Besides October and Halloween(-time?), Christmastime is my favorite time of the year. And, thankfully, we haven’t been hit with too much snow yet; we’ve just had light coatings lately, and are actually supposed to be getting a couple of inches today! So prepare yourselves, lads.
Winter is coming.
I’d say that it’s here already, because it’s already snowed, but technically winter isn’t actually here until Thursday. Plus, it wouldn’t have been as fun if I didn’t get to quote Game of Thrones. So whatever.
Anyway, Christmastime/December is pretty much an ideal time of year for me. Yeah, I’m that random person you meet every once in a while that genuinely prefers the colder months over sweating my buns off every August. I guess you can say that the cold never bothered me, anyway (another reference, look at me go). I love snuggling up in my blankets and watching Christmas movies, getting to spend time with the family, decorating the tree. This time of year is just so nice for a person like me.
And if you have a problem with this time of year, deal with it—the cold will always come back around, just like your precious summers. They might just get more severe, because global warming is a real thing, but I think you can deal with freezing, if I can live with sweating. Even though it is really freaking gross. But I digress.
Well, damn. I wanted to share my favorite things about this time of year, and I went completely off track. Go figure.
So let’s get this show on the road. Here are my top ten favorite things about Christmastime, in no particular order (as usual, because I’m indecisive, and couldn’t rate them, even if I tried).
You know, growing up, we didn’t have many Christmas traditions, but one thing that I always remembered from this time of year was Joanne and Mom wrapping gifts in the living room together, while either playing Christmas music or older Christmas movies. And then when I got older, and Joanne moved out, I took on the job as Mom’s Helper. And then when I moved to Oma’s house, I did all the wrapping myself. I enjoy that time. Also, it’s kind of therapeutic—like painting, or folding laundry.
I’ve always been a sucker for white Christmases. For me, there is something so magical about snow on the ground on the actual holiday—and it’s even more magical when it’s still snowing! I even remember my first white Christmas; walking through the snow, on the way to the car. I remember being awestruck, and how any Christmas afterwards that didn’t have any snow on the ground, didn’t seem as special.
I never get to see the extended parts of my family during the rest of the year, as much as I do during the holidays. And although it’s always crowded and gets insane and people get on each other’s nerves, I love that we still get together during the time of year that it means the most. It’s kind of like a reminder of what in our lives is most important: good people, good times, and good food.
Speaking of which, the food is always the best during this time of year. Sure, it’s the most fattening—but damn, it sure does taste good. You got somebody bringing pigs in a blanket to snack on, Mom’s mashed potatoes, Oma’s baked mac and cheese, pie and ice cream in the fridge and freezer…I’m all about it. This is the one time that nobody really focuses on their weight…until New Year’s Eve, of course.
Another tradition that I had always been around—because the way my family bonds best is through food—is the baking of cookies. Lots and lots of cookies. My mom used to make I don’t even know how many cookies for Santa, and then the immediate family, and then even more cookies to bring to my grandmothers’ houses. And my sisters and I would sneak some dough whenever she wasn’t looking. I loved that. And Oma would buy those premade Pillsbury cookies with the designs in them, we’d throw them in the oven, and have those together. Baking time was always a good time.
Let me just start by saying that my family doesn’t really get along very well, when it’s time to decorate the house—especially when it comes to the tree. I feel like most families that celebrate Christmas do this, but every year, we find a time that everyone can get together to put up the tree and decorate it. The thing is, some of us like things a certain way, while others go with the flow; no two people are ever on the same page. So when the tree comes out, there is always at least one kid with an attitude. But you know what? I still love that we put in the time to decorate the tree together. At least for me, that’s the whole point. It’s one of the things I look forward to most.
Taking Christmas Pictures
If I went through all my pictures and my mom’s pictures, I could find an annual Christmas photo for every single year of my life. And even though I used to be horrible when it came to getting pictures done (I used to do this thing with my mouth that Mom called my “cocky smile”—it was not cute, I’d smile with all of my teeth showing, like a crazy person), I like that I can go back, and find one for every year. I like the dressing up, the getting together, and getting a new piece of family history to keep. And, as I got older, I found it to be more fun and sentimental, than an obligation and favor for my parents.
You can’t tell me that you’ve never heard at least one Christmas song that you liked. Like come on now, how can you listen to holiday classics, and not at least nod your head? (New life rule: don’t trust anyone that hates holiday music.) I get it when people are annoyed when All I Want For Christmas Is You is on the radio before Thanksgiving Day, but once Black Friday comes around, I feel like you need to just accept life for what it is. Holiday music is bound to play at some point. And if you can’t enjoy it, deal with it…or change the damn channel…or sit in silence.
Going To Tree Lightings
This one year (I don’t remember when, but it was a while ago), Aunt Roxanne,Uncle Guido, Oma and I (and maybe my cousin, Andrew, if he was born by then) went to this huge tree lighting. I wish I knew where it was, and if they still have these lightings, because I will never forget that night. Ice skaters performed to traditional Christmas music, and I was so mesmerized by just that, all on its own. It was like seeing the Rockettes for the first time; it was so magical. And inside the building next to the rink, there was a Santa to take pictures with. And when the lighting was about to happen, they did a countdown, and then fireworks. It was a whole production. It was everything.
Driving Around, Looking At Houses
Last, but certainly not least, I’ve always loved when my parents would round us all up, get in the car, and just drive around the island, looking at lit up houses. Our favorite house (because yeah, we’d go back to it every year) was this one right off of Deer Park Avenue: it was completely decorated from one end of the yard to the other, from the ground to the roof, and in their trees. It’s truly an experience to remember. We’d also go to the Jones Beach Christmas Lighting Show (or whatever they called it), and drive through that. It was definitely something I looked forward to every year.
Prompt: What are some of your favorite things about Christmastime?