Dec 2, 2008

Where are you, Christmas?

by Danielle Jacobs

Candy canes, cookies, lights, snow, hours of selfless shopping — some people don’t even want to think about Christmas until the eve of, but for me, it just can’t come soon enough. I, for one, am a sucker for adding to the economic rush of another venture for corporate America.

Some would be traumatized to learn that I have already begun to play Christmas music. Not to mention the minor detail that it has been ongoing since October. Three weeks ago, I broke out my red and green plaid pajama pants I keep hidden until the time is right.

By mid-November, my desk had already been adorned with small striped peppermint indulgences whose name will not be mentioned on account of offending those turkey lovers whose holiday has just been observed. Who am I to overlook the holiday that celebrates the founding of our country? Maybe I am just a little overzealous to celebrate the holiday that marks the birth of our Savior. Call me strange, but I find that far more exciting.

However, to my own dismay, I have not yet begun shopping for presents. I have a vague plan of what I would like to get for each of my friends and family members, which I can execute now that Thanksgiving has past and the sales have hit. I always keep shopping for after Turkey Day because I have fallen into the mindset that others have impressed upon me of having something to look forward to. If I get it all accomplished before Thanksgiving, the few weeks in between make waiting for Christmas that much harder.

Traditional Christmas in my house does not exist only on Dec. 25. It begins on Christmas Eve when my parents and brother, and now his wife and son, gather in my parents’ home for a lavish meal of ham, macaroni and cheese, rolls, broccoli and sweet tea. Then comes the Christmas Eve service at church, which is so warm and full of life.

We then head over to my aunt and uncle’s house for a party, which involves more eating and a sportsman-like game of “steal the presents.” My aunt has a very sick sense of humor. This game involves numbers, names, random tacky gifts and lots of hard feelings.

Each person draws a number, which corresponds to the turn they take to choose a present. Subsequent players either get

to pick a new gift or steal from the person who chose before them. A total of three steals occurs before you are stuck with whatever you have at the time. This makes for a lot of laughs and a lot of things to put in the spring yard sale.

Upon returning home, I head straight to bed, knowing full well that I won’t sleep any better than I did when I was six years old because of anticipation.

When Christmas morning finally arrives, I head downstairs to find evidence of Santa having been in my living room. Yes, he does exist. Who else would eat three cookies and write a note that in no way resembles my dad’s handwriting? Stockings are opened, pancakes are made and gifts are unwrapped in a very orderly manner. When the afternoon hours roll around and we finally get out of our pajamas to go visit close family. But it’s not over yet. The best part about having family all over the country is that Christmas lasts for weeks after the New Year.

The closeness of family tradition and the spirit that surrounds the time between Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day is what makes Christmas such a dear friend to me. It is the kind of friend that can never overstay its welcome, and I never want to see forgotten.

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