Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Time to give my spirit a kick in the pants!

This Christmas is sneaking up on me and I'm wholly unprepared. Not only that, I'm just not really feeling the holiday spirit. Usually by now I'm itching to decorate the house & start watching Christmas movies. This is also about the time I start scouting the craigslist wanted section for people who need things that I can give them. With the exception of my 2 day ornamentapalooza, I'm feeling pretty apathetic about the impending holiday. I'm not really big on buying a lot of gifts, but I can almost always work myself into a happy little tizzy by making gifts for people, or even planning out the gifts I want to make. I just don't have it in me this year.

However, I want to change this. So in an effort to remind myself why I love this time of year, I'm going to write about some of my favorite Christmas memories. I'm hoping that as I start dredging up some of this stuff, it will bring back that feeling I usually get right after Thanksgiving. That sense of impending joy. And if you feel so inclined, whether I know you personally or not, please comment & share some of your favorite memories. It can be a collective kick in the pants!

One of my fondest Christmas memories takes me back all the way to 1989. It was our last Christmas with Grandma Wilson. I don't write or talk about her much b/c I was just shy of 10 years old when she passed away and my memory has faded a lot in my semi-old age. But the Christmas of '89 is still fresh in my head. That was the year Grandma Wilson made me a matching bed set & jammies for my baby doll. They were sheets, a pillow, a quilt, and a nightgown made of the most 70s-licious orange & yellow flowers you ever did see. But I loved them!! All that is left of that set is the quilt, but every time I see my daughter w/ it, I have to smile. Here is a picture of me enjoying one of Grandma Wilson's amazingly awesome popcorn balls that day.
(You can totally see the bed set sitting next to me!) This photo always reminds me that even when things aren't ideal, we all experience moments of sheer contentment that just can't be matched. We all knew that would be our last holiday with Grandma Wilson, but we didn't let that stop us from enjoying the day. The food, the popcorn balls, the gifts...everything was perfect.

Flash forward a few more years to 2006. That was mine & my hubby's first Christmas together. Our friend & roommate at the time, Devon, helped us decorate the tree. Instead of the typical Christmas tunes, we hung ornaments to the intoxicating sounds of Men Without Hats' "Safety Dance". That was a year of new traditions. It was the first holiday in 10 years that wasn't marred by douchebaggery or ridiculousness ala my ex husband, so it was all very fresh & exciting. That was the first year that Justin, Trin, and I decorated a gingerbread house together.
That was the year Justin started the tradition of reading 'Twas The Night Before Christmas to Trin on Christmas Eve. Justin went nutso buying gifts for Trinity, despite my constant protests. But how could I not love the fact that he was doing it all b/c it was his first year as a Dad & something he had waited his whole life for. We lived in a crappy little apartment with 2 other grown men, so space wasn't something we had a lot of. We had to maneuver carefully around the tree when walking through the livingroom and the stockings were hung on the wall with tacks. As ghetto as that sounds, it was wonderful! That was also the first year I recall having a whole heap of presents with my name on them. I unwrapped them with childlike fervor, oohing & ahhing over them all. Later that night after Trin was snug in bed, I sat on the couch in sweatpants reading the new book I had gotten as a gift. From just over the top of the book, I saw Justin walk in the room then stop right in front of me. Not knowing what the heck he had up his sleeve, I sat my book down to see him kneeling in front of me with a ring.

The following Christmas was also a memorable one. At the ripe old age of 27, I finally spent my very first Christmas with my Dad. Growing up, I celebrated every holiday with my Mom & her family. Then we moved out to Arkansas & when I moved back to Oregon as an adult, my Dad had moved 2 hours away from our hometown. But in 2007 the stars aligned & my Dad had his first Christmas w/ all 3 of his kids under one roof. We were only able to stay one night, but it was so much fun sitting around talking, getting a little tipsy, and swapping gifts. My Dad made an appointment for us to get portraits done to mark the occasion, as well.
It's a possibility that my sister, brother, and Dad will all be in town this coming Christmas. If this miracle does occur, I intend to kidnap them all & get more portraits done. And this time I will try not to look so awful. :)

I know there are many more memories that I'm not recalling at the moment, but I don't have time to really delve into them much. I guess my hope is that when I re-read this post, it will fill me with the warm fuzzies this time of year usually invokes. I understand a lot of people's frustration w/ the mass consumerism and emphasis on material things that has become the average American Christmas tradition. I also respect religious or personal reasons for not celebrating Christmas. But for me, this time of year is about togetherness and random acts of kindness. It's about delicious treats, egg nog, and the smell of a freshly cut pine tree. All of these things make me so ridiculously gleeful!! Which is why I'm trying so desperately to recapture that. I don't want the cynical outsiders to dull me. I don't want lack of finances to be a factor in my level of good cheer. I want to be moved by the spirit of Christmas like I have so many years before. If my own good memories won't do it, maybe some of yours will. So please, share. Maybe we can inspire each other.


  1. I think of how EXCITED I would be every christmas morning when I was little. I still get excited now, but I remember how thrilled I would be when I was 6, 7, 8. I was very concerned with opening my stocking FIRST and how that was THE RIGHT way to do things. (I still think that, but realize being a nazi is not cheerful).

  2. Yeah, there's no room for nazi's in Christmas. *lol*

    I can relate to the excitement. It was SO HARD going to sleep the night before!! And if you were anything like me, you'd wake up way too damn early & just HAVE to get crackin' on the presents right away. My general rule of thumb is as long as it's after midnight, it's technically Christmas. So if my kiddo wakes me up at 3am, she wins the sleep vs. presents war & we start tearing into those bad boys!

    That brings back some good memories. Thanks for sharing! :)



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