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All the Christmas movies are already checked out

Christmas is next week and whether or not you celebrate it, it’s the time for all the holiday movies to show up. Sure there’s all those Hallmark holiday movies (that I refuse to watch) but I’m talking about the good stuff. Well at least the stuff that I like. Here are some of my favorites, you may agree to disagree.

While A Christmas Carol is just a darn good story no matter what, The Muppet Christmas Carol is hands down my favorite. The songs. The creepiness. The humor. Plus this is the movie that I was first introduced to Michael Caine and therefore the movie I always associate him with no matter what else he’s been in.

It’s a Wonderful Life is just a classic. My family watches it every year on Christmas Eve. To be honest, it’s really hard for me to watch sometimes because I hate how people treated George and I HATE Potter. But the ending makes me cry every time. Also the actor who played Harry was hot.

Home Alone is a modern classic that is still enjoyable. It’s just fun.

The Santa Clause is the same way. It’s one of the few Santa movies that I love to rewatch because it’s enjoyable every time.

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There’s actually not too many movies based solely on the Nativity Story but I really do love this one though I feel like it didn’t get much fanfare. But then it’s a Bible movie and we all know how Christians and Hollywood feel about Bible movies…..
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While it’s not perfect, The Holiday is still one of the most delightful chick flicks ever. Who would have ever thought Jack Black and Kate Winslet would pair up? Also Christmas in England seems delightful.

Hands down, Love Actually my favorite Christmas movie of all time. In fact this movie is one of my favorite of all time and is in my top ten list. I love this movie so much I watch it every year. So many reasons to love it. I just saw it in theaters at a quote along and that was just so much awesome.

BONUS: This is actually a TV movie but……A Very Brady Christmas is just darn good stuff. Enjoy!

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Enough. Enough Now.

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I’ve talked a lot on this blog (as well as outside of it) about having to trust God when things seem impossible. About how I’ve been spending a lot of time waiting on God to see if what He promises will come true. How I’ve walked away from doors, leaving them open but turning my back on them and not looking back though still hoping.

Well the time has finally come to close a particular door.loveactually2

I’m being rather vague about this because it doesn’t need to be blasted in detail on the internet though if you know me in person you’ll probably have figured out what it is by now. But the actual reason for prompting this post really doesn’t matter. It’s what I learned from this entire experience that does.

I have probably mentioned this already so forgive me if I’m just repeating myself. When I share how I feel with someone I’m close to, I’m very open with how I feel because I trust you and I feel that you are a safe person for me to share what is going on in my life. I will not just spill my guts out to just any person. I’m actually more guarded with my life than you’d think. But at the same time, even as I’m talking to you, I’m also thinking I really don’t want you judging me. I just want you to listen.loveactually3

For the record I know that there are some of you who it just in your nature to want to give out advice. I know that you totally mean well when you do this. It’s just that because I know you’re already forming in your mind what you thought I should have done instead or how I really should feel or have I thought about it from the other point of view, it makes me having conversations with myself WHILE I’m talking to you. I’m doing it RIGHT NOW in fact because I know what the opposition to my decision will say. Plus I also realize things that I shouldn’t have done. But isn’t that part of knowing you’ve grown up?

That being said, it’s weird how there are certain situations you can be in where even though you know you’re not being selfish, but that’s how it’s going to come across. But you have to take care of yourself first because if you’re not at your best, how can you expect to make others better? If I truly want to love others as I love myself, I have to love myself first. And taking care of me means loving myself so that I can love and take care of others properly.

I’m still not sure why all this happened. It wasn’t part of the plan. If I had had my way, I would have avoided everything regarding this and never gotten involved. But God had other plans. And maybe one day I’ll get to ask him why. I’m still not sure if there was any good in for me throughout all this. I want to believe that there was good in it for others because surely something beautiful came out of all this mess.

I’ve cried a lot over the last three years. I feel like that’s enough tears that needs to be shed. I know that it’s time to move forward and stop looking back.

