I love the holidays and the holiday season. Underscore, bold, italicize “love” because my feelings go deep.
Let’s start at the very beginning, shall we? My mom and dad shared their first kiss in a Christmas tree lot. Ever since, this special time of year has meant more to me than presents and food and pretty lights. (Don’t get me wrong. I adore those things!) But it has always been more than that; more about family and reasons to be together celebrating.
Next came me. I was born December 17, 1985. I was my mother’s Christmas Baby. It may have been a sunny, 80 degree day in LA that year, but I was in my baby Santa suit and barraged with love from my Guncles and parents as the first baby in the family.
I loved getting out of school for a few weeks during winter break from school. Miss those days. I loved my Christmas-themed birthday parties almost every year. I loved all the celebrating, and I still do.
My heart goes pitter-patter when I see Christmas lights going up signaling the season has begun. White lights only, please. I start the Christmas music and the decorating the day after Thanksgiving. I am that girl.
I present you with a quick list of things I love about this time of year:
- Tree decorating day: Arguably my favorite day of the year. Usually I spend it with my mom, brother, and Guncles decorating our 10+ foot tree with hundreds and hundreds of ornaments. This year, I decorated our 6 foot tree with my husband, but kept the tradition of talking about each ornament and the memories it represents as we went to hang each one. It does not get more sentimental (i.e. Christmas-y) than that!
- Watching Christmas movies: I have made a whole list of movies and prioritized them. I watch them when I’m wrapping presents or cooking or just hanging out. This year I’m easing into by starting with the fall cross-over “classic”, The Nightmare Before Christmas. Of course, family tradition says I must cap it off with a line by line recitation of It’s a Wonderful Life. Hotdog!
- Christmas cards: I’m not sure if Max and I will do one this year, but I love sending them out just as much as receiving them. I love thinking about the year gone by and how much has transpired and how we’ve all grown and changed. I love hearing from people I’m not in general close contact with and watching kids grow into adults year by year.
- Watching family and friends open their gifts. It does not matter whether the gift was from me.
- My dad’s lasagna. My brother makes it now.
- It’s all just an excuse to be together and be happy, right?
I find that my family spends SO much time together this time of year. We are celebrating my birthday. We are going on a drive to see Christmas lights. We are decorating the tree. We are holiday shopping. We are watching movies. We are cooking and baking. We are gathered together on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and now, with the addition of The Coanes to my family, Boxing Day on the 26th.
And during all of these many times stuffed into this tiny window of the year, we are all afforded time to be together, and we are all smiling and happy. And that feeling is real.
There are other excuses we all make to be together. Whether it is getting stuff done during the year or sometimes even mourning, but there really isn’t another designated “just be happy together” time. As a total non-religious person, this time of year does not have any meaning other than what I choose to impute to it, but that does not mean it is artificial or somehow less meaningful. We should all endeavor to celebrate with those we love as often as we can. I’m happy to have an “excuse” to be thankful and happy with my family and loved ones that is recognized by my workplace and my country, giving me the time I really crave to do just that.
Stay tuned for all the holiday excitement!