And the choir sang, "It's the most wonderful time of the year." Not sure if it's the mesmerizing lights, the fairy tale that Santa is stuffing himself down the chimney at a quarter past midnight to lay the gifts out in perfect formation or if it truly is the most magical and wondrous time of the year. Pretty safe to say it's all a matter of opinion. For children, they really don't have much of a choice. Falling into a hypnotic trance because what their parents say must be true. Leave the fresh baked cookies out for Santa and if you wake to try and sneak a peek at your presents you will find a lump of coal in your stocking. One of the hardest things for a child is going to sleep on Christmas Eve.
With an overabundance of Christmas movies flooding every channel, decorations in nearly every store you walk into and hints that you should get in the spirit, you do just that or make a failed attempt at pretending.
Having spent several holidays without my family and some not in a relationship, I know all too well how both sides of the fence looked. Constant questions asking what my plans for the holiday would be and the surrounding hoopla that I needed to do something to prove I was not a distant cousin of the Grinch. I had really great friends who would invite me over to share in the festivities with their families so the choice was mine. Stay home and feel a tad bit lonely, or get out of the house and allow the kindness of others to warm my spirit.
Here we go again, approaching the end of yet another year and wondering where the time went. Somewhere between the middle of September towards the end of October are hints that the holiday season is quickly approaching. Before the Halloween candy is cleared from the shelves, the Christmas decorations are up in their full glory. At this point, you either feel pressured, excited, slightly confused, or maybe even a little angry that Thanksgiving seems to consistently get the forgotten holiday treatment. Either way, get with the program and prepare for whatever floats your boat.
Every year I buy a few new decorations to add to my growing collection of sparkly adornments. If it makes me go ooh and ahh then I know I have found the one that will go home with me. Traditionally I like to get the process started of putting up my glorious 8 foot tall tree immediately after Halloween. Yes, I am well aware this might seem a tad bit premature, but remember that thing about whatever floats your boat? It takes about a week to get everything just right, the proper placement of each set of lights, 4 sets to be exact, the perfect symmetry of the ornaments to ensure I leave enough space for the beautiful bows and the shiny beads. If it seems like a lot, that's because it is. The only thing left to do is plug everything in and wait for the magic to unfold. If anything was a sight to see, this would be it!
Seems as though Christmas was just yesterday. Plans to travel home were made, prepping to spend hours in the kitchen cooking for family and friends and the only care in the world was to remember to get everyone a gift to put under the tree. The events of this past year have caused quite a shift in the atmosphere and proven to be a challenge for most. Learning new ways to entertain yourself, keeping your children occupied and thinking outside the box is essential if you want to re-introduce the feeling of normalcy back into your life.
If I had to describe this year there are a few choice descriptions but the most accurate would be likened to a 5000-piece puzzle with 1000 of those pieces missing. Seems quite hopeless right? You can't return it or exchange it for another because you got the very last one in stock, so then begins the challenge of dealing with it and attempting to make the best of a baffling situation.
It's that time of year! Santa and his elves have invaded every mall. Holiday parties have been planned, decorations have gone up, and budgets have been set. As Christmas approaches, preparations have been made to travel home, visit with family and friends, break out the holiday music, and simply get in the spirit. It's also the time of the year to gain a few extra pounds and blame it on your mom's famous lobster macaroni & cheese or your aunt's delicious and buttery pound cake. I just gained a few pounds thinking about it! Either way, it is indeed the most wonderful time of the year.
New relationships are also pretty amazing during the holiday. You have someone to help you trim the tree with, sip on a little spiced eggnog, and take those super cute first Christmas pictures together. However, if it is your first major holiday, Christmas is by far the most stressful for new relationships. Expectations are natural, but it doesn't mean they are fair, you might have to adjust accordingly.
AJ is a creative writer and storyteller writing from her home in Indiana.
"This is how you do it; you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it's done. It's that easy, and that hard." -Neil Gaiman