I’ll admit it. I love this time of year. When the days grow shorter, and the air becomes crisp, and the smell of a wood burning stove permeates from house to house, I revert to a child-like state. It’s the beginning of the holiday season.
From November to January, I am in a perpetual good mood. More than usual even. I can’t help myself! I love everything about the holidays. I love things that probably drive most people nuts. I love the decorating, the gift buying, gift wrapping…baking, cooking…family gatherings. As soon as Halloween ends, on November 1st, I bring down the Thanksgiving decorations from the attic. It was a good run, Witches.
And then, after Thanksgiving…like, that night people, the Thanksgiving decorations come down, get boxed up, and stored away for another year.
Then, it’s the fun stuff that I wait all year long for. The garland. The stockings. Turning my mantle into a Martha Stewart fantasy…
I’ve got the Christmas music blaring…I’m wandering around the living room trying to remember where I put Mr. & Mrs. Claus last year. I grab my cell and look on Facebook for my “memories” – Oh yah, that’s where they go. It drives my husband crazy that I can’t just wing it. No…I want it to look the way it has every year. It’s tradition. (with a healthy dose of OCD)
Once the house is decorated, I sit. I look around. I cry. It’s almost Christmas. I am literally filled with joy at the thought of my family coming over after Christmas Eve mass, for my annual party. The house will be filled with the smell of a baked ham, and my cousins will be trying to steal some my “Grandma’s cookies” that I make every year. There will be music playing, drinks pouring, and laughter. We’ll share memories of Christmases past. We’ll remember my grandparents, and all the Christmases we spent at their house.
And when everyone says their goodbyes, and it’s just my husband and me, we’ll sit on the sofa for a minute and catch our breath before the magic of the night begins, and the two hours that are sure to follow – putting out the milk and cookies, leaving the reindeer food and knowing that in a few more hours, our kids will be up and running down the stairs at the crack of Christmas dawn.
But tonight, I am thinking of Thanksgiving, and the homemade stuffing I’ll be making in a few weeks…and how much I love the smell of a baking turkey, and making the perfect gravy. How I love when the kids get up early on Thanksgiving morning to see our turkey, and stare in awe at the sheer size of it.
I’ll turn on the Macy’s Day Parade, as my husband and I prepare the bird. The kids will beg for a little spoonful of my homemade stuffing, a recipe handed down over generations. And I can never refuse them because I’m sure to have taken a few myself!
And as we all sit together as a family, we will count our blessings. And they are many. We will remember those who’ve passed on, pray for those in need, and thank God for all we’ve been given.
This time of year always fills me with hope, with joy and with an abundance of love for the life I’ve been blessed to live; for the family I get to call my own, for the friends I couldn’t live without – they are all blessings.
November – welcome back. I’ve missed you.