My Holiday Essentials.

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Every season, I try to do an “essentials” post of the things/products that are getting me through the changing weather, temperatures, travels and seasonal activities. With snow falling heavily as I write this, and having attempted on more than one occasion to get some Christmas shopping done over the past couple of weeks (side note: nearly finished!) I thought that I’d forgo a “Winter Essentials” post and create a more festive one, instead.

Here are the things that are currently getting me into the holiday spirit:

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1. Anything Gingerbread or Peppermint Scented: In November’s Sephora Holiday Haul, I had picked up two body washes from Philosophy – one in “Spiced Gingerbread Cookie,” and the other in “Peppermint Stick.” Those were just scratching at the surface of what I consider to be my two biggest scent-obsessions this time of year. Also included in my collection are the above-pictured products from Bath & Body Works. From left to right:

“Iced Gingerbread Antibacterial Hand Soap,” which I keep in the bathroom for guests and myself since it smells delicious.

“Twisted Peppermint Hand Cream.” This one stays in my purse. It’s a refreshing burst of mint fragrance that keeps my hands nice and moisturized without making them feel greasy.

“Iced Gingerbread Foaming Hand Sanitizer.” Another purse-product. This foam is pretty strong in terms of the scent, but it’s not harsh on hands the way other liquid/gel sanitizers can be. It absorbs quickly without drying my skin out.

Each time I get a whiff of any of these products, I feel especially cheery.

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2. Thermal Pajamas: There is nothing more comfortable than rocking a pair of thermal pajamas and fuzzy socks while wrapping Christmas presents and listening to some Bing Crosby and Perry Como holiday classics, or watching “Home Alone” or “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” The ones I’m wearing in the photo above, a long sleeve shirt and matching leggings combination, were a splurge from Victoria’s Secret, and worth every penny. They keep me warm and cozy, and I’m looking into buying another set (or two) really soon.

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3. Peppermint Hot Chocolate: I’ve drastically cut back on my caffeine intake as of late (and by “cut back,” I mean I haven’t had any coffee at all in weeks,) which means my beloved peppermint mocha lattes at Starbucks are off limits. I’ve found solace in peppermint hot chocolate, however- which gives me the same great taste without the jitters. Starbucks will always be my favorite go-to for this drink (it’s served at the perfect temperature, and with those little dark chocolate curls they sprinkle in!) but making it at home is easier, less costly, and still tastes just as good.

I make my own in one of two ways- by either melting an actual peppermint stick in scalding hot cocoa and letting it cool before I enjoy it, or, if I’m in a rush to drink it- adding a splash of peppermint-flavored creamer to it to give it a minty kick. Sadly, I do not have those delicious dark chocolate curls- but I find crumbling a York Peppermint Pattie or an Andes Mint on top works just fine.

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4. A Festive Sweater: While ugly Christmas sweaters are pretty fun, sometimes it’s nice to just have a festive one- with no bells, fringe, sequins, or poof balls glued or sewn onto it- to wear around the house or to holiday gatherings without having to don a Santa hat to look Christmas-y. Enter this oversized “Home Alone” inspired sweater from BooHoo.com (special thanks to Imogen for showing me where to buy it!) that I plan on rocking to the office Christmas party later on this week. I’ve paired it with a basic black skirt and black tights in the photo above, and it matches my annual holiday manicure perfectly. Speaking of, this year’s nail art is snowflake inspired:

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“Holiday Essentials” not pictured: Sugar cookie eggnog, evening drives to look at Christmas lights/decorations, making individual and unique Christmas cards for friends and loved ones, sporadically tuning in to the 24-hour marathon of “A Christmas Story” throughout Christmas Day and knowing all of the lines no matter what scene you’re watching, Advent Calendars, setting up and decorating the tree- then trying to keep your pets from destroying it or knocking it over, the annual ‘Toys for Tots’ donation delivery, listening to Christmas music while curling up beside a crackling fire, seeing how excited (and sometimes better behaved) little kids get as Christmas Eve approaches, those Little Debbie Christmas Tree snack cakes that are so bad for you but so delicious at the same time, snow ball fights, the last minute gift shopping trip, and of course- visiting/spending time with family and friends.

What are some of your “Holiday Essentials?”

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