Chances are, you've met me/seen my Facebook feed, and are at least mildly aware of my passion for Christmas. I love it. In the giddy “Look at all the lights!” way. I genuinely think a Christmas tree is one of the most beautiful sights in the world. I stick my head in our tree daily to inhale its wonderfulness. I love the stories, the memories, and the sentiments that are shared at the holidays. Yes, there is a tendency for everything to get a little nutty with holiday parties all around, Christmas lists that start in October and don’t seem to get any shorter, and the inevitable holiday travel plans. But there is also this understanding that it is the holidays.
Everyone is open to helping out. Causes and people that go unacknowledged year round are adopted, appreciated, celebrated. No matter what holiday we celebrate, we can all share a common knowledge of the same limited playlist of holiday songs that play on repeat for the month of December, and I’m not sure if there is a soul out there who doesn't appreciate a good frosted sugar cookie.
Christmas time is special because it brings all our emotions to the surface.
The excitement: What surprises are in store for me? Our inner 6 year-olds rejoice.
The anxiety: My father is impossible to shop for. I don't want to waste money, but I can't show up empty-handed.
The joy: Cards and letters from friends we rarely see. Holiday parties and family gatherings, reuniting and reminiscing about the past year.
The frustration: If I spend 30 more seconds looking for a parking spot, I am going to park this thing on the curb and let Rudolph worry about my bumper.
Your pants. Harsh reminder that Christmas cookies are not grapes.
The warm fuzzies: Hanging ornaments from when you were growing up, remembering when a particular nutcracker was received or who used to love that crooked tree topper.
The chills: Hearing Charlie Brown and his friends sing Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Turning off your lights and admiring the glow of your Christmas tree.
The missing: Missing people. Of course we miss our favorite people more at the holidays- they're supposed to be there. You're supposed to spend your holidays with the people you love the most. It feels mixed-up, out of order, and so disappointing when you realize they aren't there.
The awe: Not only for your redneck neighbor who spends more on their December power bill than they do on a year's worth of chicken, but for the speed with which we have arrived back at the holidays. How much we've done in a year, how much has changed, how quickly we've run out of time to do all those things we were going to do this year.
I've got it all. I've been giving goofy grins to our Fraser fir for weeks. I've baked (we can wait another 12 months for that to happen again), hosted friends for cookies, mailed out dozens of cards, cried for a solid 4 hours when one more forgotten pin number put me over the edge. I have wrapped gifts, attended work holiday parties, given passing thought to all the exercise I will do next year, and hung stockings with care. Even through my sugar haze, as I flow from excited to anxious to happy to weepy to sleepy, I haven't lost sight of what makes me most happy, in December and the rest of the year. My people. People that I make plans to see, people I'm delighted to run into, and people I had no idea I would ever end up enjoying. Sometimes (well, this time of year) I just want to wrap them up in Christmas lights, put a bow on their heads, and let them feel the lovely warmth of the holiday spirit.
I know that's weird. But it's how I feel.