Allow me to preface this post with this: Christmas is not my thing. It never has been. Even as a child I preferred Halloween. I won’t go on a rant here. However, I will say that I feel uncomfortable with a holiday that was supposed to have religious significance but ended up being about retailers making huge profits and children getting more gifts than they will ever need or play with in one life time. However, I have made my peace with this day. Several years ago I finally accepted that Christmas was what it was and I would have to participate in order to be a part of my family whom I adore. I decided to look for and enjoy the things that I like about the holiday. I ignore the rest, knowing that it will pass.
I used to get really depressed right after Thanksgiving. I would get depressed because I have not ever been in financial situation that allows me to afford more than one or two gifts for the children in my family. However, that changed when I discovered The Green Valley Book Fair. This book fair opens several times throughout the year and offers a wide selection of children’s books for anywhere from 50-75% off retail. That was the beginning of wonderful tradition. I am now the aunt who gives books. In the beginning I gave them books I thought would be of interest to them. I gave them books I loved when I was their age. These days nieces and nephew usually give me lists of books they want. My oldest niece and my nephew love to read fantasy and science fiction. Yes, I believe I influenced their taste. My nephew is two grade levels ahead of his class in reading. I cannot take credit for his intelligence. However, I do hope that maybe I influenced him in some small way.
We celebrate Christmas at my brother and sister in-law’s house. They have each family member bring some food to share. I love to cook. I make whatever it is they ask me to bring from scratch. Doing so gives me a reason to spend some quality time in the kitchen. It is also a great way for me to do something special for my family that I would not take the time to do otherwise.
I do not like a lot of Christmas movies. However, A Christmas Story is hands down my favorite Christmas movie of all time. I love the innocent time that the movie takes place in. It never fails to crack me up when Ralphie and Randy visit Santa or when Ralphie comes down stairs in the pink bunny suit his aunt Clara has sent him. I always try to catch it on TV on Christmas Eve. Last night, my darling John watched it with me. He had not ever seen it before! We now have a new tradition.
At this moment, I am waiting for the rolls I have made for our family feast to raise one final time before I bake them. My Mom is slicing her amazing country ham while classic Loretta Lynn blasts throughout the house. She and I are both singing along. Today, I am looking forward to seeing my family. I feel only gratitude. This is what I like. I have left the rest.