1. Linus's retelling of Jesus's birth in A Charlie Brown Christmas. I love the way that kid talks. Also, "sore afraid" is an expression worth reviving.
2. Christmas carols in a minor key. Bring on the "What Child is This?", "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and "We Three Kings." The more lugubrious, the better.
3. Advent calendars. I have fond memories of opening the "24" window well before the big day and making desperate attempts to seal it shut again. We never got the kind with the candy in it, but I wish we had; I would have pulled a Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa by eating all the chocolate and replacing it with aspirin and candy corn.
4. Alternative Christmas songs. I'm a sucker for the Waitresses' "Christmas Wrapping," the Raveonette's "Christmas Song" and my new fave, "Joseph, Who Understood" by the New Pornographers.
5. Watching kids open presents. Allow your blogger to get a little corny. (It's Christmas, for God's sake.) Having nieces and nephews around adds a whole new dimension to the holiday. They're just so into it.
6. David Sedaris's Santaland Diaries. It ain't Christmas until Crumpet sings "Away in a Manger" all Billie Holiday-like.