1. Light Up Dunwoody and Cocoa & Candles. The Knitternall family can walk the three short blocks between our house and the farmhouse, enjoy the jostling, smiling, familiar crowd, and shiver in the shift from sunset to darkness before hitting the luminaria-lit trails at the Nature Center with warm cocoa in hand.
2. My darling little Preschool Phonics friends starting to wear Christmas dresses and shirts, with bows in mussed up hair, lick-lipped chap marks making perfect circles around their mouths, and hands shooting up into the air to tell me everything and anything going on in their families (I promise I believe only half what I hear).
3. The rare quiet of very little traffic on Mt. Vernon Road on Thanksgiving and Christmas Days.
4. Red Velvet Cake from Wright Gourmet, Moravian Sugar Cookies from the Fresh Market (a taste from Winston-Salem that we'd otherwise miss), a smoked turkey from Olde Hickory House, and peppermint cocoa from Starbcks.
5. Redfield's Christmas Eve gala, with hundreds of cars meandering through street after street of magical Christmas lights displayed by neighbors competing for bragging rights in a variety of categories (Knitternall Family Favorite: the Kids' Choice!). Plus, we always have to see the gi-normous display at the estate in the heart of Dunwoody Club Forest.
6. The huge Great Dane who walks his owner through my neighborhood with genteel dignity, foot-long stuffed bone pillow grasped firmly in his slobbery mouth and a happy gleam in his eye as he ambles along.
7. The local Griswold house in Wyntercreek.
8. The 11:00 Christmas Eve service at St. Luke's, with its carols, communion, chrismons, and candlelit lullaby.
9. Running into friends and familiar faces in the aisles of Kroger and Publix as I make yet another run for that one ingredient I thought was on my list but completely forgot and the gingerbread/stuffing/fudge/buckeyes/hard sauce etc. MUST BE MADE.
10. Holiday dinner leftovers. Yummmmm.
I love the holidays!