Christmastime is Here…

I tend to get a little giddy around this time of year.  It’s one of my favorite seasons.  How can one NOT be happy during the holidays?  Basically from the end of October through January I’m in my happy place almost 24/7.

I’m not sure what all makes it add up to so much awesome.  There’s certainly a lot though.  I’m not sure how anyone could be a Scrooge this time of year.

I love the anticipation and expectation almost as much as when the big holidays and seasonal events arrive.  The excitement leading up to the holidays in November is the best.  And let me just say – when it comes to Christmas and me, I’m all about it as soon as my birthday has passed.  Basically, if you’re around me or in my apartment, it might look like Father Christmas threw up all over the place.  But back to that build up…  You know what’s coming and you know it will be awesome.  I love the slow build up.  It’s slightly ridiculous that stores immediately put out Christmas stuff right after Halloween, but you start seeing the decorations, the music starts coming along on the radio, a chill begins to fill the air, the Southern Christmas Show arrives (proof of my love for Christmas – I may or may not go to the Christmas show 2x over the 2 wks or so it’s in town), Thanksgiving and family bring good times, Black Friday has it’s way with people (myself NOT being one of them), and then suddenly December is here.

I am pretty sure my family is a big reason I love this season so much.  Mom has tons of decorations and a love of all things snowmen.  We always put up the decorations the day after Christmas and decorate the tree together (and then I may redecorate a time or two – I am a professional, you know).  I remember when I was little we’d put the candles in the windows and at night I’d make it my duty to turn them all on and the same went with the lights on the house if we put any up that year.  We always had a candle going with some holiday fragrance (pine most of the time – rarely did we have a real tree).

We would watch bunches of Christmas movies together.  A lot of the Christmas movies we watched were ones my parents grew up with too.  Every year we still watch Scrooge (with Albert Finney), A Muppet’s Christmas Carol and we can’t go without the yearly tradition of watching White Christmas on Christmas eve while eating pizza and then opening our stockings.  Great memories of going up to Massachusetts once to a theatre to see White Christmas on a big screen in an old theatre.  That was awesome.  And I’m pumped to go see a live version of White Christmas at Ovens this year!

I also recall mom and dad taking us out in the car at night to see the Christmas lights.  When I was little we’d go out to McAdenville (aka Christmastown USA).  I remember one year we ate at Western Sizzlin’ (I think?).  Good memories.  One year in Maine we went to Millinocket (right??).  I remember heading out somewhere when we were living in Connecticut.  Those were good times in the car.  Warm, Christmas music going, just looking out…  Reminds me also of when we’d go to the Christmas parade in Presque Isle on Main Street.

Christmas music was a big deal too.  One of my favorite memories from when I was little was how mom and dad used to play the John Denver and the Muppets Christmas album on the record player for us each night.  I distinctly remember falling asleep to that.  We almost always had a Candles and Carols service at the church that was awesome.  Lots of great singing, scripture reading and sharing.  We would sometimes have Christmas programs at church (and I still remember some of the songs the children’s choir did – both from when my dad was at Shiloh in Monroe and when we lived in Maine).  I remember the care groups at church in Maine going Christmas caroling.  We always had a lot of Christmas music playing at the house too.  If there is any doubt now, let me dispell it – Bing Crosby = Christmas.

Gifts were funny.  When we were little mom used to give Hilary, Katie and I $20 each and told us we could spend $5 on each person in the family.  We’d go to Wal-Mart and shop the place out.  haha.  Lots of times our gifts tend to have a gag behind them.  Such as my dad giving me this toy car in my stocking the year I turned 16.  He had a note with it saying that it was my new car.  One year my grandmother sent us all marshmallow guns.  That started a war that ended up on video.  haha. On Christmas morning we all take turns “being Santa”.  hahaha.

Food was a big deal too.  Baking and cooking Christmas goodies.  We always made (and still do) sugar cookies (both the thin, crispy ones and ones with icing), peanut butter balls (my specialty), coconut balls, party mix (another specialty of mine), sausage balls (my sister Katie’s specialty – she even put on a show once…), gingerbread cookies (Hil’s specialty – she’s done everything from pirates to Harry Potter to ninjas), orange balls (also a Hilary special), breakfast casserole (for breakfast on Christmas morning – AFTER presents are opened), and of course other little things including the little Hershey’s chocolates.

Ah Christmas.  You’re full of good times.  Lots of love.  Lots of laughs (and wow do we tend to pour the jokes on).  Lots to celebrate and be thankful for.  Jesus is the reason we celebrate the season.  That was something that was always put into my head when I was growing up.  I can’t comprehend separating what I see, do and hear during the season with the joyous news and love that Christ came to earth to save us and that’s a great gift.  Something about this time of year tends to make it so easy for us to remind ourselves of these things.  I love that being in the forefront of our minds as we do everything during this time of year.  If only people would continue to think that way beyond December.

This post has become a lot more random than I had planned.  Oh well.  Good memories.

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