December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

I can't believe Christmas is only an hour away. December always flies by, but this year it felt like the fastest one yet. It seems universal, like some alternate theory of relativity, that time speeds up as we grow older. Where Christmas couldn't get here soon enough when we were children, now there never seems to be enough time to get it all done.

As a kid, there wasn't much to do other than wait for gifts to arrive magically, but of course as an adult, you have a hand in making that magic happen. Though I am busier with work this year, the season rushing by has less to do with lack of time, and more about fewer markers on the path to the big day.

There are a thousand little parts of the season that add up to the whole. An afternoon spent picking out, or even cutting down the perfect tree. Listening to Christmas music while you decorate it with all the ornaments that bring back memories of places and faces in your life. Stringing up lights on the house, and hooking them up to a timer so you come home each night to a house aglow. Pulling out your favorite Christmas movies, films you seen dozens of times, but that still pluck at your heartstrings each time. Mulling some wine, baking cookies, or making and breaking a gingerbread house. Carving out a spare moment to meet a friend for coffee, or just give them a call to let them know you are thinking about them.

Tomorrow will be wonderful. The morning will be spent at my parent's home with my brother, and of course the traditional coffee cake for breakfast. In the evening, we will head to my cousin's for dinner with my ever-expanding extended family. Thirty or so people I dearly love, most of whom I haven't seen since last Christmas.

As wonderful as the day will be, it stills feels like I let the season slip by almost unnoticed this year. The anticipation of the day is part of the joy, like a child wondering all month what will appear under the tree Christmas morning. This year, without all those small traditions leading up to the big day, it feels like Christmas arrived more like a surprise party.

The magic of Christmas doesn't just happen like it did when we were kids. More than gifts, those hundred little traditions bring even more texture and joy to the holiday, turning an already beautiful day into a wonderful season. I dropped the ball this year, and truth be told, for the last few. I hope you all were able to make time for whatever traditions make this holiday special, and that you are blessed with friends and family to share it with tomorrow.

Merry Christmas.

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