Christmas is my favorite time of year. Most times, it's cold and snowy (Though, not this year) and there's a distinct change in the atmosphere and the attitudes of the people you meet. Each year, with December 1st, comes the joy and excitement of getting ready for Christmas Day.
First, of course, you trim the tree.
In our family, this is done the day after Thanksgiving, and it's one of my favorite experiences. It's one of the times of the year when we can just turn on the Christmas music, pull out the tree, make some hot chocolate, and get started. We go from Nat King Cole to Bing Crosby, Michael Buble and Kellie Pickler, and I sneak in some Trans-Siberian Orchestra for dramatic fun.
At the end of the night we lounge around the tree and pop in Rudolph and start the season off with a bang. The movies can sometimes be the best parts of the season-- when you're watching beloved films with those you hold close, it can be a powerful experience. We watch movies all around the Christmas spectrum, whether it's Jack Frost, Elf, the Ultimate Gift, or my personal favorite, Rudolph: The Movie.
Then comes the hubbub of Christmas shopping. Finding the perfect gift for each and every person on your list, making sure everything is sent out on time, and getting all the wrapping done. Tying bows, making labels, putting small gifts in big boxes to throw off the person you bought for. The hurrying to get everything done so you don't have to be out during the week of Christmas and fighting the crowds in the malls. And then ending up forgetting something and having to rush out and grab it.
And of course, Christmas Eve arrives and last-minute plans are made. Any forgotten presents are slipped under the tree, letters to Santa are written, and Christmas movies are watched. Cookies and milk are set out, as well as carrots for the reindeer, and everyone falls asleep watching Christmas movies.
Finally, you wake up and it's Christmas morning. Everyone must be woken up immediately so we can start the day of fun and together-ness. For me, it's always a shock to see presents with my name on them under that tree-- even though I know they're there, it still comes as a surprise when I see them sat before me. In my family, we open our presents at our house and then head straight over to my Grandparents' house and spend the day with them, opening presents and spreading general cheer.
So, what does Christmas mean to me?
It's spending time with family, because one day you may not be able to have your Christmas with the ones you love.
It's taking time away from social media, as I am this week (No posts for the rest of the week!) because some day you'll wish you looked up from that phone a little more.
It's giving, not getting.
It's making sure that people don't go without; that you've done what you can, for who you can.
It's being selfless and kind and thoughtful towards everyone, no matter their background.
It's celebrating the birth of Christ, and acknowledging the blessings we've been given, no matter how small.
It's spreading love.
And that is what Christmas means to me.