It’s really hard to dislike Christmas when you’re a child. For me, it was all about getting a fresh Christmas tree, putting ornaments on it while the Disney Christmas sing-along laser disc (Yup, laser disc) was running, decorating the house with lights and admiring the ways strangers decorated theirs, writing to Santa Claus and leaving him milk and cookies, feeling my prettiest in a holiday dress, getting together with family, and most of all, lots and lots of presents! It also marked the halfway point to the end of the school year. Getting the things you want, celebrating with candy in class before winter break, and the only time of the year you’d see pretty lights and a fat jolly bearded man at the mall plus sing and listen to Christmas music…How could anything else ever compare?
It’s sad to say many years later that some of this magic has been lost for me. These days, my family and I don’t decorate the house or even put up a Christmas tree (We do have a fake one that’s somewhere in a box in our garage). Getting into holiday music year-round seems to be a cool thing now, but I could really care less about it. Don’t forget that it never snows in San Francisco! And let’s face it: shopping for gifts for people can be expensive, and it feels like a chore. I know it’s the time of the year to give and think about others and not yourself. It’s all good. I’m totally down with it. But when Christmas shopping becomes a yearly thing on your To-Do List and you freak out about it until it actually gets done, then it’s a chore! I still haven’t done mine yet and I’m freaking out not just about whether or not I’ll break the bank, but about whether my family and close friends would actually like the gifts I get them.
Oops, I swear I’m not Mr. Scrooge! Now that I’m somewhat grown up, I’ve learned to appreciate the holidays in new ways. I love seeing how illuminated and lively downtown San Francisco is when I get out of work. I LOVE being able to sip salted caramel and peppermint mochas from Starbucks! And the thing I love the most is writing and sending out holiday cards. It’s important for me to tell people how special they are to me and to wish them well for the year ahead, because I don’t fare well in saying those things in person, or because maybe they’re too far away from me to tell them those things anyway. Like every other aspect in my life, I pour my heart out in writing. I never expect anything in return, but being on the receiving end is good too. In fact, I think nowadays I would rather get a nice little card (Even without a personalized message) from people than actual presents on Christmas.
Of course, spending time with my loved ones during the holidays is timeless and will never lose its magic.