Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's Beginning to Look (and sound!) a lot Like Christmas!

I don’t know if y’all have heard the forecast for the Lansing area tonight and tomorrow and for several days after, but we are in for some storms! 

I love snow. It’s pretty and fluffy and makes all of the trees that have lost their leaves beautiful again. And it means Christmas is coming! (*EDIT* We now have about 4")

I enjoy the Christmas season so much. I have wonderful fond memories of the Holiday season from my childhood and I have more that I have made since I moved out of my parents’ house.

Everyone is always just so happy and cheerful during the Holiday season. All smiles and glitter! I know that many people feel pressured to be happy around the holidays, but I do not. I am just so damn happy around the holidays! I am almost giddy with joy. I always hope that I infect as many people with my smiles and laughter around this time as I can, without being pushy. Sure, I have my ups and downs during the weeks around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but on the whole, I bounce back pretty easily because it’s Christmas.

There are many reasons I love this season, some of them new, some of them old, and some of them are now just awesome memories of a wonderful season.

One tradition growing up was that the house did not get decorated for Christmas in anyway until the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Ever. And I loved that. I still love that. Now that I have a household of my own, I still wait until after Thanksgiving to decorate. Of course, I decorate on Friday instead of Saturday, because I am not patient in any sense of the word, but I wait. I also wait until after Thanksgiving to start listening to Christmas music.  I tried listening to Christmas music early one year and it just felt weird. Waiting heightens the anticipation and excitement.  The joy, the wonder!  I think that goes for not just the music, but the decorations as well. So, for my Black Friday shopping I braved the crowds on Amazon to download 100 Christmas songs for $5. It was pretty harrowing – whew!

Another tradition/fond memory that I have from my childhood that I love to look back on, is the annual indoor hide and seek game.  Every year, whatever leftover decorations from decorating the tree we had, lights, garland, etc., us kids would get to put in our rooms to bring a little Christmas cheer to our rooms too.  After we hung all the decorations and put our snow globes out, we would wait for darkness to fall.  Then, after dinner, my brothers and I would play Christmas Light Hide and Seek.  Basically, it’s hide and seek in our house, upstairs, with the door to the upstairs closed and only the strands of lights in our rooms to see by.  And the night light in the bathroom, but that doesn’t count.

We had so much fun playing that game. It was a great time for all.  Sometimes we would play more than once a year, if we had friends over or something. With only the three of us, it wasn’t too much of a challenge and with extra people it got a little more complicated. I remember one time I hid in the bathtub, which isn’t a fantastic hiding spot, but I took a white sheet with me and stretched it out taught so that it would just look like the bottom of the tub if you didn’t look too closely.  It worked. I loved it!  

Another time, when my youngest brother was three or four, he hid between the sink and the bathtub in the shower curtains and we couldn’t find him for a half hour! We even went downstairs to check if he had hidden down there, even though it was an unwritten rule that downstairs was off-limits. (The stairs were fair game, but not a very good hiding spot!) Little stinker. And one of the times that I remember having a friend of Matthew’s over, he folded himself up and tucked himself under the table by the phone!

Good times, good times…..

When I was growing up we would always go to the decoration Sunday at the church I grew up in.  When I was younger, I would hang with the kids while we did Christmas-y crafts in the Fellowship Hall and the adults would decorate the sanctuary and the annex.  As I got into middle and high school I would kind of split my time between the two. I really enjoyed both activities, and fortunately, I kind of got to have my cake and eat it too. [Side note: I’ve never really understood where that phrase comes from. I obviously know what it means and how to use it, but it’s still weird.]

I also love going to Christmas Eve Services. The place is packed to the rafters and everyone is excited to see you, especially if you’re home from college for the holiday! And when the lights in the sanctuary are turned off and all you see are candles held aloft with the glow of the Advent candles and the Christmas tree behind the organ, it’s just magical while we sing ‘Silent Night’ a capella as a congregation.  

Another tradition that has been modified since Adam and I have gotten married is watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” after the Christmas Eve Service. I got it on DVD so it’s pretty portable and last year Adam and I watched it on my laptop, I think. We were at his parents’ last year for Christmas morning.

Wow, I just looked over this post and it is massively long! Hm. I guess I will wrap it up and continue tomorrow with more!

What are some of your favorite pre-Christmas traditions? Why do you love (or hate) the holiday season?

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