When I was a child, Christmas started as soon as Thanksgiving ended.
As a family, we’d listen to “Careless Whispers” by WHAM (don’t ask why, it’s tradition) and decorate the Christmas tree that we had picked ourselves. Every square inch of my house had a Santa or a snowman or a reindeer.
Our front lawn was sprinkled with lite-up decorations and white-light icicles hung up our roof. Personalized stockings hung on the fireplace mantel, and sounds of Christmas music could be heard every day. We’d count down the days until Santa arrived. I remember feeling more magic in the air as the day got closer.
On Christmas Eve, my brother and I would sprinkle oatmeal on the front lawn (because reindeers love oatmeal) and leave cookies and milk out by fireplace for Santa. Early on Christmas morning, we’d sprint into my parents’ room shouting “he was here!,” and as a family, we’d sit in our den and open Christmas gifts from Santa.
This year, I had to remind my parents to start decorating for Christmas a few weeks after Thanksgiving ended. My mom couldn’t decorate our fake tree with us because she was working. So my dad, brother, and me half-assed hanging ornaments on the ‘branches,’ one of which was broken and hung limp on the floor.
Our lawn has no decoration, but we have some little snowpeople in our front window that is outlined with white lights. The den is the most Christmas-dense room in the house, although some rooms have a little reindeer statue or a wreath in them.
Christmas is different now, and I wonder if kids nowadays even still believe in the magic of the holiday season, when you feel like anything is possible.
As an adult, I feel like the month of December flies by, as if someone is fast forwarding through. During the holidays, everyone is rushing around, running from here to there, never stopping to breathe.
Well, I’m stopping now because I want to always remember the magic I felt as I kid, and maybe even try to feel it again by remembering that that magic feeling lives inside the holiday season.
It’s hard to remember that sometimes.
Rushing around becomes the norm because, let’s face it, there are so many thing to do before the holidays arrive (mostly shopping). Before you know it, the gifts have been distributed, the parties have been attended, and the new year has started.
Where did this last taste of the year go? We spend it worrying about so many little things happening tomorrow that we don’t stop to live in today, or realize that the holiday season is the time that makes gift-giving and party-attending possible.