It’s been weird to grow up and to realize that “Christmas” is one of those ephemeral things that exists in memory and imagination. There are very few material goods that could make me feel happy; as you grow older, you learn to live for people and experiences. I miss being a kid; I miss when all I knew was elementary school, coloring sheets, and circling the toys I wanted in Target magazines. I was always the one to wake my siblings up at the late late hour of 9 or 10 PM so we sould peek around the banister to see a cascade of wrapped boxes, foil ribbons and wrapping paper reflecing the light of the christmas tree.
Of course, as I write this, I know how those presents ACTUALLY got there- I even participated as I got older andmy parents got more and more tired. But I choose to forget that reality becasue life is jsut better if you can choose to let that kid believe in Santa just a little bit longer.
I live in a house of adults (or people and people who want to act like adults), and the holidays are a chore. No one seems incredibly interested in keeping up appearances for the sake of the kids’ innocent outlooks on life. I don’t feel myself sharing the same sentiment.
I notice my siblings watching holiday baking shows on TV, and I seek out christmas music on the radio. When the rest of my family isn’t here to zap me back into the reality of the current moment, I can slip away into being thrilled about the pending magic of christmas lights, trees, carols, and cookies. My one regret is that there doesn’t seem to be anyone else for whom escapism and rememberance of the innocence of youth is the best way to spend the holidays. Instead, my mother is stressed about what to get for my father, who wants nothing. My youngest sibling is well beyond believing in Santa. My father expects his children to do the heavy lifting, and hasn’t put an ornament on the tree in years.
I’m more than open to a change in tradition- an unorthodoxly colored tree, “Christmas” lights that have been up since Halloween, and maybe even a Christmas tree that becomes a Valentine’s tree, an Easter tree, a St. Patrick’s tree, a Fourth of July tree… I’m more than excited to break my childhood memories open like a pinata and re-experience driving around the neighborhood to look at neighbor’s christmas lights, only this time, I’m old enough to drive. I love the thought of trying new things while the world is completely upside down (by the way, they DO make upside down Christmas trees!)
My one regret is that I will not be able to spend this December with the person I saw myself being free enough to live life with. Christmas is suffering at my house- or at least the childhood magic I remember has run its course. But sharing those yearly traditions of watching our unique blend of traditional and completely stupid Christmas movies, wearing Christmas-themed pajamas, and slurping on candy canes? The thought of glancing over at your face to see if you’re happy as we do those things seems just as good as being a kid at Christmas again.