Although it's still early, my anticipation of the holiday season has already begun to pull on me. I am one who must have the tree and decorations up by Thanksgiving day so that I may enjoy it at leisure for the remainder of the season. There is something magical about opening up all those storage boxes and taking each ornament out one by one to say hello. I'm a Santa collector and I know where each one came from and from whom. I have a large family and we make the most of the holiday season, memories upon memories upon more memories. Thinking about them requires me to share some of them, and so:
1. The aroma of my grandmother's kitchen weeks prior to Christmas. Hundreds of cookies cooling on every empty surface.
2. Sneaking down the stairs in the semi-dark on Christmas morning when I was young and almost screaming at the sight of the life-size doll in the corner. I thought someone had broken into our house. I never did that again.
3. Playing a winter bocce tournament at my sister's house, in the snow. It was the best time I've ever had at one of our tournaments.
4. Missing my family for the holidays when I lived away. I still can't listen to "I'll Be Home For Christmas" without crying.
5. The hundreds of hand-made ornaments each and every one of my family have made over so many years for our annual party. Masterpieces all.
6. The yearly Christmas eve dinner at the home of another sister. Sometimes many, sometimes few but all are made welcome. Food prepared with love and anticipated always.
7. The gathering of the clan on Christmas day at my parents. A little house bursting at the seams with love and fun.
8. Sitting at home with all the lights off except for the tree lights. That light changes and softens space and thought.
9. The music of Christmas. I cannot get enough of it. Angelic voices rising to vaulted ceilings.
10. The food my Mom prepares for that day. Too many of us for a sit-down dinner so, fill your plate and grab a seat. And then go back for more.
11. The faces of children. Happy, excited and loved.
12. The "Christmas Story" leg lamp. Yes, my parents have a real one given to them a few years ago. The neighbors wait to see it in the bay window at least once. Please see the slideshow below for the fun.
13. Cookies, eggnog, shortbread, ribbon candy, wassail, buche de noel, deviled eggs, ham, turkey, pasta, appetizers, the clinking of glasses in a toast.
14. A walk in the snow (hopefully), bundled up and not caring about the cold or if my hair gets wet. Looking at the bright outdoor lights muted by a blanket of ice.
15. Christmas Eve itself. I think this may be the quietest night of the year and my favorite. People staying in with family or, those who go out, are on the way to family. The later the evening gets, the quieter the night. Comfy clothes, feel curled under me, eyes closed, listening to the silence and the peace of it all.
Now, it's your turn. Tell me one special remembrance from Christmas or any other holiday for that matter. I know you must have at least one to share. That one thought that you lift from the folds of your memories from time to time. I look forward to hearing it.