Christmas | 31 Days of Growing Up

With the countdown to Thanksgiving every year comes the anticipation of, just two months away, Christmas!

And, though Thanksgiving has always been my favorite, there is something just so exciting about the holiday season, and something extra special about Christmas. I love looking forward to Christmas. I love turning on the radio and listening to the Christmas songs, singing carols in church, seeing manger scenes set up, driving around in the evening to look at the twinkly lights (and laugh at the silly blow up snowmen). I love the first snow, watching the snowflakes drift through the air and melt on the warm ground, until it's cold enough they actually accumulate and everything is covered in white. I love the festivities and the fun...

Growing up I think every kid looks forward to Christmas, mostly for the presents. But we always had a lot of other things we enjoyed, too. The weekend after Thanksgiving we put up our Christmas tree. Many years we went out and cut down our own tree, but even later when we would buy it pre-cut, it was always a real tree. Dad would haul it into the living room, leaving a trail of pine needles on the floor, and we would bring up the boxes from the basement. First we wrapped the tree with lights. Then we found our bins of Christmas ornaments (mom and dad bought each of us a unique ornament every year) and carefully hung them on the branches. Mom wrapped garland up the staircase railings and we helped put out the holiday decor. In a few weeks it was finally winter break, and we settled in for the welcomed, cozy respite: we baked Christmas cookies and made my grandma's fudge and Gizzies, we had hot cocoa after coming in from playing in the snow outside, and we sat around in the living room in the glow of the Christmas tree, listening to the radio and working on puzzles. On Christmas Eve, we sometimes went to church, but we always went to bed and tried to fall asleep as fast as we could. Christmas morning dawned still and hopeful. We jumped out of bed and ran downstairs in our pajamas. Stockings hung along the staircase, and colorful presents waited under the tree, which we investigated until mom and dad woke up. For the rest of the day there was a flurry of wrapping paper and tissue paper and hugs and thank yous and monkey bread and oranges and games and Charlie Brown Christmas and Luke 2 and good news of great joy!

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