Sunday, November 19, 2017

"Christmas Time is (Basically) Hereeeee."

My parents have heard me say countless times, "No one loves Christmas more than I do." It's true. For me, the Christmas season starts on November 1st. Thanksgiving and Christmas are squished together into one, happy, delightful season. I know most of the words to every classic Christmas song. Mom and I practice a new Christmas duet. I drive around outdoor shopping complexes just to see their Christmas lights. Each year, I'm more and more convinced that our Christmas tree will be featured in Good Housekeeping (it never is). And I'm practically nonstop happy because everyone seems happier, more compassionate, more generous, and more hopeful.

I think Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen bring in the Christmas spirit beautifully. 
But really, Christmas is so wonderful because my family is wonderful. When my siblings and I were kids, we picked out a tree on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The tree smelled amazing. We fought over who would sit in the trunk to guard the tree that was shoved in the back. We always decorated the tree together, too. Mom and Dad have a tradition to buy a new ornament whenever they travel somewhere new, so we don't have any of the ornament sets that you buy at the store. When Brigham helped us with the tree, he always put the ornaments with pictures of him in the front of the tree, while ornaments with pictures of everyone else were placed in the back.

When Kylie and I were little, we would prop up the tree skirt with chopsticks to make a stable for our  play nativity figures. We would always hide the baby Jesus in the tree and see who could find it the fastest (sorry, Jesus).

Mom made sugar cookies each year, and we used cookie cutters and icing to decorate them. On Christmas Eve, we always read the nativity story in Luke. We dressed up as each person in the story, and we used a stuffed animal as Jesus (sorry again, Jesus). I was always Mary... with a bowl cut. Afterwards, we were allowed to open one present, which was usually a family game or PJs. And then we would pile into the car and look at the best Christmas lights in rich neighborhoods.

We all believed in Santa, but I can't remember when we stopped. Kristin, Kylie, and I used to share a room together. I remember on one Christmas Eve, we couldn't sleep because we were so excited for morning. Kristin suddenly bolted upright and exclaimed, "Bekki, do you hear that? Do you hear reindeer hooves on the roof?" On Christmas morning, we always wondered why Santa had the same wrapping paper as we did. Mom said, "Oh, he's so busy. He left the presents for me to wrap." Sometimes, we left cookies for Santa, and I even left a letter. I was so excited to read a note from Santa in the morning, but I saw that it was in my dad's handwriting. My dad said that Santa had a hand deformity, and he dictated a message for him to write. And I believed him. (I don't blame you if you're thinking that I wasn't a very bright child).

Mom and Dad tried their best to give us a special Christmas. We always waited on the stairs together, and Brigham got away with inching down the stairs the most. We could always expect to find clementines and colored pencils in our stockings. Whenever we watch the home videos, Mom and Dad always smile at how excited we got about coloring books, Boxcar Children books, and plastic grocery carts (my favorite present ever).

It's a little sad how different things are now. Everyone is gone. Kylie has a family in Georgia, Kristin has a family in Arizona, Brigham is serving a mission, and I'm....well...obviously I haven't moved on. I decorated the tree and the house by myself, I look at Christmas lights by myself, and I listen to  Christmas music by myself. On Christmas day, it will just be me, Mom, and Dad.  I have so many perfect memories of Christmas that it makes me wish that we were all kids again. And then I think, "Man... I need to get a move on with my life!" I'm trying. Seriously.

But one day, this is the Christmas that I want to give to my little ones, and I'm grateful that my mom and dad did everything to make it special for us. I'm even okay with the fact that Dad severely handicapped Santa.

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