“It just doesn’t feel like Christmas this year!” I’ve found myself saying this for the last few years. There is something about Christmas that gives feeling and emotion, whether that is excitement for presents or for spending time with family or having time off from work or school or nostalgia for old times.
This is the first December in years that it has felt like Christmas. Last year my family and I didn’t give each other any presents and went on a cruise. It was a fabulous trip and we had a great time, but there’s something wrong about listening to a comedian and visiting a casino on Christmas Eve. It just wasn’t the same. The year before that was my first Christmas out of college, so it felt short since I didn’t get a three week winter break. It also was our first Christmas not in our 22-year old home, and we were penniless as my parents were intensely paying off debt so it didn’t feel like Christmas at all.
This December, however, I finally have the Christmas Spirit. It started at Thanksgiving, which was traditional and like old times with 20-some family members filling up my parents’ home. My sister, J and I even braved the crowds on Black Friday. The weekend after Thanksgiving, I went with J’s family to Asheville to finally meet his aunt, uncle and cousins. We visited the Grove Park Inn, which was gorgeously decorated for the holidays. It has been unusually cold for North Carolina and even snowed a few days! J’s family took us all to see A Christmas Carol in downtown Raleigh and it was so fun to get dressed up and watch a classic play I used to see when I was a child.
When I think of where I was two years ago–in a brand new relationship with J, struggling to get my bills paid in an expensive new city, traveling hours to see my family for just a few days–I am so overwhelmingly thankful I am in a place where I am so close to the ones I love.
What about you? Do you have the Christmas Spirit this year? What are you thankful for this holiday season?