Let me just start by saying, I love Christmas. I'm not enamored with all the rushing about and shopping and generally being around lots of people, but oh how I love Christmas. I've been listening to Christmas music since October. I have a pile of movies that I watch every year (Elf, White Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, Little Women, etc.). I still send out real Christmas cards, the kind you actually sign, not the phoning-it-in photo cards. No offense to my friends who send the photo cards, but there is just something magical about putting pen to paper and signing cards that I have painstakingly picked from the voluminous selection of Christmas cards. I love the food of Christmas...fudge, red velvet, cookies, cakes, hot chocolate, ham, sweet potato casserole, etc. I love the Advent season services at church. The lighting of the Advent candle each Sunday thrills my heart. I didn't grow up in a church that celebrated Advent, but now this is one of my favorite parts of the season. I say every year that I'm going to have my own Advent candles at home, but alas, I always seem to forget until the season is upon us.
This year I have added something new to my Christmas traditions. I have a real Christmas tree. This is the first time in my almost 30 years of being alive to have a real Christmas tree. I grew up in a mobile home where the only source of heat was a wood burning stove. A stray spark from the stove could easily set a real tree to blaze, so my parents never risked having a real tree in the house. Oh, I had such romantic notions of going to a tree farm and picking out my very own tree to cut down, but time and circumstances put those notions to rest. Plus, Costco had trees for $30, so I grabbed one up and took it home. And, it turned out just perfect.
The second thing I added to my Christmas traditions was having someone I love to help decorate the tree. Yes, I was married for six years. And yes, every single year I decorated the tree alone. This year was different. This year I had someone by my side. Someone to help me string the lights. Someone to help hang the ornaments just so. Someone to take pictures as I swept up the fallen needles from the tree. Someone to wrap me in his arms and wish me a Merry Christmas as we stood back and marveled at our handiwork. Someone to say, on hey since you have that fake tree too, we should decorate it as well. Which we did of course, because why have one tree when you can have two.
I love Christmas. And this year, I have love at Christmas too.