Saturday, November 24, 2012

Countdown To Christmas

31 Days Til Christmas Eve

Time to Get Merry!

If you haven't realized yet the Christmas season is my absolute favorite time of the year. I am not sure what it is about Christmas that gets me so excited and merry. I will admit I am sucker for the festive Christmas lights and decorations. The holiday music makes me smile and warms my heart. As soon as Starbucks releases its holiday cups my heart begins to race a little bit. Once the cheesy Christmas commercials start playing a get filled with a feeling of warmth. And of course the anticipation of receiving gifts is exciting. (The shopaholic in me can't help but love the idea of receiving clothes and gifts cards that feed into my clothing and accessory obsession.) I'll admit that I get just as giddy on Christmas morning as an adult as I did as a child when I was waiting to see all the toys that Santa left for me underneath the tree. But I think the true reason that Christmas brings me so much joy is because of all of my happy childhood memories that are associated with it. We always celebrate the holiday at my Aunt's house because my Jewish father never permitted us to have a Christmas tree, or lights, or anything associated with the holiday. But I almost liked it better that way. My Aunt's house was and still is the hub for Christmas festivities, holiday gatherings, and family traditions. As a child we celebrated Christmas all month long and it started with the tradition of picking out our Christmas trees. We always have a boys tree and a girls tree (one for my brother and one for me) and there is always an argument over whose tree got the prime location of the family room and who got stuck with the living room. We could never remember whose tree was where the year before so every year there was a debate over who got the family room last year. As a young girl I always wanted the biggest tree on the lot (regardless of the fact that it was 5 feet taller than the house's ceilings) and it wasn't until recently that I learned that my Aunt and Uncle were only pretending to let me get that tree and in reality had picked a different more appropriate tree without my knowing. We painstakingly decorated the trees- girls decorating their own tree and boys decorating theirs- and we received "special ornaments" every year. The were unique ornaments that my Aunt and Uncle gave to me, my brother, and my older handicapped cousin that were specifically picked just for us and were exceptionally different than the traditional filler ornaments used to decorate the rest of the tree. Now that so many years have passed we have accumulated such a huge number of "special ornaments" that there is no need for filler ornaments any longer and we barely have enough room on the tree to fit all of the "special ornaments."
Christmas Eve day was spent in the my Aunt's kitchen helping her bake pies and prepare for our Christmas Eve dinner. We always spent the night at my Aunt's house and awoke Christmas morning to pile of gifts so high that we could barely get into the family room. (Santa was always very generous because my brother and I were of course at the top of his nice list.) Christmas day was spent investigating and putting together new toys, relaxing in our PJ's, preparing yet another feast, and enjoying each other's company. My childhood Christmases are some of the best memories I have and they have clearly stuck with me. I think that this is the true reason why the Christmas season brings me so much excitement and happiness. 
It pays to be on the nice list !

"There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and morning more fragrant than ever again."

- Elizabeth Lawrence

Perhaps I love Christmas because it allows me a brief amount of time to return to the glorious days of my childhood. A time when a new baby doll was a treasure, when I considered apple pie a meal, when I wasn't too self-conscious to belt out Christmas carols, when my Aunt was the queen of Christmas, when Santa ate the cookies and milk I left, when joining my Aunt and Uncle for Midnight Mass was an adventure, and when Christmas was magical. Christmas is still magical for me and I believe it always will be. It connects me to the happiness I felt in the past and helps to alleviate or dull any of my current pains or concerns.
As soon as Thanksgiving passes I know that this magical holiday is right around the corner and my favorite time of year has arrived. Because of my love for Christmas I have decided to start my countdown now! It is officially 31 days til Christmas Eve which means that it is time for us to start celebrating, feel the positive energy, and begin to get merry! 

"I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month."

- Harlan Miller

While we don't have the ability to put this Christmas spirit in a jar and store it for later we do have the ability to get in the spirit as early as we please and make it last as long as we choose. I am choosing to feel the spirit now and am hoping that it will last until after New Years Day! Get yourself in the mood and feel the Christmas spirit. Feel the joy, excitement, love, energy, generosity, and merriness now! How do you get yourself in the mood? While I do have a few suggestions to share you with you, remember that you know yourself best, you know what it takes for you to feel the spirit and get merry!

  • Listen to Christmas music. Create a Christmas playlist and/or turn on your favorite Christmas CD and play it while you are going about your day. There are even some radio stations that are playing only Christmas music from now until Christmas Day!
  • Decorate. Put up lights and Christmas paraphernalia in and around your house! It's impossible not to smile and feel a bit of cheer when you are greeted by festive Christmas decorations.
  • Be kind and generous. Feel the positive energy of Christmas by sharing it with those around you. Being nice to others- holding the door for a stranger, greeting the cashier at Starbucks, smiling at people on the street- will not only make you feel good but will help spread the kindness and cheer.
  • Start your Christmas shopping early. It seems that Christmas comes earlier and earlier every year. Sometimes it feels as if it's not really here even when it's only a few days away. Start your Christmas shopping earlier to convince yourself that Christmas is truly on its way. Plus, it's fun to go toy shopping and nothing is more fulfilling than knowing that the gift you're buying is going to bring a huge smile to a child's face!
  • Begin sending Christmas cards. Everyone enjoys receiving a personal holiday greeting from a friend. Resort to snail mail and buy some pretty holiday cards (I've had mine stored away for a few months now.) Make a list of who you want to send cards to and start writing. (Add some fun stickers if you want in order to add a little something special!) It will get you in the holiday mood and those receiving your cards will be both surprised as well as happy to hear from you!
  • Start your own Christmas Countdown. Make a special calendar to countdown to Christmas and mark off every day that passes. If you have kids it could be fun to put it on your fridge and let them put a sticker on each day that goes by! As you see it gradually getting closer your joy and excitement is sure to grow.

Try some of these tips and see if it helps you get in the Christmas mood! This is the time of year when snow is welcome, children's smiles are contagious, families come together, and love and joy abounds. It's never too early to get merry so lets start the countdown to Christmas! Join me in celebrating the upcoming holiday- it's the most wonderful time of the year!

Don't hesitate, it is time to get merry,

31 Days Til Christmas Eve, 32 Days Til Christmas

Christmas is on it's way !
It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year, Andy Williams