the grinch is gone: on christmas, and what it means to me

back in november, i wrote about being a grinch – but the dirty truth of it is, once december hits, i load my phone up with christmas music and fake-direct orchestras in christmas tunes on my drive to work. in the past week or so, the christmas bug bit me, hard. i got a four-foot tall (fake) tree, hung glitter-laden ornaments all over it, put up lights, got pinecone-shaped candles, found a cheap and adorable snowglobe, and found hot cocoa mix to put into $2 mugs that say “cheers” on them.

bam. christmas, y’all. granted, i have barely begun my christmas shopping. whoops.

but while the chintzy and ridiculous trappings of christmas may be fun, the reason i love the season is more warm and fuzzy. i love the idea of bringing light into the darkest days of the year, and hold fond memories of stringing lights up all over my house as a kid (lights that stayed up for months on end). buying a tree was a big deal. we got a live tree one december and planted it at the edge of the patio – that thing got HUGE, and i loved that our christmas tree never really left. my parents kept every awkward crafted ornament from my childhood – the hooker angel being my favorite (toilet paper tube decked out in festive construction paper, aluminum foil wings, and bright red paper lips). i have aaron neville’s christmas album memorized (thanks, mom!).

christmas has a sentiment i love, and that reminds me of my dad’s explanation of santa on the Worst Day Ever (5th grade, if you want to know). he told me that santa is the spirit of christmas – the man himself may not exist in the flesh, but he exists because people take the time to think about the people they love, and give gifts from the heart, and tell each other how much they matter. talking to two of my students about christmas this week, they told me that they wrote their letters already, that santa called them (props to those parents, that is awesome. santa called me once and it was The Best Ever), and that they were really excited about what he might bring them this year. those kids made my day.

at any rate. not everyone celebrates the holiday, but it is one of my favorite simply because it is all about light and joy when the days are short, the nights fall fast, and the weather is miserable. those of you who sent me your addresses, i’ll be dropping sparkly, sparkly cards in the mail soon. but in the post office near my work, as the DC post office is…less than reliable.