For me, it's the sound of Christmas, that really gets it started. Bing Crosby's "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" usually does the trick. Frank Sinatra's "Hark the Herald Angels" works as well. The Christmas season starts to descend.
The next step, is, of course, to get the Christmas tree so the house smells like Monterey pine. And little twinkle lights. And cocoa or champagne. And a fire.
When I get out the Christmas decorations I feel like I am greeting old friends. There you are, dear snowmen, dear angels, dear Santa.
But for me, slowing down and almost imperceptibly loosening the tight knots of the year are also as crucial. Thank you boys, you help a lot.