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It’s time for me to finally close the door. To not leave it hanging open just in case. For me to walk away and never turn back and look. And know that everything is going to be ok. To know that I’m not going to lose my faith in God over this. That even though I may question and briefly doubt that I ultimately know that He still will keep his promises. I shall not be afraid.

I wrote this in my journal about 2 and a half years ago. I still feel it’s relevant today.

Right now I’m being pretty strong about this but I know also that days will come when I am going to feel really weak and emotional.  I am going to feel like I’m not good enough or that something is wrong with me.  I wish I could say that I am stronger than all that but I know that I am human and the temptation to listen to those lies is going to be really strong.  It’s going to hurt like hell……  Right now I want to say that I can deal with it and be strong and keep going.  But really what will probably happen is that I will cry, curse things, and be miserable.  What I’m hoping is that God will give me strength, wisdom, clarity, and peace throughout all this. I know that He wants me to wait.  I know that he wants me to trust in Him.  I know that I shouldn’t be letting my emotions control me..

The rational side in me wants all this. God has told me that if I trust in Him, the outcome will be good. Now I don’t know what the outcome is. I have no idea WHEN it is either.  I know that it is up to you Lord and you make all things work together for our good.  I think that is pretty much the story here.

So we’re good here? We’re good.

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Questions that Need Answering

Last week I asked readers of this blog to ask me questions. People love AMAs on Reddit and Twitter so I thought ok, I haven’t talked about EVERYTHING on this blog. Surely folks would be interested in finding out new things about me that I haven’t thought of yet. Plus it’d be fun to interact with the readers. I’ve seen other folks do it on their blog with great success.

But then….*crickets*. No one asked anything. I waited patiently for the questions to roll in and *silence*. I felt like a blogging failure. Was I that boring? Was no one reading my blog? Why did I even bother? It honestly even crossed to my mind to just give up completely on writing anymore in here because obviously no one cared at all. Along with other things that had been going in my life, it just made for a very bad week.

I sucked it up however. And eventually got some questions. And I am not giving up. I enjoy blogging. I write well. And even if no one else reads this, I’m doing this for me.

So here we go!

Favorite super hero?

So most people will just awesome I’m going to say Hawkeye. And I will admit that this would seem like a logical answer given my track record. But in reality it is not. The surprising answer is actually Batman. Whaaaaaaaa?

How did you become a Christian?

This is the short answer: I was 8 years old and said the prayer in our family’s spare bedroom next to my dad’s exercise machine. But then because I wasn’t sure if I had actually done the right thing, I kept repeating it yearly until I turned 14 and actually realized that I didn’t need to repeat the prayer over again “just in case.”

You can only eat one thing for the rest of your life. What is it?

Hmm. I will assume that I will remain healthy and that the only thing that would be troublesome would just be tired of the taste. Since you only mentioned eating, I also will assume then that I can drink as many things as possible. Therefore I will go with bread. Mmmmmm bread.

What are your goals for your life?

To read as many books as possible, visit London one day, and to get Josh Groban to follow me on Twitter.

How can girls and women become more involved in STEM?

I am going to assume that the question is referring to STEM as in “the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.” This is a very interesting question considering I used to be an engineering major and had to quit because it got too hard for me. It wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy the subjects, it was because I was not prepared in my high school for college level courses in this field. Educators should encourage young girls who show any interest in science or math and show that these subjects can be cool as early as possible. Of course there’s nothing wrong with the liberal arts as well. But if you do have interests in science and math, keep at it because we need more women in those fields.

How has your personal faith and belief in the supernatural limited you and how has it liberated you?

Ehrm, to be honest I don’t really think about this. I don’t like thinking about ghosts and stuff like that because they are either 1) a non issue that I don’t spend time on and 2) if I think about it too much I can scare myself. I recognize that demons and stuff can happen but they aren’t really a factor in my life (and hope they won’t be after writing this) so therefore I don’t spend time on this.

How would you reach out to people who have been hurt and/or ostracized by the church, local and/or universal?

It’s always sad when someone who has a genuine faith and desire to know the Lord gets hurt by those in the church. And more often than not, it’s not by something actually in the Bible but by people instead. Christians can sometimes be the most judgmental, hateful people ever. It’s really sad because instead of loving others like we are supposed to, we turn them away from the faith instead. That being sad, all I can do is just love and listen to them and be there for them when they need me.

