It's Christmas week! Are you ready? I think I am finally ready for Christmas. Logistically I've been ready for about a week. But the whole 'spirit of Christmas' had been eluding me no matter how many hot chocolates I guzzled, how many christmas gifts I wrapped, how many cookie scented candles I burned, and no matter how many times I tried to watch Elf.
I could easily fall on the side of a Christmas cynic, generally speaking. I get the cynicism for Christmas. There are many valid reasons for one to be grim about the holidays. But. I don't fall on that side of the fence. I love Christmas. One I have kids. Christmas for kids is magical. A month of watching the same movies repeatedly, and rather bemoaning from parents, actual excitement because they watched Rudolph when they were little too. Buying presents, looking at lights, making and eating more cookies than a kid normally gets in a year, tying bows, spending time together as a family, getting out of school for two weeks, visiting Santa, believing in reindeer, waiting for the big day. These are all things I loved about Christmas and I just want to wave my mom wand around and sprinkle magical snow dust on everything around them. But this year, like I said, it wasn't happening. I was waving half-heartedly and while doing so, instead of counting down the days to Christmas, I was counting the days until it was over. So not me.
So this weekend I decided to just give it my all. I boxed up the fake tree and found a lot that had one scraggly little tree left, had it tied on my car and made the switch (turned out it was my fake trees doppelganger. no one even noticed. but the pine scent continues to fill the air nonetheless). I watched Home Alone 1 and 2, The Family Stone, Planes, Trains and Automobiles. I wrapped presents and choked down soynog. I filled out Christmas cards and bought another cookie scented candle. I spent an hour fighting with some clips of cedar to decorate my mantle just so. It was coming together but, still, my brain was thinking only a week now (until it's over!).
Saturday morning my neighbor Jack stopped by, we got to talking and the subject of Christmas came up of course, and we both agreed that it just felt a little less Christmassy this year. So he said, "You know what we need to do? We need to go look at lights and I know just the house to go see." So later that evening we piled into his truck and he started heading to the neighborhood where I grew up. He was telling me about this house and it started to sound more and more familiar. When we got there I realized it was the same house my grandfather always took me to when I was a little girl. The house and property is covered in lights. Top to bottom and side to side. They build window scenes in the living room windows with circling trains, animatronic dolls that nod and bears that pop out of tree stumps. For years I've wondered if this place still existed, wished I would have asked my grandfather about it (what's the address!), even questioned if I remembered it right at all. Was it real? Was it as amazing as my memory led me to believe? However, now that this memory was nearing 30 years old since I'd last been there, I figured while the memory likely did exist, the lights and dolls and trains and bears probably didn't anymore. But it did. It does. And it was just as magical. Maybe even more so because when I came home it definitely felt a little bit more like Christmas.