Thursday, December 9, 2010

Why We All Need Christmas

OH MY GOD, you guys. I'm back. And I'm EXCITED. Are you kidding me?? I get to come home from work and I don't have to go directly to bed? What IS this freedom?!?

But you know who is more excited than I am? Regina Phalange. When I came home she started running around the entire apartment and did a cow-jumped-over-the-moon jump over our queen bed. So yeah. I think she's happy.

As I ease my way back into the life of the blogosphere, I thought I'd share with you guys some thoughts reflecting where my mind is when it's not writing headlines: Christmas. Here's part 1.

I think everyone should celebrate Christmas. Hear me out; I promise not to go Bill O'Reilly on you. I think everyone should get behind Christmas, not because I think everyone should believe in Jesus, because the dude is not for everyone, but because Christmas makes cold weather SO MUCH BETTER. Sure, we all have to suffer in January. But why December? Why? December is cold and snowy and terrible. BUT. If Bing Crosby croons softly in your ear while you walk through that December weather? Not so terrible. Not so terrible at ALL, m'friends.

Lately I've been thinking especially about Christmas traditions; which ones have stuck around, which ones have changed, which ones I'm fine with losing. Especially since this is the second holiday go-around with Joe and I'm starting to realize that maybe I'll need to give a little, and do a few more of his Christmas things and a few less of my own.

I think my favorite Christmas tradition which I'd be sad to lose is Christmas Eve. In my mind, that's one of those traditions that's stayed true year after year. It seems that way, but if I really think about it, it's actually changed a TON.

When I was young, it was the one night a year that I was willing to get fancy. I had short hair for much of my childhood, and was convinced that I looked ridiculous in anything fancier than my dinosaur t-shirt. Plus! Dresses were itchy!

But on Christmas Eve, you endure anything. I mean, Santa's watching, people. Shove those feet into those Mary Janes, froof that lace collar and wait for someone to ask you if you're excited for Santa to come.

So we'd sit all politely and nicely at church, surrounded by people we'd never seen before but happy for the warm bodies, and at the end of the service everyone got a candle and lit it and we'd sing Silent Night. Well, everyone ELSE would sing Silent Night. My siblings and I were more concerned with keeping the wax from dripping onto our soft, defenseless hands.

Then, after the service, we'd all pile into the car (the one time that we all called dibs on the back seats so we could huddle for warmth) and our dad would drive us around town, looking at lights and stopping at the house of the professional ice sculptor who always made something mind-blowing.

Finally, we'd get home, put out the cookies and carrots, bounce off walls like Judy Miller, and burrow under our sheets, ready for the assured amazingness awaiting us the next morning.

But eventually it all evolves. The ice sculptor moved. Our hands became callous enough for the candles. And everything became a lot less about impressing Santa and a lot more about impressing Michael, the organist's son, who sings O Holy Night every year now (and hot damn DOES HE, might I add.)

I mean, things change. Christmas is 90% childhood memories, 10% butter and 1% a pain in the ass. I think we're all in general agreement on that. And even though the traditions we keep anymore might not be exactly as we did them as children, and even though being with Joe may mean that I need to reformat Christmas at times, somehow it's all still...nice. Right down to the lame stuff, like car commercials. Because even THEY have giant red bows and happy soundtracks, and even THEY make driving through the snow feel like some kind of wonder of December.

And whether you're Jewish, Christian, Muslim or indifferent, I think anyone should want to get behind turning December--horrible, thigh-freezing December--into a miracle.

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