Christmas is more than just a holiday. It’s a holiday spirit. From the first day of December everyone gets in the spirit and as I get older I understand that it’s not about gifts and Santa Claus. It’s about establishing traditions and seeing family and friends and appreciating what we have together.
Still, there are the little things that I love to enjoy. The 25 Days Of Christmas airs on television with all of the classics: Elf, Polar Express, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Radio station B101 plays the same 15 Christmas songs every day, but everyone loves them anyway. Lights and wreathes are put up on houses all over Havertown, and everyone is in a jolly mood. Walking around the neighborhood is fun with all of the lights and the pretty decorations.
My family has its own traditions, some of them fun and some of them not as fun. The first thing we do to begin the Christmas Season is get our tree. This year, we ventured far into the forest of the Manoa Shopping Center to hunt through the many rows of pines to find our perfect tree. That lasted about 15 minutes before Olly, our dog, started barking at everything that moved and Mom picked out the right tree and we tied it to the top of the car and then laughed all the way home.
It’s a group effort after that to clear out the space to put the tree and then to actually bring it in the house, stand it upright just perfectly and then decorate as B101 plays “Here Comes Santa Claus” for the 12th time that day.
We always meet family for my Nana’s birthday at Houlihan’s near the Plymouth Meeting Mall and it’s one of my favorite nights of the year as my Mom’s side of the family gets together for dinner and all of the kids catch up for the night.
On Christmas Eve, we go to church and sing the traditional songs and then go to a party at our friend’s house before coming home to watch It’s A Wonderful Life, or at least part of it. I’ve only seen the movie a couple of times, but it is a message we all know well: It isn’t what you have in your life, it’s who you have. I love that movie.
On Christmas morning my brother and I wake up, open presents, and hang out downstairs with the fire in the fireplace (my dad insists). We have breakfast together and then we all go to my Nana and Pop-Pop’s house to celebrate again. We’ve been doing it every year for as long as I can remember with the exception of one year when we all went to Dallas to spend Christmas there. My dad had to work in Dallas on that Christmas, so we went there for a few days and toured the city (I met my first Elvis impersonator), saw A Christmas Carol in the theatre and had an artificial tree that fit on top of a table. It was fun, because I was with my family, and in the end that’s all that really mattered to me.
Then of course, there’s winter break. Sleeping in, snowball fights (please snow!!!), hot chocolate, and going to school and seeing your friends and classmates again are all part of the holidays and the experience. The holidays are more important than just presents. It’s a feeling of comfort, and safety and satisfaction and relaxation and love for the family and friends. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.