>How do you know it’s the Christmas season?

>A couple of days ago, USA Today’s Pop Candy blogger linked to a website that contains every cover of Wham’s “Last Christmas” ever made (there are a lot of them…I simply had no idea). Part of the story was that the people who created the web-site didn’t really feel like the Christmas season had kicked-off or was here until they’d heard the song as originally performed by Wham.

That got me thinking about the songs, movies, tv specials, events, etc that I look forward around this time of year. I’ll admit one of my favorite Christmas songs is “Carol of the Bells” and I love to hear it performed by a handbell choir. I know there are a ton of recordings of the song in just about every possible genre you could ever want, but there’s just something about it played on handbells. And as cheesy as it may be, I’ve got to admit that a new favorite is the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Wizards in Winter” and seeing the YouTube footage of the house that timed out its light show to the song.

Of course, there are a ton of other things out there. One I stumbled back across this year was “The Best Christmas Pagaent Ever.” I read this book about a billion and one times as a kid and I loved it every time. They made a one-hour special version of it, starring Loretta Switt, but it never really compared to the visual spectacle I had in my mind. I gave a copy of the book to my niece, hoping she’ll enjoy it half as much as I did growing up. (I also found out there were two “sequels” out there, one taking place around Halloween and one that was about the whole school year. I gave them a try and maybe one book should have been enough).

So, those are a couple of things from my end. How about you? What are those things you want to see or hear around this time of year that tell you that Christmas is coming?

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