My Favorite Christmas Traditions

My Favorite Christmas Traditions

Christmas is only 43 days away. It's never too early.

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In my family, there are a lot of traditions that we have done around Christmas time since I was little. These are my favorites.

The Holiday Festival of Lights

Each year in James Island, South Carolina, the county park hosts the Holiday Festival of Lights. It's timeless fun for all ages. There are sections of light shows that you can drive through, sections you can walk through, and sections that you can take the train through (and buy glasses that change the colors and shapes of the lights. Yes, I am a child still. I love these). You can take pictures with Santa, purchase custom Christmas ornaments, visit the sand sculpture competition, watch the dancing trees, take on the climbing wall, see the giant greeting cards, roast marshmallows, watch different local groups perform, and interact with lights displays - the fun options are endless.

Making Reindeer Food

Growing up, my sister and I would make food for Santa's reindeer and sprinkle it in the front yard. It literally just consisted of dry oatmeal and glitter (so Santa would see our house from his sleigh, duh).

The big Christmas lights reveal

Each year, my dad spends countless hours decorating our house with lights and wreaths and other decorations. Once he is done decorating, my mom, sister, and I stand across the street while my dad plugs in the lights for the first time and gives us a big, bright reveal. He's a very good decorator, too. Thanks, Dad.

Christmas Eve dinner

Growing up, my grandparents always wanted us to go out to dinner as a family before Christmas Eve church service. Naturally, the only place open was a Chinese restaurant...so it became our regular spot for Christmas Eve dinner.

Midnight Christmas Eve service

Every year on Christmas Eve, my family attends our church's midnight service. As the service comes to a close, right at 12, they dim the lights and we all light candles and sing Joy to the World in the dark sanctuary. It's a very beautiful and festive sight.

Reading 'Twas The Night Before Christmas

Every Christmas Eve, after the midnight service, my dad sits us all in front of the Christmas tree and reads us 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. This is hands down my favorite family tradition.

Decorating the baby tree

In our house, my mom has one big fancy tree that she gets to decorate with the pretty, presentable ornaments and decorations from the store. Then, on the other side of the house, my little sister and I get to decorate a tiny tree with all of the crazy, handmade ornaments that we have collected over the years. We've practically completely weighed the tree down by now.

Christmas morning

Every night before Christmas, my parents barricade the end of the hallway leading to the living room with all of the chairs from our dining room. My sister and I STILL aren't allowed to go out in the living room without my parents first. We love to go in their bedroom and wake them up early like we're still 4 and 8 (I'm sure they appreciate that very much). Then, they go out into the living room and get their video cameras ready and let my sister and I come out for a big Christmas morning reveal. The presents never disappoint, either.

PAJAMAS!!

My other very favorite Christmas tradition...in our family, no one is allowed to leave the house or wear anything but pajamas. If you're spending the holiday with us, you better show up in your PJs (not kidding, my aunt spent Christmas with us a few years ago and my mom told her she wouldn't be able to come in if she wasn't in her pajamas). It's the laziest (and best) Merrithew holiday ever.

Christmas is the best holiday season of the whole year...you can't change my mind. I'm counting down the days!

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For My Friend Who Made Me Feel Like A Burden When My Mental Health Was Deteriorating

And to a hypocritical ex-friend.

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Dear Jessie,

I really thought you were my best friend in high school.

We spent a lot of time together at school and outside of school, getting into deep conversations and bonding. We'd go shopping on the weekends or chill at your house and paint and watch "Friends".

But apparently, I was wrong about you.

You cut me off as a friend freshmen year of college for no reason.

You judged me based on someone else's opinion, decision, and experience. And I wasn't even in the wrong. Adam was my boyfriend before Sierra's, and she was dating someone else anyway.

Apparently, you also spoke badly about me behind my back and had the audacity to say that I talked badly about you behind your back, when I didn't. I think the only bad thing I said was that your little sister was annoying, which you also said yourself.

I never talked badly about your religious beliefs, and whoever you heard that from was wrong. And I'm 95% sure it was Jacquie who told you or started that rumor. Come on, she tried to break you and Sierra's friendship, and everyone's friendships, because she was a petty, jealous brat and you know that!

Honestly, I think all of this was just an excuse to get rid of me and our friendship. And I think you especially did this because my mental health wasn't so great. I was depressed a lot and you treated me and my condition like a burden.

Which wasn't fair; you had depression and anxiety and I was always there for you. Never once did I treat you like a burden.

You made me out to be the bad guy Jessie. You refused to admit your own mistakes, and instead falsely pointed the finger at me.

And for that, I will never forgive you.

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