What is your favorite holiday, and what do you love about it?
I’ve always loved Christmas, though the reasons have changed over the years. As a kid, there’s nothing better than waking up before the sun on Christmas morning and running out to the tree to see if Santa came after all. As a working adult, it’s still fun to relive that childhood glee of seeing the tree surrounded by presents, but the anticipation shifts to the reactions of your loved ones when they open the gifts you got them.
I’m the type of gift-giver that doesn’t particularly like shopping from a list, though I get the appeal, and use it more as a guideline. I like to get creative and thoughtful with my gifts. Some years that means getting crafty and hand-making something. Other times it’s the unexpected finds while out shopping in the wild that scream “Hey! Listen! Over here! I want to go to Sister’s house!” Or if I know someone else is gifting them an item that has accessories, I’ll go and get the accessories.
Of course, Christmas isn’t just about the gifts. The decorations are so lively and colorful and they brighten up the long, dark, winter nights. December gets so dark, so early in the northeast, and it’s only the beginning of winter. The cold, snowy days are coming, but at least for a time, we have the lights. I love hopping in the car and driving through different neighborhoods. The lit-up houses all look like they belong in a Kinkade painting.
And then there’s the food. So many cookies. So many potlucks. Those final two weeks of the year were made for eating. Everyone always jokes about Thanksgiving being the gluttonous holiday, but that’s just one day, and lots of people work off all that food by rampaging through stores on Black Friday hunting the best sales. Christmas feasting is really a multi-week affair that begins the week before Christmas with coworkers and goes all the way to New Year’s day. I know Christmas morning isn’t complete until those cinnamon buns come out of the oven and get drizzled with glaze.
Best of all, is the time spent with loved ones, especially those that you only see a couple times a year for one reason or another. Especially when you get older. It’s been almost a decade since I was last “home” for the holidays (by which I mean I was still living at home and not out on my own just yet). Now all my loved ones are 150-320 miles away, so I have to travel, and coordinate between my family and my in-laws. We do our best to alternate the holidays, but it’s tough to compromise, and it’s a lot of traveling for us every year. We just want everyone to be together. That’s what it’s really all about, for us.
Christmas is a wonderful time of year. I love all the food, and the pretty lights, and the general feeling of love for our neighbors near and far. Christmas brings people together in a way that no other holiday really does. The feeling of charity and comradery and general well-wishing fills me with hope. And in the darkest time of the year, that hope shines brightest of all.