To borrow and paraphrase from Dickens, here’s how I feel about the holidays: It is the best of times; it is the worst of times.
Let’s start with the best:
* The music and decorations.
* Family and friends abound.
* Sending and receiving cards.
* Filling the stockings and hearing my husband read The Night Before Christmas .
* Our Christmas Eve Open House.
* The smell of the fresh tree.
* Missing friends and relatives who have passed on.
* Decorating without the children here.
* Pure exhaustion from the endless running.
* Shopping for people who do not need a thing.
* Knowing the gray days of January and February are just around the corner.
* Coordinating schedules with a grown daughter and a son in college.
* Cleaning up after the tree dies.
Still, certain songs bring a tear to my eye and certain rituals give me great pleasure. So, I choose to embrace the holiday part of it and limit my griping about the hell days part.
I agree with Sheri – there are both good and bad things about the holidays.
· Shopping for people you love. They know it’s the thought that counts – not the present.
· Taking a quiet moment when the room is dark and the tree is lit to reflect upon how lucky we really are – even during the worst of times.
· Spending extra time with family members and friends. It’s the only time of year when we all seem to take time.
· Watching my curious puppy dog open her presents. She never re-gifts anything I give her!
· Playing old Christmas music. It reminds me of my childhood.
· Waking up on Christmas morning to the smell of fresh coffee.
· Screaming children and run-away strollers in the stores. Stay home or get a baby sitter mom!
· People talking loudly on their cell phones while Christmas shopping. No one needs to hear whether you’re getting the Nintendo or the foot massager.
· Asking me “Do you have the receipt for that gift?”
Some of my most vivid childhood holiday memories include:
· Waking up at 3:00 am the day after Thanksgiving and driving to Louisville to compete in an annual swim meet. My poor mom was so exhausted after cooking dinner the night before, but she was a trooper and was ready to drive us all there. We did this every year until I was 18!
· My brother taking the Rudolph the Reindeer ornament off our Christmas tree and dive bombing it onto the roof of the nativity set when we were little. It started an all-out nativity war one year.
· My friend Kathleen’s hair catching fire from a candle during Girl Scout Christmas caroling when I was a young girl.
· Making Spritz cookies and royal icing every year from scratch.
· Going to midnight Mass and delivering a prank gift afterwards to friends of my parents – for many years – at around 1:30 am. It was a totally fun stealth mission. Then they would call us at 2:00 am hysterically laughing.