Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry and Bright, Alright

You may have noticed by this point that I am the teeniest, tiniest bit excitable. I love a holiday, and/or any chance to celebrate. I'm a devotee of anything sparkly, shiny, or bedazzled, and I generally think that more is more. Go big or go home. I am wild about birthdays--and isn't that what Christmas is--the most fabulous birthday party of all? Add all of this up and you may have guessed how I feel about Christmas. Giddy, ecstatic, jubilant, merry, merry, merry!

Some of you have seen my collection of tacky Christmas sweaters, so you know that I dress the part. The current count on Christmas CDs is somewhere around ten, which was the magic number to prompt Clint's ban on buying any more. We spend as many nights in December as possible driving around looking at lights (the tackier the better), seasonal flavor lattes in hand. Shopping, wrapping, baking. Christmas cards, Christmas movies, Christmas ornaments from each new place we visited over the last year. In my humble opinion, it really is the most wonderful time of the year, and it always has evidenced by a few of my favorite memories from Christmases past.

For my 6th grade Anchor club holiday meeting, I rewrote the Twelve Days of Christmas and in my version, my true love gave to me: an MC Hammer CD. I think there may have also been mention of slap bracelets in place of the five golden rings. Instant classic. My parents must have been so proud of that compilation, performed in the Big A Elementary school cafeteria with musical accompaniment from the "property of 4-H club" boom box. I wonder why it never went top 40?

Growing up, one of our traditions was spending Christmas Eve at my grandparents' house, enjoying all kinds of homemade Christmas goodies and opening presents. My Mimi had a lovely centerpiece she always put on her table with gleaming red candles, setting the scene for our holiday family gathering. My cousins and I could not freaking wait for the adults to leave the room so that we could spend the remainder of our quality time together burning pieces of homemade Chex Mix in the candle flames. Ah, nothing says Christmas like the smell of pretzel sticks incinerating.

One year, I desperately wanted a trampoline from Santa. When I woke up Christmas morning, I found a note on our tree that read: "Susie, your main gift is outside." I jumped my little pajama-clad legs off all morning on my new present! Later, I asked my parents how they managed to hide the trampoline from me...and found out it had been out there for over a week. I think I was still enrolled in the gifted program at the time (probably a good thing I dropped out of that voluntarily). Let's hope my powers of observation have improved over the years. Wait, is there a trampoline behind me right now?

At my December wedding reception back in 2001, we decorated Christmas trees with ornaments for our guests to take home as favors. Knowing that I am a) a stickler for the rules and b) prone to having somewhat of a temper, two of my lifelong friends spied guests taking more than their one allotted ornament off the trees (think: arm loads). They approached the folks who were hoarding the ornaments and just warned them with, "Whoever you are, you obviously do not know the bride." Back away from the favors, folks.

Ah, 'tis the season for holiday traditions and memories abounding. I'll also never forget the year we got our Nintendo and met the Super Mario Brothers for the first time, or our family trip a few years ago to New York City for all the yuletide magic the Big Apple has to offer. So, take a big swig of your eggnog and let your mind wander to places fonder when you find yourself a bit smothered by the warm embrace of  kith and kin. Maybe watch Ralphie and family unwrap the leg lamp, find out what happens to an angel every time a bell rings, and get in on the Griswold's happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny Kaye. It's Christmas! Make it merry, y'all!

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