. Today, every single ornament on my tree has sentimental value. There's no ordinary ornament to be found in my home. They're all special and they're the most prized of all my material possessions. If my home were threatened by a fire or flood and I had enough warning to save something, my Christmas ornaments (and my grandmother's china) would be my something to save. I always try to select an ornament that reminds me of where I am in life. I'm also sharing the tradition with my kids, letting them pick out their own ornament each year, too. I label each box with the child's name, age and year.  My 10-year old already has 11 keepsake ornaments. I can't wait to visit her when she's grown and see her special tree. These ornaments are not inexpensive, so I limit each child and myself to just one. It's still a little pricey, but I think of it as an investment in memories.

Barnes and Noble.com

This was a new splurge for me this year. In the past year, I've started purchasing a throw to keep on my couch that matches the season. I've been looking for months for the perfect Christmas throw and when I spotted this one at Barnes & Noble, being the book nerd that I am, I knew I had to have it.

You can't be the hostess with the mostess without some super cute tableware. But who wants to ruin their glitzy manicure by doing dishes? Not this girl. So I'm making a tiny splurge on these adorably festive candy-cane striped plates and napkins from Paper Style:


I'm also ordering these for my kiddo's school Christmas parties:   Fun!!


While I'm all about getting out of dishes with cute paper plates, I also love a gorgeous, proper and presentable tray to serve with. I think there's a happy medium in there somewhere that comes from just the right mixture of tasteful and tacky. This tray from World Market is really special to balance everything out:


Sometimes, all a girl needs to feel all special and sparkly is the perfect pair of earrings. I found these little gems at Dillard's... and on clearance!  The gold Betsey Johnson bows are tasteful, but shiny... perfect!


A friend told me about the amazing Capri Blue Volcano candles last Christmas. So, I bought one for my mom. But this year, I splurged on one for me. You can find them in the mall at Francesca's or at some of the shops on Sixth Street.


And one last tradition to share... each year, everyone gets Christmas PJ's. I started this when my oldest child was just a baby. Now all three kids ask for them each year.  For myself, I like the flannel pants from Old Navy because they come in tall sizes and don't turn in to capri pants after I wash them. I'm getting these:


I've also purchased these for my kiddos:


That's how I get in the spirit--a little bit of sparkly new mixed with a heaping spoonful of tradition and memory making. Cheers!