What’s your favorite part of working in a library?

I’m surrounded by books ALL day! People seem to think that it’s a boring job and just like any job there are some boring moments. But I enjoy interacting with different people all day and get to talk about reading and books.

Who is your favorite female author and why?

This is actually kind of hard because I read so many authors. There are some authors who have written over 150 books that I’ve read while others I’ve read just the one. I’m going to have to go with J.K. Rowling. Even though I have not read any of her adult books and am not sure that I will, the Harry Potter series is my favorite book series of all time and will be so until I die. It’s just a damn good book series and written beautifully.

Thanks to everyone who sent in questions!

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What Good Books Have You Been Reading Lately Vol 6

To newcomers of this blog, this is a semi-regular feature on my blog. I have no set date on when these posts will go up. It all depends on how much I read and how good the books are that I read. Lately, I have been picking good books so it’s been good reading times for me. I’m now standing at 211 out of 225 books read for my 2014 goal with about 3 weeks left to go!

The Regal Rules for Girls by Jerramy Fine (Berkley Trade, 2012)

My blurb: Prince Harry is still up for grabs and this book showed me how to get him. No, but seriously as an Anglophile and very interested in the Royals, this book gave a great insight to what it’s like to learn to BE British. It’s sort of like an etiquette book but not as proper or formal. I highly doubt it will happen to be but still very fun to read.

Pioneer Girl by Bich Minh Nguyen (Viking Adult, 2014)

My blurb: It’s like the story of my life! Being the daughter of Asian immigrants and reading Little House on the Prairie! This story gives a “what if” to the story of Rose, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s daughter as well as the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants. It really was like reading a story about me.

The Walking Dead: Volume 1: Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore (Image Comics, 2006)

My blurb: I’ve been watching the show for several years and finally decided to cave and read the comics since we have all of them at the library. I’ve been reading one a week. And they are quite different from the TV show. I keep expecting Daryl to show up even though I know he never will. Characters are totally different and there are some changes in the plot. But otherwise it’s still really good and I’m enjoying it.

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen (Bethany House, 2014)

My blurb: I’m a huge Julie Klassen fan. (I was even published as a blurb in one of her books!) Her stories are set in the Austen time period. This is her best. It’s like Northanger Abbey, the gothic mystery romance. I honestly had no idea what was going to happen until the end. It’s rich and descriptive as well as a darn good story.

Lizzy & Jane by Katherine Reay (Thomas Nelson, 2014)

My blurb: Food and Jane Austen references and a sister story? Yes please. LOTS of food. Two sisters who have grown apart reunite due to cancer. It’s not a retelling of Pride and Prejudice which I had been a little worried about but instead it just talks about Austen a lot. It is a cancer story, so there’s that in here but I thought it was portrayed very realistically. I really loved all the characters as they are flawed and not perfect and never become so. Also interracial marriages. FTW.

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose You Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris (Crown Archetype, 2014)

My blurb: I’ve been waiting for this one for a while. I mean it’s NPH and a Choose Your Own Adventure book. I however did the thing where I just read it straight through. I know. But you really can flip around and choose NPH’s destiny. It’s an extremely funny book as well as very enlightening as to what went into the real Doogie Howser/Barney Stinson’s life. I don’t normally read celeb memoirs but this one was extremely well done.

That’s what I’ve been reading. What good books have YOU been reading lately?

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How a failed coffee attempt taught me about fate

This is one of those rhetorical question posts where I can’t give you an answer because I don’t know it myself.

How do you know when to give up on something and when to keep trying? If something doesn’t happen is it because God didn’t want it to?

I feel like in life there are certain situations where we tell people they need to keep going after something if they want it. We never tell someone to stop going after a job if they keep getting rejected from it. We may tell them to try for a different position or go a completely different route in attaining it. But as a whole, we never tell someone after they get passed over for a job that they are just meant to be jobless forever.

