For you to fully appreciate this post, you need to play this song while you read. That will get you in the same mood I'm in while writing it. :)
Here we are, two days before Christmas (for us; three for everyone at home.) Drew is at work. Rooney is laying on the couch next to me. The Christmas lights and tree are lit. Evergreen candles burning. Asparagus Quiche baking in the oven. Yorkshire Pudding batter chilling in the fridge. Gingerbread men and cinnamon rolls waiting to be made. Christmas music playing (a little too loudly) as the background music for my day. With all of this going on, I had to take a moment to chill out and deal with this overwhelming sense of homesickness. My mind is so full of Christmas memories and flashbacks. My soul is ACHING to be home with my family and loved ones during this holiday season.
Drew and I are incredibly blessed to have grown up in families that celebrate the holidays together with traditions, love, laughter, and God. So many of our Christmas memories revolve around tradition.
For me, Christmas starts right after Thanksgiving. (Another holiday that is full of tradition and love.) As a family, we pick out a Christmas tree (well, it's a fake one now; much to my dismay.) and decorate it all together. Every year we argue about where the tree should be placed in the living room. I usually win the argument and the tree goes in the middle of the windows. It's a big deal to decorate the tree. We all help and it is such a happy evening filled with love and the first Christmas music of the year. After the tree is up, it is acceptable to play Christmas music any time of day, any day of the week until December 26th. Our red and green flood lights go up in the yard and the icicle lights are hung on the porch. The wreaths go up on the windows, the tree on the dock, the kid's tree in the family room. The house is so much warmer and more inviting. It constantly smells like good food and Christmas tree. I can picture walking into the front door of my house, hearing Harry Connick Jr. ruining "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year", smelling the tree, and seeing my mom in the kitchen baking something delicious. (Well that or taking a nap on the couch, but whatever.)
This is Christmas, though. All of these sounds, sights, and smells.
Christmas is my mom, my aunt, and our friend Dianne, baking Christmas cookies for an entire day. Me helping for about an hour and then getting sick of it, but not sick of stealing some of the goodies! And then days later grabbing handfuls of bun bars, turtles, and peanut brittle from the fridge in the back room. Oh, and I can't forget about Dianne's white chocolate covered pretzels with sprinkles! I'm getting fat just thinking about all of these Christmas treats!
Christmas is walking through Von Maur and hearing the Christmas music on the piano and seeing all of the beautiful decorations. It's also walking through Glenbook mall and wanting to punch everyone for being in your way! ;) Also hearing the little kids screaming when their parents put them on Santa's lap.
Christmas is sneaking into my parents' closet to see just HOW MANY presents my mom has purchased, even though she says she's "cutting back this year." (That never happens.)
Christmas is trying to be the first one awake every morning so you can put the piece on the advent calendar.
Christmas is trying over and over to think of a gift to get my family members, and ALWAYS failing miserably.
Christmas is the day before Christmas Eve when my mom makes quiche, cinnamon rolls, and prepares the prime rib for the next evening.
Christmas is waking up on Christmas Eve and being SO excited that tomorrow is Christmas! It's spending all day in lazy clothes. It's getting all made up and dressed to get ready for midnight mass. It's Dianne coming over and everyone snacking on delicious cheese and crackers until dinner is ready.
Christmas is coming downstairs to the white table cloth, cloth napkins, china, crystal, and silver on the table. It's watching my dad cut the prime rib. It's searching for the most well done piece of meat so I don't make him mad by putting my meat in the microwave!! It's fighting for those last few pieces of Yorkshire pudding! It's rushing to make sure you look perfect for mass.
Christmas is me texting Kati Wright to make sure midnight mass is ACTUALLY at midnight and not 11pm like my mom always thinks.
Christmas is the cold car ride into town, in dresses and heels, and running into church before we freeze.
Christmas is hugging every member of the Wright family and not wanting to say goodnight!
Christmas is coming home, opening our Christmas Eve jammies.
Christmas is putting out cookies and milk for Santa before bed. (Don't forget carrots for Rudolph!)
Christmas (used to be) Isabel, Liam and me sleeping in Liam's room. Me on the floor in front of the door so Liam can't go downstairs to see if Santa has come yet. It (used to be) Liam waking up every hour of the night and asking if we can open presents yet. It (used to be) waking up at 6 in the morning and waking our parents up. We had to wait for coffee to brew and for my dad to get the video camera ready, though!
Christmas now is everyone sleeping in their own beds and waking up AFTER our parents. We still run downstairs to see what Santa put under the tree after we went to sleep!
Christmas is sitting in jammies on the living room floor and reading the note Santa left, reminding us of the real reason we celebrate this holiday. It's laughing and opening our stockings. It's getting pomegranates and POM juice. It's taking turns, one at a time, opening a gift and throwing the paper and boxes in a pile by the door.
Christmas is "knock knock!" and Dianne coming over to join us. It's sitting at the table, saying Happy Birthday, Jesus and eating homemade cinnamon rolls, quiche, pomegranates, and mimosas.
Christmas is trying on all of our new clothes and parading around the house. It's trying to find a home for all of our new things. It's getting ready for lunch at a relative's house. It's choosing which new clothes to wear that day.
Christmas is spending time with those that you love the most.
Christmas is the constant reminder of Christ and his birth. That none of this would be possible without His love.
I am so blessed to have all of these amazing Christmas memories and traditions. It's been a struggle for both me and Drew spending our first Christmas away from ALL of our family. We are doing our best to keep traditions alive, mix traditions together, and make new Christmas traditions to share with our future children. I can only hope that I give my children Christmas memories as wonderful as the ones my parents have given me.
Christmas is tradition. It's love. It's family. It's Jesus.
It's the most wonderful time of the year.
And, I guess that's Christmas to me.