I am also a believer in the vigorous following of Christmas traditions. I listen to Christmas music early and consistently throughout the season. As I flipped through radio channels while driving to a conference in Salt Lake City, I heard the creamy voice of Bing Crosby singing "White Christmas" and settled happily on the station—mind you, it was only the first week of November.
When my family lived in PA, one of the radio stations had a daily "Best Christmas Ever" giveaway. One of the giveaways included a trip to Disneyland. When I was 16, I rushed home from seminary and listened to the radio with three cell phones and one home phone at hand, ready to call the moment the giveaway jingle sounded.... every single day. There was not a doubt in my mind that I would win. When my mom was a teenager, she always won radio giveaways and received popular records like Eddy Grant's, "Killer on the Rampage." Victory was in my blood.
I never won. I told my mom this story as we strolled around the Riverwoods shops. She laughed and asked, "Well, what does that make you?" My response, "Diligent? Determined? Persistent?" She said, "Nope. A loser."
This Christmas was really special. I have a brand new nephew! My sister, Kylie, had her first baby, a perfect little boy named Alex. Normally, I think newborns look squishy, grumpy, and alien-ish. Alex, on the other hand, is so cute. He is a really good baby, too—he just sleeps forever.
This Christmas, I was proud to present Theo with a pink grocery cart full of plastic food. My grocery cart was my absolute favorite present that I received when I was a little kid, so I felt impressed to break the gender norms and give the cart to Theo. But don't worry. My mom also bought him a noisy lawn mower, so I guess that evens things out a bit. We tried to find toys that would encourage Theo to walk more.
It has also been snowing a lot, which makes my dad happy. He was convinced that we would be drinking sand and dirt last summer because the drought was so intense. But we had a white Christmas, and it has been beautiful. For the most part, I enjoy the snow...as long as I don't have to drive or walk around in the slush that somehow manages to stain the rear of my pants, so it looks like I sat on a dirty snowball.