Christmas – it’s the most wonderful time of the year, so they say. By “they” I am mostly referring to my wife. We all know someone who takes holiday cheer very seriously. You may even be that person. I’m not here to knock that. In fact, I think that those are the people that make the Christmas season as great as it is.
December almost entirely revolves around Christmas (sorry, winter birthday folks). For many, this is the busiest time of the year. Work year-ends are needing to be closed out, everyone’s kid has a dreaded Christmas special at church or school (even though they usually wind up being adorable/hilarious), and you have to buy presents for what feels like everyone you know on a first-name basis. Though all that makes the season stressful, it is also a time for people to be thankful, generous, and cheerful. Those are good things. I like those things.
If you are like me, you accumulate presents for friends and family slowly. My wife and I do most shopping simultaneously, but the gifts I get for her or any others I’m responsible for, I buy one at a time for about a month leading up to Christmas. Some buy their Christmas gifts at Walgreens late on Christmas Eve. I have a coworker that I am fairly sure was done shopping by Halloween. The holidays aren’t all about the presents, but giving and getting makes for a pretty good time. Let’s not pretend the presents aren’t one of the most fun parts of Christmas.
I talk a big game about there being no Christmas trees in our house prior to Thanksgiving. I do have to be honest though that every year, our house really does look its best when we have our Christmas stuff up in all its glory. Well played, wife. The fake tree is nice and easy, but real trees are one of my favorite Christmas memories as a kid.
Like a lot of memories, I appreciate cutting down a tree with my Dad more now than I did at the time. Freezing my toes and taking turns dragging a tree across the field wasn’t the first thing I looked forward to at Christmas. However, bundling up and marching towards the woods with my Dad, our dog Oliver happily bounding ahead, and maybe even a cat or two joining us on our journey was a pretty darn good time. Pops did most of the cutting since all we had was a rusty handsaw. He wasn’t quite Clark Griswold, but it was a joyous occasion that brought a sense of accomplishment when we hoisted up the tree in the house.
Uncle Shae (always in shorts), me (not helping), and Dad (head in a tree)
Having Christmas Eve at my grandparent’s house and Christmas morning at my parents is a tradition that has never left my life. My wife’s family has been very accommodating in having Christmas brunch/lunch and allowing this ritual to continue. Even though I touted the fun of the presents, it really is family and loved ones that make this a special time of year.
I want to thank all of the Christmas fanatics out there for making this season go. The rest of us may roll our eyes at the Christmas music, tree decorating, and silly traditions, but we need all of that in our lives. The magic doesn’t have to stop when you aren’t a kid anymore. Use the opportunities that Christmas provides to let your family and friends know you love and appreciate them. Long live all of the goofy traditions and may all your Christmases be merry and illuminated! Or something.