It’s that time of year when facebook is awash of all the things for which people are thankful. So here’s one of mine.
I am thankful that this time of year always makes me happy.
It doesn’t matter if it’s snowing or the sun is shining. It doesn’t matter how early or late retailers put up their Christmas displays, or open their stores for Black Friday. I don’t care if radio stations start playing holiday music or not. I don’t look for Jesus in the stores, so it doesn’t bother me if He isn’t there, but it doesn’t bother me if He is. I would never be offended if someone said, “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” or “Happy Hanukkah” or “Happy Kwanza” or whatever well-to-do wish they bestowed upon me. I don’t care if you have a real tree or a fake one, or how early you put up your lights (although you really should take them down during the summer, please).
I love the hustle and bustle of this time of year. I love the music, and the lights, and the decorations. I LOVE the TV and the movies – the old classics and newly minted “classics”. And while I love Thanksgiving and would never want to skip right over it, I certainly don’t mind being in the Christmas spirit when it comes.
I have so many great memories of this time of year. From childhood memories of drving from Albuquerque to Colorado Springs for Thanksgiving, to more recent memories of my children leaving water for Santa’s reindeer (they work hard!), and even the promise of future memories like spending our first New Year’s Eve in Canada. And at this time of year, we are inundated with images, smells, and sounds that trigger any number of those happy memories, at any time.
Anything turkey related, whether in July or December, transports me to my Grandparents’ kitchen with my Grandpa slicing celery and chopping onions, and my Grandma wearing an apron over her nice Thanksgiving outfit. The adults never kicked us out of the kitchen, even if it would have been easier to get dinner ready without our “help”. It’s where I learned to make gravy and eventually Grandma’s stuffing, two recipes that will never be altered by me as long as I live (screw the Gluten Free life! Not for stuffing and gravy!).
The tune of a Christmas carol sweeps me away to scenes of decorating the Christmas tree. As a kid with my siblings, strategically placing the ugly, homemade ornaments in the back of the tree while my mother objected that “none of the ornaments are ugly!” Or more present memories of trying to unwrap ornaments as quickly as the kids can hang them, and then attempting to fill out the top of the tree once they’re finished with the bottom. Christmas carols also mean Christmas Eve, either the brown Christmas of New Mexico, driving around to see all the luminarias; or the white Christmas of Minnesota, working like an elf to wrap the last presents, while snow falls outside and A Christmas Story keeps me going through the night.
And any number of things can spark a memory of a past New Year’s Eve, whether it was dressing up for an actual night out as a young adult; trying desperately to stay up until midnight while eating Twigs and my dad’s dip as a kid; or as a parent, with our favorite friends, watching the East Coast drop the ball in Times Square and then sending the children off to bed so the grown-ups can relax before the real New Year starts!
I could literally list hundreds of happy memories, but that would probably only be interesting to my immediate family (if that). So I’ll stop now, and just say again that I am so grateful that this time of year fills me with joy, and love, and celebration. And I wish the same to all of you!