Then there are other times when it feels like the world is against you every time you try to do something so you feel like you need to give up and people seem to reconfirm those thoughts. They’ll tell you it just wasn’t meant to be or that if it was supposed to have happened it would have happened. That you should just give up and stop trying and accept things. (And for some reason, Christians will throw this around all the time with being single. Stop with the “gift of singleness”. Just stop.)

I’m sure there’s some logical explanation for this if I dig hard enough, which I’m not. It just sometimes feels confusing about when you need to just accept that things weren’t meant to be and when you shouldn’t.

I’m even talking about small things. Sometimes I wonder, if I missed a turn while driving even if I was paying very close attention, did I miss it for a reason?

Ok here’s a better example: One morning on my way to work I decided I needed coffee in order to make it through the day. There is only one Starbucks that’s directly on the way (meaning I don’t have to turn onto any side streets) so since I have a Starbucks card I decided to head there. Traffic was awful and I nearly missed the turn. That was sign number one. I finally get into the parking lot only to find out that there wasn’t a single space open in the entire lot. I circled three times and no one was getting out. Sign number two. Not wanting to be late for work, I finally resigned that I wasn’t going to be getting coffee that day and was already starting to feel grumpy. I turn back out and start heading to work. As I continue driving, I remember that there was a Dunkin Donuts also on the way and even though this meant I’d have to pay actual money, it’d be worth it this one time. I suddenly realize that I’m running short on time to get to work and it’s going to have to be a quick and snappy in and out of DD. I pull into the parking lot and am able to grab the last parking spot. Just as I’m heading out the car I realize the horrible truth (aka sign number three): I forgot my wallet and I don’t have any cash on me. Plus there’s the fact that my license is in my wallet so now I just screwed myself over because I was going to leave to go out of town right after work and I can’t do that now. Needless to say, I did not get my coffee that day.

Did this mean I wasn’t meant to get coffee that day? After three tries, I kept trying to go after it and it just didn’t work out. So I gave up. This did not mean that coffee was evil. I was able to get coffee the following week with no mishaps. Perhaps had I actually gotten the coffee that day, I might have died somehow. (Don’t ask, I have a very active imagination.) Though I have to admit, if I hadn’t tried to get coffee that morning, I may not have discovered that my wallet was missing until right as I got out of work (luckily I was able to go during my lunch break to retrieve it. Driving very slowly I might add) and that would have horrible trying to go back to retrieve it.

So there you go. God just did not want me to get coffee that day. No matter how much I tried to fight it, it wasn’t going to happen. During that whole process, I did discover something else that eventually helped me out in a way I wasn’t expecting.

I guess that’s just how life is. You want something. You keep trying for something. It’s not going to happen. But in the long run, you discover other things that you didn’t realize you needed.

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Ask Me Anything. Seriously.

It’s that time of year where I like to make sure that I actually have readers out there. *crickets*

I talk a lot on this blog. A lot of times it feels like I’m talking to myself but that’s ok. That’s what blogging is about. Every now and then I’ll get some comments which are always fantastic. But usually it’s just me. Talking. To everyone and possibly no one.

But as someone once told me “interaction is so appreciated.”

So here’s your chance to ask me anything. Seriously. Anything you want to know. Anything you’ve ever wanted to ask me. Burning questions you’ve always been wanting to know or ones that just popped in your head as you read this.

I’ll even make it anonymous so that way you don’t have to tell me who you are and won’t have to worry about me finding out who you are (unless of course you ask something so specific that I’ll know it was you).

Disclaimer: I do have to right to not answer questions that I find horribly offensive. I enjoy playing Cards Against Humanity so I’m pretty laid back but I do have a line and if you cross that line, I’m not going to answer it.

I also reserve the right to answer questions with snark and sarcasm if I feel like it.

Next Monday I’ll have a post with the questions and my responses to them. If you don’t see a post that means no one submitted a question. (sad trombone) Also, in order to have a post, I need at least two questions. So that may be the other reason. You’ll never know either way. (Unless of course you actually DID submit a question and you see there was no post. Then I suppose you, question asker, will know you were the only one.)

Make them good, people. It’s your only chance. Don’t let me down.

