christmas eve then and now

I remember how, as a child, Christmas Eve felt like the longest day of the year. Too excited to sleep in even though there was no school, and too antsy to be useful before the festivities started. When I was young, I remember my father taking me to the mall on Christmas Eve morning. Not to buy anything, as the presents were all wrapped and under the tree, but simply to walk around and spend time together.

On Christmas Eve, after Mass and dinner, my parents would always let us open one present each, to tide us over until the morning. We would watch part of a Christmas movie, then set out milk and cookies for Santa, and try to go to sleep, even though we wanted to hear the sounds of reindeer on the roof.

The fact that we had no chimney stressed me out every year as a child.

I think that giddiness is one of the best parts of being a child, when the magic of Christmas is still overflowing.

Now as a grown-up who still holds on to preserving that magical Christmas feeling, I see how the holiday changes. Instead of being so giddy I don't know what to do with myself, I get up early to come to work for half a day, and worry that I'll have enough time to put on my nice dress and go to Christmas Eve mass with my family. From there, I worry if I'll have time to eat a bowl of gumbo before heading to the boyfriend's annual family party. I just tell myself there's no need to worry. Everything will go off smoothly, and if not, that's what the wine is for.

And I'm already a little wistful that Christmas is actually here. I love the weeks leading up to the holiday, where I listen to holiday music like a crazy person, and watch all the movies I can. What will I do next week!? I won't even imagine what it will be like with no Christmas tree in our living room.

Although shopping did manage to stress me out a little, I loved getting all my gifts in and wrapping them for display under the tree. I got some of that giddy feeling last night, as I sat on the couch watching Love, Actually with only the light from 400 cool white LED bulbs, and as I went to bed. That feeling of knowing everything you've been prepping for is about to happen. That excitement of seeing family and opening gifts. Knowing there was only one more sleep til Santa.

Yes, as an adult, Christmas is stressful and expensive. And we don't even have children, so we still have it pretty easy. But I wouldn't trade it for anything. It's all worth it. For the cheer in the air, for the comfort of being with family, for that extra magic that Christmas lights give to every house. 

The marathon is about to begin, and the weather has finally cooperated. It may have taken a deluge yesterday, but the colder weather is here, and we won't have to wear short sleeves on Christmas. I'll bide my time in the morning, and once I leave my desk, the fun begins.

I hope you all have a very merry Christmas! Thank you for reading along this year! Y'all are the gift that keep on giving.

And don't forget to check your shitters...

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