When I was younger, the 23rd of December was always Christmas Eve's Eve. It was an exciting day! The day before all the festivities began. It deserved it's own Eve. This year I will spend it cleaning house and braving the madness of the grocery store for a few last minute items. Christmas time is always a time of nostalgia for me. It's a time to remember Christmas' past and enjoy the present. I am always reminded of the Christmases I spent at my grandmother's house. We would go to the local Moravian church (my ancestors were Moravian) and eat hot buns and light bees wax candles and sing "morning star". The smell of bees wax always reminds me of Christmas. Then we would go back to Grandma's and open our pajamas and I would go to bed early and wake up early and run into my grandmother's living room and on her floral couch would be the most beautiful gifts. I specifically remember getting 3 tiny baby dolls in my stocking one year along with an entire set of barbie dolls that were going to Scotland (I assume as they all had scotty dogs on their shirt and they were wearing plaid and had suitcases) and a "little miss executive" set complete with briefcase. I got a Barbie doll every single year. One year I got a gorgeous Barbie doll house. That was one of my favorite presents. After my grandmother passed, we had a few Christmases just my mom and a sister or two. One year I got a basketball hoop and roller blades! That was an awesome Christmas. I spent the whole day outside. Another year I got an easy bake oven and spent the entire day in the kitchen and made EVERYTHING the easy bake came with (I guess we should have realized my baking obsession then). Later came the Christmases where all I wanted were clothes (although I did get a music stand and metronome one year too). As I got older I started choosing just one gift because I felt like I was too old for the whole "Christmas thing". Those were the years I got my black pea coat (that I still have!), a dooney and burke purse, and a digital camera. Once I got into college it was more about BEING home than anything for Christmas. I remember watching my mom cry as she opened a photo of my sister's and their families. At the time I didn't understand why a photo would make her so happy. I get it now mom. And I also get why you say you don't want anything for Christmas. The past few years we have been blessed to spend Christmas with our families with the exception of last year. And I would give ANYTHING to be home in California this Christmas. With all the hoopla and craziness that comes with the commercial side of Christmas (I won't pretend that we didn't do black friday shopping because we did) all I want this Christmas is to be with my mom and my sisters. It didn't really hit me that that's what I wanted until Saturday night. I had put Charlotte down for bed about an hour before and Devin had just turned off the lights for us to go to sleep. I started feeling extremely home sick and sad. I started to cry and I jumped out of bed and told Devin that I just HAD to call my mom RIGHT NOW. And that's what I did. I told her about Charlotte meeting Santa and how utterly ridiculous the mall was and how much I loved my new hair cut... and how much I missed her and all of our Christmas traditions that we used to do together. It just isn't in the cards this year for us to be with my family. But as the song says, "I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams." So California... I will see you in my dreams.
And of all the presents I have ever received, the gift of my family is the greatest one.
Especially the family I am creating with my husband.