Top Image from: http://irelandhoran.deviantart.com/art/Ask-me-anything-368566530

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Fandoms I just can’t get into: The Anime Version

This is a typical conversation that seems to come up fairly often in my life.

Person: What kind of anime do you like?

Me: I don’t watch anime.

Person: But….you’re ASIAN!!!! How do you not watch anime?

Me: #notallAsians

It’s true. I’m not into anime.

It’s weird because I do enjoy animated movies and TV shows. Some of my very favorite movies are animated.

Yet for some reason, I just cannot get into anything Japanese animation.

I feel though that I have given it a try.

I have seen episodes of Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon, Sailor Moon, and Cowboy Bepop, as well as other shows/movies that I do not know the name of . They did nothing for me. I wasn’t bored or disgusted. I was just very apathetic towards them. I have seen other titles that I don’t recall the names for but again I just didn’t really like them.

It’s not that I go into watching these things with a negative view set in place. I really do try to have an open mind and hope that maybe I can still somehow become a fan. I actually did go pay to see My Friend Totoro in theaters and I did enjoy it. I did have many questions about why certain things were drawn in the way they were. I think that seems to be frowned on and I should just accept it.

But overall I just can’t get into it. I don’t know exactly what it is. I’ve watched both dubbed versions in English as well as in the Japanese version with subtitles. I know it’s the style and this will sound odd but I can’t stand how the motions of the mouth don’t fit with what the person is saying no matter what they say. I’m also not a fan with the style of drawing used. It is just not aesthetically pleasing to me. I realize that it is the norm for this genre but it does nothing for me.

Overall it’s just not pleasing to me at all. And I feel like it should be.

I have huge respect for the artists and they do a fine work. It’s just not for me.

I have many friends who are HUGE fans of anime. Their DVD collection is filled with many TV series and movies. They are always trying to get me to watch some. I feel bad that I can’t get into it and I feel like I should be a fan. I feel left out when I hear others talk about it and I can’t join in.

I’m not going to ask for recommendations for what you think I should watch. It’s not that I don’t think you’d give me a good one. I’ve just come to accept this fact about that this is a world that I will never be a part of. And that’s ok.

Credit for image: http://loldwell.com/?comic=japanned-by-critics

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Hope. It is the only thing stronger than fear.

Why do you linger here when there is no hope?

There is still hope.

Amid all the frantic-ness and commercialism that seem to come with the holiday season, there is still something that stands out to me about this time of the year.

We were talking in my small group the other night about hope and how we tend to give up so easily in our unbelief. It’s the whole “where do you place your trust in” thing. Do you place it in circumstances, in other people, in yourself or do you honestly instead place it in God?

Now, I know (if you’re even reading down this far) there are several readers of my blog who don’t share my faith, and that’s fine. Thanks for sticking around even if you don’t agree with me. This post may not speak towards you but you are more than welcomed to keep reading and share your thoughts.

Hope can be dulled by unbelief. I know there have been MANY times in my life where I just feel like I don’t have any more hope…in anything. It’s mainly because I feel like I’ve been let down too many times so why even try to get my hopes up because they are just going to come crashing down. I would blame God for the way people acted because if He was in control of the situation why would he allow others to hurt me? Why would He just stand there and let me be hurt? Did He enjoy watching me suffer? Was it all just a learning process?

I’ve gone through many hard times in my life. Some brought on by my own actions, others through no fault of my own. I know that there are many people who have had it WAY worse than me and my sufferings are nothing in comparison. But I still will admit that I’ve been through a lot of hurt. And it’s tough. It is very painful when you feel like you have to deal with it alone, when you try to reach out and others fail you.

This time of year reminds me very much of how single I am. But at the same time, the Christmas season however reminds me though that no matter how much hurt there is, no matter how much pain (either physical or emotional) I go through, I shouldn’t give up.

