100 Ingredients for a Simple, Cozy Christmas

What makes Christmas cozy?

I sat down with a pen and paper to answer this question.  Here are my answers.


1.     driving into the mountains to cut a fresh Christmas tree
2.     making simple ornaments together
3.     coming into the warm house after a long tromp in the woods (or the park)
4.     singing Christmas carols around the piano
5.     helping a neighbor or a stranger
6.     watching the classic black and white Miracle on 34th Street together
7.     stargazing on a clear winter night, well bundled against the cold
8.     enjoying a therapeutic massage on a heated table
9.     being a Secret Santa
10.   baking and decorating cookies together
11.   reading Christmas books, such as The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, aloud to each other
12.   walking through a neighborhood bright with holiday lights
13.   collecting canned goods for the local food bank
14.   singing "Silent Night" under the stars on Christmas Eve while holding a small taper candle
15.   watching a toddler open his gifts and play with the boxes and wrappings rather than the toys


16.   a long, soft knitted scarf
17.   a cashmere turtleneck
18.   a Pendleton wool shirt, soft from many washings
19.   a cotton waffle weave Henley-style shirt
20.   favorite jeans
21.   a well-worn leather jacket
22.   merino wool socks
23.   L. L. Bean fleece-lined boots
24.   a hand-crocheted poncho or wrap
25.   flannel pajamas

Food and drink

26.   spicy gingerbread cookies
27.   a steaming mug of cocoa
28.   a bowl of salty, freshly popped corn
29.   a kettle of minestrone soup gently simmering on the stove
30.   my mother's savory corn pudding
31.   crisp, sweet apples
32.   warm sourdough bread slathered with butter
33.   juicy clementines
34.   roasted sweet potatoes
35.   a latte with pretty foam art
36.   cinnamon toast
37.   balsamic glazed Brussels sprouts
38.   oatmeal with raisins and a drizzle of honey
39.   a pot of Earl Grey tea
40.   homemade pumpkin pie with fresh whipped cream
41.   chicken roasted with olive oil, garlic, fresh rosemary, and lemon
42.   buckwheat pancakes with real maple syrup
43.   mulled wine
44.   meatloaf and mashed potatoes
45.   using your mother's or grandmother's recipes

Home and hearth

46.   a merrily crackling wood fire
47.   glowing candles
48.   a comfy high-backed chair
49.   a soft rug beside the bed
50.   sparkling glass
51.   leather-bound books
52.   a round pedestal dining table
53.   an extra blanket on the bed
54.   "soft white" lamplight
55.   English ironstone
56.   a well-loved Teddy bear
57.   polished wood
58.   a ticking clock
59.   cushy throw pillows
60.   a quilted coverlet

Holiday d├ęcor

61.   a wreath made with fresh evergreen cuttings
62.   vintage cardboard and mica Christmas villages
63.   a large bare branch in a pitcher, hung with gilded pine cones and strings of cranberries
64.   brown paper packages tied with red strings
65.   outdoor luminarias or snow candles
66.   a festive family photo in the perfect frame
67.   strings of Christmas lights
68.   a glass bowl filled with favorite shiny ornaments
69.   vintage Santa mugs
70.   a family heirloom creche


71.   a full moon in the deep blue early morning sky
72.   bare trees in silhouette against a winter sunset
73.   new-fallen snow
74.   the scent of a fir tree
75.   cardinals
76.   the constellation Orion rising in the east on a clear, cold night
77.   alpine glow on a snowy mountain
78.   mist on the winter-green Sutter Buttes (about 10 miles from my house)
79.   robins
80.   holly, pyracantha, and nandina berries


81.   cuddles with your partner
82.   friends around the table talking and laughing
83.   children cooperatively playing a board game or building with Legos on the rug
84.   a friendly cat curled in your lap
85.   your family piled together on the sofa
86.   a visit with an old friend
87.   hugs and kisses from your loved ones
88.   a companionable dog at your feet
89.   a toddler contentedly leaning against you as you read a pile of picture books together
90.  looking at old photos and sharing happy memories

Sounds of the season

91.   Julie Andrews singing "Joy to the World"
92.   sleigh bells
93.   carolers
94.   Nat King Cole singing "The Christmas Song" ("Chestnuts roasting...")
95.   laughter and ho-ho-hos
96.   the silence of a snowy forest
97.   festive music from The Nutcracker
98.   cheerful calls of "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays"
99.   the sound of rain on the roof as you read a favorite book cozily by the fire
100. Bing Crosby singing "White Christmas"

What makes Christmas cozy for you? 

Updated December 2022


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