Christmas in the air...

I love Christmas! I love everything about it….the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, the Nativity pageants, the Carolers singing “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”, little children sitting on Santa’s lap, sappy holiday movies on TV, decorating the tree with years worth of memorable ornaments... Every bit of it fills me with joy.

Yes, I’m one of THOSE people….the ones who thrive in the midst of long lines, burnt turkey and assorted holiday craziness. I mail too many cards, wear Santa Claus socks, and change my cell phone’s ring tone to “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”.

I just can't help myself. The closer Christmas gets...the more I act like a giddy school girl. Even when I worked retail years ago, I found this to be my favorite time of year.

As a child my parents instilled in me a love of the holidays and I guess it’s just never faded. We had several family traditions that we could look forward to every year. Before my Grandma H went to live in the nursing home, we would have a family celebration with my Dad’s family. Some years we would also be very lucky to travel over the holidays to see my Mom’s family in Kentucky. Back at home, we usually made doughnuts from scratch on Christmas morning, followed by my Dad reading the Christmas story from Luke 2 out loud to all of us, and then on to the presents! Santa didn’t visit our house (long story for a different day), but my little brother and I always had lots of gifts to un-wrap on Christmas morning.

Dan and I now host my family Christmas. We’re a small lot at this point, so it’s not a huge undertaking. We usually do it a week or so before the 25th whenever we can all get together. My folks drive up and so does my little brother (not so little anymore…a grown man living several hours away). We don’t always make doughnuts these days, but we do still enjoy the Christmas story before we open our gifts. More than gifts or pastry, we enjoy each other. We share stories of Christmases past and now that Willie is here, a whole new element of excitement has been integrated into the celebration.

Dan and I are creating our own traditions too. We put up our tree the day after Thanksgiving. We bake cookies and make candy for all of our holiday gatherings. I make a family Christmas salad (my Great Aunt Mary’s) which always makes more than we need. Dan and I buy each other silly and whimsical gifts. We go to see light displays, and take Willie to see Santa at the mall. We listen to Christmas music and go to a special service at church. We open our presents first thing on Christmas morning (Santa, by the way DOES come to our house) and then we drive to see Dan’s family for a wonderful Christmas lunch and fellowship. We return home stuffed & exhausted but very, very happy.

As the holidays wind down, the presents have all been opened, and the tree is packed away, there will still be a lingering warmth that only December can give us. Even after I’m making my New Year’s resolutions and trying to remember to write 2010 instead of 2009, I’ll be thinking about all the fun we will have had.

I hope that you will also enjoy these next few weeks as much as I plan to. As the old song says, this is truly the “most wonderful time of the year”.

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