It's no secret how much I love Christmas. Always have, always will. (I must have been 3 in this picture with my dad?)

dad with tree

Today I took my tree down. I've had it over a month, and it would drop a handful of needles at the slightest touch. There's something cathartic about taking it all down -- I think it's because I'm scared of clutter, and I was starting to feel like there was too much going on in my house. An old friend came into my house a couple of days ago, as he's in town for the holidays, and commented on how my house has "really filled out" since last time he was over. That alone made me want to take a trip to the Goodwill (not to shop for once, but to purge).

Anyway, this year my roommate spent three weeks after Thanksgiving in Australia, and so I took it upon myself to add a touch of  Christmas around the house. All around the house, actually.

There's honestly nothing that makes me happier than sitting in front of the tree at night, with the lights twinkling, Willie Nelson on in the background, sipping mulled wine with a friend.

Did anyone else grow up sticking cloves in oranges? That's the smell of Christmas for me. I can't ever get enough.

Now it's all over and a new year is about to begin. I could not be more grateful for the changes I've made in 2012 and for my incredible friends and family. In the words of my good friend Emily Katz, "oh it seems to me, that I might be, the luckiest girl in the whole wide world."


While that would be a good note to leave on, I can't not share this photo. I'm not sure how old I was here. Maybe 5? Julia, my older sister, got a boombox that Christmas and I didn't. Hence my face. Anyway, I hope you had a very merry Christmas, and a happy, healthy new year. Thanks for reading this thing. xo

Snowflakes in the Air

So there are actually no snowflakes where I am (yet). But this weekend I'm headed up to the mountain to stay in a cabin with a few friends, and I'm really hoping for snow. Just two days after Thanksgiving, which came early this year, my dear friend (and fellow Christmas fanatic) Jen and I drove out to the Mount Hood National Forest and chopped down our Christmas trees. Since then I have barely left my house. All I want to do is sit (on my new leather couch) with a friend, in front of the tree, with a warm drink in hand.

I've been listening to Christmas music since Halloween - seriously - and compiling a list of some of my favorite songs. In my family, we have few traditions, but those that we do have are significant. I cannot remember a Christmas in which we didn't listen to the Willie Nelson Christmas album, Pretty Paper, as we first open presents in the morning. We also listen to it while decorating the tree, and last year I finally invested in a record of my own instead of borrowing my mom and dad's. Nothing says Christmas in the Parker household more than Willie Nelson.

You can hear my Snowflakes in the Air mix here. Enjoy it with a warm drink.

Pretty Paper - Willie Nelson Skating - Vince Guaraldi Trio Baby, It's Cold Outside - Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Jordan O Come, O Come Emmanuel - Sufjan Stevens Aspenglow - John Denver Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky I'll be Home for Christmas - Frank Sinatra River - Joni Mitchell Song 3 - John Fahey White Christmas - Bing Crosby Christmas Time Is Here - Vince Guaraldi Trio What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? - Ella Fitzgerald I Do Not Care For The Winter Sun - Beach House Silent Night - Willie Nelson Listen (Listen, Listen) - Wintersleep Peace Carol - John Denver and the Muppets Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing - Sufjan Stevens Home Alone - John WIlliams Let It Snow - Dean Martin Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire - Nat King Cole Wallflower - Agnes Obel