“It’s just my favorite time of the year! The whole world changes color. Flakes, flurries, swirls, crystals, whatever form it comes in, I’ll take it. We go back, snow and me. We have a beautiful history. Sleigh rides, ice skating, snowball fights. I’ll even take curling. God, I love curling! Hot cocoa, hot toddies…best time of the year!”
Lorelai Gilmore, Gilmore Girls
‘Tis the season.
We are embarking on our second Christmas season in our little house. Our halls our decked for the most part (with the exception of one very stubborn length of garland that refuses to stay put above the door). Our neighbors seem to have outdone themselves this year in the outdoor lights department, so we have upped our game a bit in that area. It hasn’t exactly received the Clark Griswold treatment quite yet, but…I am becoming increasingly aware of my husband’s growing affinity for the inflatable lawn decorations. I must keep constant vigilance.
We just chose The Tree earlier this week, so we got that all set up and decorated. Unfortunately , this year we had to forego our 2nd annual cut-down-our-own-tree tradition. We have recently crossed off an item that has been long standing on our wishlist – a new couch. The addition of this new house member has entirely morphed our living room, as the couch is rather large (I swear it didn’t look that big at the store!). It is certainly earning its keep, however, because it is quite comfortable. Unfortunately, it has left little room for a Christmas tree of the magnitude we had last year, which happened to be one of the smaller ones at the tree farm, so we’ve decided that at least for this year, we will forego the tradition and just go buy a smaller, pre-cut one.
Anyway, I think it’s safe to say that I’m no Scrooge when it comes to Christmas. Which is interesting, because I generally get quite annoyed when it comes to the commercialism that the season has become impregnated with: The sales that aren’t really ‘sales’ because you end up spending more money than you would have if you hadn’t participated in the sale in the first place. Holiday ads. So many holiday ads. People getting so caught up in the gift purchasing aspect of the season, trying in vain to make sure they are buying the year’s “hottest gift”, because heaven-forbid little Johnny gets back to school after Christmas break (Oh, excuse me. Winter break.) and all of his friends have the latest gadget and he doesn’t. Getting more caught up in quantity, not quality. Getting so bogged down with the stress of holiday spending and crowds that the entire joy and beauty of the season has become nothing but a fizzled, trampled, faint memory.
My antidote? Staying home, living up and focusing on every other aspect of the Christmas season.
This should go without saying, but first of all, not forgetting the reason for the season. I won’t be a hypocrite and say that I am the most church-going of people. But it’s an area of life that is important to my husband and is also something that I was raised on. Celebrating Christmas without at least acknowledging in some capacity the religious aspect of it is just kind of silly.
Then there is all of the other wonderful activities that come with the season. I try to make a point to participate in as many as possible because, I mean, winter is already long enough. Why not have a little fun with it?
Dan and I have settled into a nice little routine of curling up on our new couch and working our way through our favorite Christmas movies. So far this year we’ve gotten through Miracle on 34th St., National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, White Christmas, the Home Alones, and Scrooged. Our finale is always It’s a Wonderful Life, which we are hoping to go see back on the big screen at one of the movie theaters in town that is running a Christmas movie series.
I always try to squeeze in decorating Christmas cookies and/or making gingerbread houses. This year half the stash thankfully successfully made it to work to share the calories. Because we are pretty good at eating cookies in our household…
Another one of our favorite traditions is driving down one of the more historic streets in town and taking in all of the Christmas lights on the beautiful, old houses. Hopefully this year we didn’t prompt any of the homeowners to report our activity to authorities as suspicious… we drove up and down the street quite a few times…
What can I say, it was just so pretty!
I also love settling down under the quiet glow of our Christmas lights, with a hot cup of hot chocolate or coffee, listening to instrumental versions of Christmas music. Seeing our little town blanketed in a good coat of fresh snow, and when the temperatures permit, taking a wintery evening stroll around with the husband. Adding special new ornaments to The Tree. Remembering the simple joys of giving. Getting to see family members together again, and recalling stories of childhood Christmases.
These are all reasons why I haven’t let myself get scrooged, my anti-drug, so to speak. This time of year is has so much more to offer than the commercialism that we tend to get caught up in and burnt out on. If you live in a place like we do, winter does get long and cold and dark. Luckily, we get to kick off the season with a little extra boost from Christmas. This time of year is only as stressful as you let it make you. Don’t forget to make memories, because those will live on long after the last gift has gotten unwrapped.