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Thursday, December 8, 2011

The most wonderful time of the year....

...except for the two weeks involving studying, last minute lectures, MORE studying, stressing, MORE studying, and then finally final. But it doesn't end there. There's the huddle in the hallway with the other students, comparing answers, and the waiting and stressing for your grade, and then the brillant climax when you see your grade.

I'm not including this time (Can you tell my first final is tomorrow?)

This year though, it's a little off. Some of the joy and celebration feels faked, or at the very least, forced. Whether it's that the exchange surgery is always looming in my mind (and I thought I was DONE with the stress and worry) or that this is the first holiday season without Granny. Or maybe it's that she went into the ER with lower lobe pneumonia on Christmas Eve last year.

Tonight, I read a Facebook status from my cousin about a present my grandparents got us when we were little. And it got me thinking, remembering things. Thinking about why exactly I love Christmas so much in the first place. It's the traditions I grew up with, that I remember. That's why shaped my love for the season. Here's a few of the best memories:

1- The facebook status that my cousin posted, got me thinking about a similar present Granny and Grandaddy got me when I was young. They had a book printed with me as the main character and all of my cousins and sisters in it as well. In the book, we all got to go to the North Pole. Now, how cool is that?

2- Papaw used to dress up as Santa Claus. Of course we thought Santa had made a special stop off at Gigi and Papaws house before delivering presents. We'd eat and talk and discreetly Papaw would leave the room. A few minutes later, a knock would come on the door, and lo and behold it'd be Santa with presents for each and everyone of us. I thought it was the coolest thing that my Papaw was friends with Santa!

3- This helped our belief in memory #2. A man down the street from my grandparents (to this day) dresses up as Santa and his wife dresses up as Mrs. Claus. "Mrs Claus" would be wearing a hidden mic and when she repeated our names "Santa" would hear. Imagine our shock when Santa knew our names when we went to sit in his lap! We just assumed that Santa stopped at Gigi and Papaw's house since it was so close. When we got older, we used to walk to that house EVERY YEAR expecting to see him and EVERY YEAR we were let down.

4- On the way home from Gigi and Papaw's on Christmas Eve we would see red lights in the sky and be convinced it was reindeer. We'd be rushed off to bed, and I would stay up all night, unable to sleep from anticipation. And to this day I swear I heard reindeer feet on the roof.

5- In the morning, Mom and Dad would wake us up (with the video camera). As we got older, we'd get up extra early and rush to the bathroom to fix our hair and makeup and then rush back to bed and pretend to be asleep. Like we were in a soap opera and woke up fully made up. We'd have to wait until all four of us were ready and we'd run in the living room to see what was left there. The cookies and milk we left out the night before were gone and a note from Santa was in their place (which strangely looked like Mom's handwriting).

6- After we opened our presents, we'd run to get ready to spend Christmas day with Granny and Grandaddy and the rest of our family.

7- I remember on Christmas Eve day, Grandaddy would come downstairs (in jeans and white shirt) and say "Christmas Eve gift" Apparently if someone said it to you before you said it to them you had to get them a present. I also felt like I needed to read a Christmas story, like a Christmas Carol or the story of Santa Claus.

8- Every year on Thanksgiving we'd draw names for Christmas presents. We weren't supposed to tell who got who...but by the time we were teenagers we would leave that day knowing who got who and what we were going to get. I also remember searching and searching for our Christmas presents, the Gigi and Papaw began buying in August.

Those are only a few of my favorite memories. There are SOO many more and this blog could be SOO much longer. I someday want my kids to feel the same way about the holiday season.

Now that we no longer keep up with those family traditions and I know who's behind the jolly old fat man, I feel like something is missing, I cannot wait to have kids around to keep up with those traditions.

I have managed to add some of my own though. Now that I've started going to a Catholic church, I have Christmas Eve mass. I LOVE midnight mass, but it's the only time of the year that Mike will go with me and he likes going to an earlier mass (midnight is past his bedtime)

Another thing I've added is I've started a Christmas village, This year is my first year and I'm really excited about growing it one or two pieces at a time each year.

Another thing I did (which I'm sure some people will make fun of) is get an Elf on the Shelf. No, I don't have children in the house and yes, I've named the Elf (Sparky) and move her around the house each day. And yes I said her. Its kind of a funny story. I bought a SKIRT off of EBay, thinking I'd bought the whole elf. When I found out my mistake, it was too late send it back so I figured, "Why not?"

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