The holidays are upon us! It might even be said I’m a little late to the game. I went to The Grove, an outdoor shopping center, in early October and with every step I thought – no, it can’t be. Yet sure enough, the whole place looked like what Joy to the World sounds like: obnoxious. I almost punched a reindeer in the face. It was plastic, calm down. And I’m not a grinch, I just like to celebrate occasions at the proper times. But Jesus has become that girl who has taken the term ‘birthday month’ to a whole new level. Wait your turn buddy. You’re upstaging your fellow holidays. I still have a Rockford Peach uniform to purchase and a turkey to cook without blowing up my kitchen. But alas, here we are. Gifts have been bought, flights have been scheduled, cards have been sent, and ingredients await their moment of glory. ‘Tis the season. Cheers.
The word holiday means a lot of different things for different people. Some people celebrate Hanukkah, some people celebrate Christmas, some people get mad about Starbucks cups and some people don’t partake at all. So please keep that in mind this season and be respectful of traditions that may be different than yours. In the same regard, don’t traipse around waiting to be offended. Trust me, it won’t take long. In the words of my friend Jen, “you should be able to say whatever you want and just be happy people are talking to you at all.” I second that notion. And while there is much talk of cheer, joy, and celebration, the holidays can also be difficult, extremely lonely, and reminiscent of those we’ve lost along the way.
Personally, I grew up celebrating Christmas. My upbringing was a little different than most. Santa Claus, the obese man who spends one night a year entering homes via the chimney (’cause that makes sense), not only brought our presents but our tree as well. Yes, you read that right. We went to bed Christmas Eve treeless and woke up the next morning to a lighted, ornamented, beautiful tree. This tradition explains two things: why my parents looked like they hadn’t gotten a wink of sleep and why I believed in Santa until I was 11 years old. #Fact I thought we were the coolest kids in the neighborhood.
I love giving people gifts. If I could get paid to give gifts to others for the rest of my life, I would. I love it. And if you live in America the odds are you live paycheck to paycheck, so keep in mind that sometimes the best gifts are made with a paper and a pen. I was asked to make a Christmas list this year and it didn’t take me long to figure out that most of the things on my list would be outside of Santa’s budget. I mean, they are out of MY budget. And of course, I have my mother’s taste, so of all the ottomans on the planet, I am obsessed with the most expensive one on the market. Thanks mom.
I wish I had asked for timeless things throughout the years but instead I wanted a baby troll that looked like Snow White, Gak, and CDs that would later be stolen from my car in college…even my sweet 16 mix. Rude. I know it doesn’t seem all that awesome when you’re a kid, but trust me when I say if someone gives you $, say thank you and go put it somewhere safe. Make sure when you ask for something you really want it. As I’m writing this I wonder if that’s why kids are so magical. They aren’t planning for the future or thinking about tomorrow-they are just living.
So happy holidays to you and yours whether you celebrate or not. For those of you missing loved ones this year, whether it be the first year or the 9th, my heart is with you. This time of year tends to magnify loss and while there may be an empty chair at the table, I hope you surround yourself with whatever it is you need to get through it because you certainly never get over it. For those of you alone, I wish you love. For those who find this time of year unbearable, I wish you peace. Find the joy in your life, embrace it and don’t ever let it go. It’s there, I promise. I wish all of you happiness, whatever color coffee cup your heart desires, endless laughter, and just a little bit of magic.