Tis The Season: Then And Now

Tis The Season: Then And Now

Cue Mariah Carey....

It's that time of year again. Where even if it doesn't snow the second November 1st rolls around, we break out the red and green, blue and gold, and blast Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas". Have you ever noticed how much happier people seem to be? All the little things that typically annoy us like spilling our coffee on our new white shirt or the dog waking us up at 6 a.m. don’t for the time being. It’s incredible how every town seems to do a 180 for two months out of the year. And as I look around I see the change more clearly. Maybe it’s because I’m not as naïve as I once was when I was little or maybe it’s because I am finally getting into touch with reality.

In my house, the second the leaves turn color my mom is counting down the days until Christmas movies appear on Hallmark. You know you’re an addict when you’ve seen them all ten times over (guilty). There is something about knowing that even when things go wrong they always turn out alright in those movies. Christmas miracles seem real and provide a sense of hope and a few clichés.

My perspective on the most festive time of year differs from the majority. I wasn’t raised with a tree by my fireplace. I grew up knowing the truth about Santa. The colors red and green made me feel more separate from my friends than usual. However, I didn’t let that stop me. I decorated my friends’ trees because they “always did it” and thought it to be boring. I reveled in the decorations and the ornaments. My mom never lit candles, so walking into one of my friend’s houses and smelling pumpkin spice or cinnamon was comforting.

Although I never celebrated Christmas in my house, I know all the songs. I’ve learned all the traditions. I adore Rudolf and the Grinch. The only difference between me and them was that I get presents over the span of eight days not one.

Do I think it’s a bit much to put out the wreaths and snow globes before Halloween is over? Yes. But if that means that the world is happy and at peace, even if it’s for a little while, then so be it.

The beauty of this time of year lies within the lit of cities, the white snowfall, and ugly sweaters. There’s a glow that blankets the world. The same one that occurs after sex. You’re just more relaxed and connected than you were before. Your content and living in bliss until morning comes.

You might be agreeing with me, you may not. But you cannot deny the tingly feeling that sends chills down your spine when you hear the introduction to “All I Want For Christmas."

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Putting Away Christmas

It sometimes feels like the end, but it's not.

It's probably the worst time of the year for those of us who love Christmastime. At least in the days immediately following December 25th, it's still socially acceptable to listen to your favorite Christmas carols, keep your Christmas lights plugged in, and enjoy your tree and decorations.

But, sometime after New Years, the day inevitably comes when the celebration of the Christmas season must give way to the next one. Whether you throw your tree out promptly on January 1st, wait for the official changing of the Christian liturgical season at Epiphany (January 6th), or just take everything down when you have time, there's a definite sadness that accompanies the un-decorating process.

First, there's the sheer amount of work involved in taking everything down and packing it away for next year. It takes time and effort to locate every tiny ornament hidden in the boughs of your Christmas tree, tenderly wrap each fragile figurine in a Nativity set, and untangle the many strands of lights that illuminated your yard all December. We spend hours putting everything away, not to mention vacuuming tree needles and glitter off of the rug.

Once everything is safely stored in the basement or garage, of course, it's guaranteed that we'll find one last decoration that we completely forgot about, meaning that we have to somehow make space for it in one of the already-overstuffed boxes of ornaments and tinsel and lights. It can all be pretty overwhelming.

Christmas teardown is also a reminder of just how much stuff we accumulate, and just how little of it we really need or care about. Now is probably a good time to get rid of some of it so that we'll have less to store, put up, and take down next year, but often in our mourning for the ending of the Christmas season, we find it difficult to part with almost anything. We make mental pacts with ourselves not to buy any more decorations next year, but then immediately break our resolutions when we see the cute little nutcracker ornaments on a great sale a week after Christmas, or when all the new decor begins to appear in stores the following October.

And of course, there's the essential fact that putting away Christmas decorations means the ending of one of the most beautiful, festive, and happy times of the entire year. The decorations in the stores and around town gradually disappear, the number of family gatherings and parties on our calendars begins to dwindle, school and work resume as vacations end. Everyone and everything just seems a bit less jolly as the bleak wintry weather of January sets in.

But even in the face of a long winter devoid of Christmas cheer, there's still hope. There's hope for exciting holidays ahead, like sweet, romantic Valentine's Day or joyous Easter Sunday. There's hope for changes in weather, like potential snowfall and the eventual coming of spring, when the earth will finally come back to life in flowers and birds and trees and EVERYTHING. And for those who celebrate the coming of Christ at Christmas, there's the promise that Immanuel, the presence of God With Us, doesn't go away even when we've put away our manger scenes and stopped listening to O Holy Night.

Before we know it, Christmas will be just around the corner once again, and we'll get to enjoy our favorite holiday traditions and celebrations sooner than we think. Even though lovers of Christmas will never not struggle when Christmastime comes to an end, we can take comfort in the fact that the cycle of the seasons continues, bringing so many other things to enjoy until Christmas comes again.

Cover Image Credit: Olivia Corso

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The 7 Stages Of Preparing For Christmas As Told By Buddy the Elf

I'm in a store and I'm singing!

Ahhh Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year. Sometimes preparing for Christmas can actually be the most enjoyable part of the holiday season, and no one knows Christmas like Buddy the Elf!

1. Waking up on December 1st and going into full Christmas prep mode.

2. Eating massive amounts of food.

3. Making Christmas plans with your friends.

4. Doing some festive holiday shopping.

5. Getting everyone around you pumped for the big day.

6. Responding to all the 12 year olds out there saying that "Santa isn't real".

7. When you wake up on December 26th and realize there are only 364 days left until Christmas!

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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