Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I love the lights, the trees, the food, the traditions, and the spirit of the holiday. I made the decision the last couple of years to not decorate due to lack of time and four cats who know no boundaries, and I really miss it. The cats were restless last night, and I kept hearing things banging around in the kitchen so I finally investigated. One (or more) had gotten a side drawer open and found a small Christmas tree ornament and was batting it all over the tile floor. I hadn’t even realized it was in that drawer!
Even though there are trees up and the store is decorated at work (my office is at the Neiman Marcus flagship store in Dallas), there are lights up in the neighborhood, and Christmas music is on the radio, it just hadn’t been feeling like Christmas is next week. Until I got home last night and found that the annual Tin of Fudge and Cherry Mash had arrived. My sister-in-law makes THE best fudge. I ripped open the package, saw the gorgeous Christmas tin, took the lid off, and there it was. FUDGE. NOW it feels like the holidays have arrived.
I don’t remember a lot about the Christmases when I was really little, but I have pictures of the beautiful trees dripping with tinsel. I actually do remember one night coming home from midnight mass, and my parents told us to close our eyes as we passed the door to the den where the tree was. They didn’t know if Santa had been there yet, so we couldn’t peek. There was that anticipation, and hurrying off to bed so hewouldn’t pass over our house.
A few years, and a divorce later, and my mother, sister and I were living with my grandmother. She went all out on Christmas every year. I loved her trees and decorations. I’d spend hours in the living room with the tree all lit up, and the pretty white church glowing on the coffee table. Then Christmas day would finally arrive, and there would be all kinds of loot under the tree. My aunt, uncle, and cousin would be there. It was a tradition for us to each get a special Christmas dress, and a doll that had hair to match ours: blonde for me, red for my sister, and brunette for my cousin. I still remember one of those dresses: long, beige with tiny flowers, and a quilted skirt. I actually wore that for a play I was (forced to be) in at school – Babes in Toyland. I was Mother Goose, and I carried a blue stuffed goose and had to lead the parade to the stage. Anyone who knows me knows it was torture. I’m terribly shy, and it was even worse back in grade school!
The food on Christmas day was amazing. My great-grandparents were bakers – as in, they had owned a chain of bakeries in Detroit. So of course the food was excellent. My great-grandma was a phenomenal cook, and Grampa made the best cookies and pies. We’d all gather around the big dining room table and just stuff ourselves.
Fast forward to my adult years, and we would get together with my husband’s family on Christmas Eve, and my family on Christmas Day. My husband is one of seven siblings, so just the immediate family was a houseful. The noise, the wrapping paper strewn all over, the sideboards groaning with food, kids running amok…boy do I miss those nights now that we live in Texas.
Now it’s just my husband and me, and the cats, of course. I get my fill of Christmas with the decorations at work, the music on the radio, and Christmas movies on TV that I record and watch over and over again, even after the holidays are done.
I have a Christmas Romance that I’ve worked on the last few years, and I finally figured out what needs to happen, so I think that’s the next story I’ll write. I’m anxious to get Nick and Merry out in the world.
What about you? What’s your favorite part of the holiday? What traditions do you have?
Merry Christmas to each and every one of you!
P.S. - I still believe.