Tuesday, October 25, 2011

*~*Ode to Holiday Joy*~*

Listen…do you hear that? …If you’re real quiet you can hear the click click click of the roller coaster just about to crest the top of the of the track before it goes speeding down into the rush of the ride that is the Holidays! Halloween is just around the corner and before we know it, that click click click will be the sound of Santa’s trusty brood clip clopping across the rooftop!
Many people look upon this time of the year as nothing but stress amid jam-packed schedules, but for me I relish it all! I am counting down the days to Christmas before we even hit February of the New Year. Yes, I admit I may be the exception to the rule when it comes to my love for the holidays. Christmas music is never out of rotation for me. It is almost disgusting how many Christmas CD’s I own (35 to be exact!). I listen to it all year round because it reminds me of the feelings of love and hope I feel at this time of the year. An instant mood lifterJ
It’s hard to ignore the way the winter chill seems to warm our souls. Once we hit Thanksgiving, the mood changes immediately. It’s as if someone has sprinkled magic into the cool, crisp air. Everyone’s hearts appear polished and shiny as we regard one another with a hopeful spirit. It makes me positively giddy just thinking of all the new memories I’ll be making with the people I love. (If you are not a lover of the Holidays, I recommend you just keep your distance because Christmas seems to radiate out of my being from now until New Years and there’s a strong chance I’ll make you want to punch me out of annoyance and I really prefer not to have a black eye in my Family Christmas Card photo).
Traditions new and old are always the top of my list. Thanksgiving Turkey with family members gathered round, counting our blessings. (A mean poker party to follow of course!)  Decorating the house (inside & out) with lights and garlands. Putting up and trimming the tree, adorned with home made ornaments from years past and creating new ones to hang beside them. (Caution: trimming the tree is not to be taken literally. Those Norelco hair trimmers don’t take too kindly to pine needles). We used to go to the tree farm every year but we had two years in a row where my husband’s back was out around this time of the year and let me tell you, sawing down a 6 foot blue spruce on your own is no easy task! (And neither is dragging it through the mud all the way to the car). So the second year this happened, we both agreed we would bite the bullet and purchase a ‘fake’ tree which we’ve used now every year since it saves us a few $$.
          I always look forward to spending an entire weekend with my Mom and my sister, (freckled with flour, stained with butter, dogs-a-barkin’) baking every favorite holiday treat we know of. Including, of course the sugar cookies that EVERYONE (much to their disgruntlement) has the esteemed honor of helping decorate. (Somehow we always end up with a few angels and gingerbread men that are disturbingly frosted anatomically correct…I will not name the person who usually happens to create these Michelangelo-esce masterpiece works of art that really deserve to be recognized).
          Excitement over the first snowfall, spiced cider and hot chocolate warming our bellies as we enjoy all of the Christmas Classics and some of my personal favorite Christmas Movies as well. (I am not ashamed to admit I am also an avid collector of Christmas Movies and have about 44 in my collection). Reading “Holly & Ivy”, “The Little Toy Soldier”, “Santa Mouse” and of course “The Night Before Christmas” snuggled up in front of the fire. The rich scents of cinnamon, apple, plum and many winter spices weaving their way through my home; their fragrances invitations of fond memories past.
          Braving the cold, and sometimes crazy, winter weather and the always crazy Christmas crowds to head to the mall and find that perfect gift for the people you love. (Whether it’s something practical or just plain knee-slapping-hilarious!) Wrapping the gifts with such excitement over imagining the receiver’s face when they open it with either a smile of happiness or laughter. And then the great anticipation electrifying the air on Christmas Eve, waiting for the jolly old man himself, (Santa Claus!), to make his grand appearance while we dream of the gifts we’ll find the next morning. My sister and I used to write an entire play every year, telling the history of some classic Christmas character or inventing a new one in a completely inappropriate and disturbing way. (Complete with at least a few re-written holiday numbers with lyric sheets for everyone for the sing-along that would follow) One year was a story about a bloated reindeer with a serious need for some bean-o who saved Christmas with a (literally), gas powered (and awful smelly!) sleigh. Another time we re-wrote the fun spirited “Here Comes Santa Claus” song that everyone knows into a rousing rendition of “Here Comes Menopause” that left everyone wondering how an 11 year old knew some of this stuff.

          I love every blessing and memory, all infused with love, that I have from this time of the year. And I know that God took notice of my heart for Christmas because he sent me the absolute greatest gift on Christmas Eve in 2009. My beautiful baby boy! It is beyond perfect that I, (the lover of ALL things Holiday related), would be blessed with my very own little Christmas angel! My joy and excitement for the Holidays has blossomed even more now that I have the gift of God’s love in my child to celebrate every day of the year and especially at this time of the year when we celebrate his birthday! Sharing traditions with my little one (and the other(s) to follow someday) and creating all of the same kinds of wonderful memories I have for the Holidays is what brings me the greatest joy. I can only pray they develop and share the passion I feel for spreading cheer. And that we will all be huddled in antsy-pants excitement at the front of the line whenever this roller coaster comes to town! 

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