But when God makes a promise, He keeps it. In fact, God keeps both sides of the promise. (http://shereadstruth.com/2014/12/01/gods-promises-abram/)

Hope. We see it all through Scripture. But it’s not hope in ourselves or what we can do—it’s hope in the promises of the One who never lets us down. (http://shereadstruth.com/2014/12/02/christs-birth-prophesied/)

My prayer for this Christmas season is to remember what the true meaning of this holiday is to me. That God sent his son down in the lowliest of all situations for us, for me. Because He loved us, He loved me. That this is the greatest gift anyone could ever do for me. So that whenever I feel like I have no hope, when I feel abandoned, when I feel forgotten, when I have been let down, that I DO still have hope.

“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24b)

I don’t listen too much to my local Christian radio station because I feel like the music they play is too much geared towards the “family safe kid friendly” spiel. I feel that they limit themselves by only playing this type of music and it all starts sounding the same. Plus I thought they had switched over to Christmas music 24/7 and while I’m perfectly fine with this, yesterday I was not in the mood. I was driving to work and I was feeling pretty down and started crying. Then on a whim, I switched over to the Christian radio station and this song came on and it was exactly what I needed to hear.

Nice timing God. Thanks.

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Reading Challenge Accepted!

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Normally if I’m going to talk about books, I’d save it for Fridays for the Geekness posts. But since today is December 1 and it falls on a Monday, there’s a reason why I’m writing about books today.

2014 is almost up. My reading goal for this year is to read 225 books. I have currently finished 200 books. I have 31 days left to read 25 more books. This shouldn’t be a problem if all goes well.

Now then, why am I talking about this on a Monday instead of a Friday? Because I have one more reading goal for 2014. To read as many of the library books I have currently checked out before I get new ones.

I was inspired by this post on BookRiot, One Man’s Diary of a Month-Long Library Closure. In it, the author’s library was closed for a month for renovations and he prepped in advance by checking out as many things as possible to get him through the month. He thought he had gotten WAY more than he would be able to finish. He ended up finishing everything a week before the month was up and in such realized how important libraries were.

That post made me want to challenge myself to do the same thing by getting a huge number of books beforehand and prepare myself for a month without checking out new books.

This is actually harder than it seems. See I work IN a library. Plus I have library cards to three other libraries. I currently don’t have anything from one library system but between the other three systems I have 44 books checked out. This also doesn’t include all the music CDs, DVDs, and audio books I have checked out as well. My problem is that I keep checking out new books before I read the old ones. And since I work in a library, this doesn’t help at all when I keep seeing things I want to read on the shelves or being returned as I work.

Therefore I made a challenge for myself. From December 1 to December 31, I will read books that are from my current library TBR pile and NOT check out any new library books. The only exceptions are if I placed the book on hold BEFORE December 1 and I am allowed to put books on hold ONLY if they are new books to be ordered and not currently in the library system.

This challenge should then fulfill two purposes: 1) I’ll meet my 225 book goal for the year and 2) I should whittle down my library TBR pile and stop stockpiling books I should be reading.

I know to a lot of you this is slightly crazy and yeah it probably is. Still, making challenges and goals for myself is how I seem to work the best.

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It is now safe to listen to Christmas music

Traditionally, the day after Thanksgiving is my lowest readership day of the year. Who can really blame folks? No one wants to sit around on the computer reading blogs.

But since it’s the day after Thanksgiving, it is now officially appropriate to listen to Christmas music and start getting excited for the holiday season. I refuse to listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving. I cannot stand radio stations that switch to the “all holiday music all the time” prior to Thanksgiving. I mean seriously, if you can’t wait one more week then you’re just as bad as opening on Thanksgiving day.

Anywho, since it’s finally permissible I’ll just go ahead today and share with y’all some of my favorite versions of Christmas music. I realize that I have not included any religious Christmas songs on this list. It’s not because I don’t like those kinds of Christmas songs (because I do) but it’s more so that I don’t have any specific favorite versions of them. I just like them all especially when sung at church.

Baby, Please Come Home by Hanson

Last Christmas by Jimmy Eat World

All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays by ‘N Sync

All Alone on Christmas by Darlene Love

I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Josh Groban

Heh. I realize a lot of these songs have to do with being single on Christmas or wanting to be with someone on Christmas. Completely not intentional at all.

Welcome to the Christmas season.