1. Less stress. Rick and I had changes at both of our jobs that made work life much easier. And less stress means that we weren't cranky or moody, and happier for the holidays.
2. Good health. My foot is doing great, and we were blessed to not be stricken by illness. Rick did have a few minor ailments that passed quickly. Probably our weight loss (20 pounds for me, 30 pounds for Rick) helped to strengthen our bodies. And Vitamin C - I've been swearing by that!
3. Unseasonably warm weather. We've had the AC on in December - in fact, it's on in our house right now, as the temperatures have been in the 70's and even broke 80 Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. You know I welcome the warmth. Now if only we could have gotten a couple more hours of daylight with it, but that's what Christmas lights are for.
4. As in, 4 days of celebrating. This is normal for us, but usually we split it over 2 weekends. This time, we did it all together. Sure, we had some time to ourselves, but it was still a whirlwind, and it went well with both of our families. In fact, all agree that it's been the best year in memory.
5. Great gifts, both given and received. Everybody was genuinely happy with what they got. My highlights: a Kindle, a new tote bag for work, a Fossil purse, and a parrot rhinestone necklace.
6. Crazy holiday crafting. I collected a lot of ideas from Pinterest while I was down with my foot and while there was some trial and error (especially with those mason jars), it was fun, it all came out well, and everybody appreciated the gifts. What started as a simple project for colleagues last year did grow, and it's one I intend to make a tradition each holiday season. Heck, the Jesus cross stitch even won a prize in the 2015 SC State Fair!
7. Flat iron fun. I decided that if I lost all of that weight, then I should try to do more with my hair. I've actually learned how to use that flat iron, too. The only thing is that it's been so humid lately that the curls fall out as soon as I walk outside, so straight is the only style that sticks lately! Oh well, at least it still looks better.
8. Good food, as always. From turkey and ham to bread dressing and macaroni and cheese casserole - and plenty of wine! Always a feast for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
9. Giving back. Swelling in my foot prevented me from participating in the church's annual "Share Our Stuff" (SOS) day, which was a disappointment, so injury forced me to step back a bit. I did an Angel Tree gift at work, and had fun selecting a gift, and Rick helped to decorate the Christmon Trees at church. I'm hoping to get more into this in the coming year and next holiday season.
10. Star Wars Episode VII - The Force Awakens. Can't ignore the huge, blockbuster elephant in the room! Even the atmosphere of the crowds in the theater opening weekend was a joy. Awesome movie! In fact, we plan to go see it again, maybe even today!
I created photo albums of recent pictures on Flickr, so if you want a visual reference then click here for Christmas 2015 and here for our trip to the Greenville Zoo on December 26.
Countless things made this holiday season special, but I think that hits the highlights of a list. It's a great encouragement to me, because I've found that how the holidays go this year is a good indicator for the next year. If that trend continues, then 2016 should be absolutely awesome!