I have always, and I do mean always, loved Halloween most. There’s something about a day where we get to dress up, fancy, frilly, frightening, whatever and enjoy a day with our friends and family eating scary treats and parading the streets with flashlights and glow sticks.
Every year I revel in Halloween and every moment leading up to it, and having a child has only made that all the more magical for me. Some things never change, my love for Halloween is one of them.
Some things do change though. For me, Christmas is a thing in flux. As a child I wasn’t fond of Christmas. Sure there were lots of presents and big meals, but what I recall most tangibly is the stress and the rushing and the hurrying about. Also, the over cooked meat at one grandparents’ house and the mushy Velveeta covered veggies at the other grandparents’ house. As a kid we would wake up Christmas morning and just as soon as we rushed through opening presents we would be shoved into clothes and out the door, into the car to drive to see one side of the family. We’d rush through that and then head to see the other side of the family and then just as we settled in there it was in the car and out the door to head home. Once we got home there was no time to snuggle with a new stuffed animal or play with a new toy. I don’t think I even had a chance to try on all my new clothes and parade around in front of the mirror. That may not seem important to you, but there was this one year my mom made me the MOST awesome lavender corduroy outfit and all I wanted to do was stare at it in the mirror.
But I had no time.
As a teenager we were too far away from our extended family to go through the hustle and bustle but I was all dark and moody and pissed off. All I wanted to do was shut myself in my room to right death laden poetry and dream of the perfect shade of red black lipstick and really tall boots.
As a young adult away from home I tried to love Christmas, but I couldn’t make it what I wanted. I tried once to have the perfect Christmas with my brother, the first time we were both away from our mom and dad on Christmas day. He didn’t have the same vision, he just wanted to go see a movie. That wasn’t his fault… but it sure did sting.
Then the year before I met Mike I had the perfect Christmas with my friend Martin. It was Christmas eve actually and I’ve written about it before so I’ll spare you the details in this post, but something about its perfect imperfection turned me around. I started to love the winter holiday season.
The next Christmas I spent nestled in the arms of the man I loved and would later marry and have a child with. Not all of our Christmases have been perfect. The holidays can be a stressful time… but in the last few years I’ve found myself humming Christmas Carols, rushing to put up our tree and reveling in reading the huge stack of Christmas story books we’ve collected to K each night before bed.
As I was trying to put together our plans for Christmas day this year (which include taking K to visit her Aunt and Uncle at work and hopefully revisiting the site of my first great Christmas as an adult) I can’t shake the feeling that I love Christmas.
I’m not religious and I’m not particularly fond of wearing itchy sweaters. I think our nation’s priorities are out of control as far as spending goes and I can not stomach the thought of black Friday shopping. Those are not the things I love about Christmas. What I do love is waking up early in the morning that one day of the year and seeing the wonder in my daughter’s eyes, spending the day as a family, eating something fun and festive (in our house it can be anything from gumbo to rouladen) and making sure that the people I love most know they’re loved.
So help me, I love Christmas, but still not quite as much as I love Halloween.
Now if I got to dress up like a slutty Christmas zombie, it might just tie for first place.