Remember that Christmas is about family, traditions, and making memories that will last a lifetime. My gift to you is the greatest Christmas movie of all time. Enjoy.
Composing the Christmas tree is a special ritual to my wife. To her, our Christmas tree is a patchwork of memories and sentiments, a mash up of emotions, experiences and feelings.
Every year my wife unpacks our Christmas ornaments and goes through the same dilemma of deciding which ornaments will make the cut to be displayed that holiday season. We have two large Rubbermaid storage containers full of ornaments, very many of them representing a memory… the birth of one of our daughters, a lost grandparent or death in the family, mine and her first Christmas together, or even the occasional ornament from a past relationship or friendship, all of them representing former days both happy and sad.
To my wife, these ornaments serve as an archive of her life, a personal museum or perhaps even a time machine of sorts, not dissimilar to a prized volume of family photos. I’m not a very sentimental guy, but I appreciate that she is. I have very little saved from my past to share with others. She makes me question if I should change that.
With two little girls romping around the house, she’s forced to leave most of her prized ornaments hidden away in the safety of bubble wrap and styrofoam for now, except for a few moments each year when she goes through and looks over each one of the relics of her past and recites the story behind most of them.
I think her ritual is rather neat, perhaps a bit whimsical, but always entertaining and a sign that the holiday season is definitely upon us.
I have a secret. I love the Holidays. Even the things that annoy me to a certain extent I have grown to enjoy. Christmas movies on repeat, my wife constantly listening to Christmas music, being dragged to family members’ homes time and time again.
My wife forces me to neatly put up rows of lights on my house, I find neatly placed Christmas trinkets strategically placed in almost every room of the house. Even my desk has somehow been infiltrated by a small snowman reminding me the Holiday season has arrived.
Sometimes I’m annoyed by the constant bombarding of commercials begging me to purchase this or that, knowing that I have to attend yet another family event and exchange courtesies to people I only make an effort to see once a year, and watching money drain from my bank account and a sometimes alarming rate. I don’t hate it though.
I thoroughly enjoy watching my wife open the gifts I have so carefully picked for her. She has the warmth and innocence of a child sometimes and that’s something most adults lose rather quickly. I don’t even mind seeing family at a little too frequent basis from November to January. My Mother-in-Law’s cooking and my Father-in-Law’s good nature make up for it.
Even coming home after work some days after dark is a pleasure. The Christmas lights sparkling on my house, a fire going in the fireplace, and a freshly ground cup of coffee waiting for me accompanied by an excellently prepared meal lovingly given to me by my amazing wife. Those are the evenings that make the Holidays a very special time of year. The atmosphere makes watching even the worst Christmas movie tolerable.
Good food. A little wine and beer. Friends and Family. Santa hats and tacky sweaters. A roaring fire and even a corny Christmas song playing in the background quietly reminding you of the days of your youth when you believed in Santa. I guess those are the things that make this time of year enjoyable.
I love the holidays.
The last few weeks have been busy. Busy at home and busy at work. The Holiday season brings family members to my house and deadlines at work. All of which I enjoy, ironically. I prefer to stay at capacity at work and whenever I have the opportunity to see my wife’s eyes light up because we are hosting a house full of friends and family it makes my day.
It’s funny how things change over time. It was only a few years ago I found myself piling into someone else’s home for the Holidays; now I have someow inexplicably claimed the right to host holiday get-togethers. I think I actually enjoy it to some degree too – which is also surprising. As long as I keep my refrigerator full of premium beer and invite at least one friend over to keep me sane I survive. It also helps that my wife and mother-in-law are excellent cooks.
I didn’t even mind having to drive over an hour each way to pick up my insane Mother – which turned into a lot more work than I had planned. It seems a non-religious guy who largely thinks most holidays are built by corporations to trick the world into spending money they don’t have CAN actually find a bit of value and appreciation for the institution. At a minimum – this Thanksgiving did provide me with a lot to be thankful for and this Christmas season has given me the opportunity to treat my wife and friends to a few gifts I normally wouldn’t be able to talk myself into purchasing.
I’m a realist to a fault sometimes. There are occasions I can’t even enjoy the holidays because I see them for what they are. FAKE. They are built on a foundation of consumerism, materialism, and greed – an evil ironic twist to a holiday made to supposedly celebrate one of the most minimalist, “wealth is bad”, characters in history (I’m talking about Jesus here, folks). The irony seems to be lost on most Christians – most demanding more “black Friday” deals and cussing their fellow religious zealots for taking their coveted parking spot at Wal-Mart. I digress.
I have found a glimmer of hope for the holidays. A change in perspective.
While it is true that the holiday season is mostly an ironic pile of dog-shit, all is not lost. It is also a time to see family and friends, appreciate eachother’s company, feast over good stories with good beer, and show your love and appreciation for everyone in your life.
Of course we don’t need the holidays to do all that, but if we have to put up with it – may as well make it worth something…
So this holiday season I will put up Christmas decorations, feast with family I only see once a year, and watch my wife’s face light up with pleasure. I suppose you can’t change the truth about the nature of this beast, but you can at least change what it means within yourself. Change your own perspective, fight fires when you can, and try to enjoy what’s good about it all.