Cold winter weather. True, here in Texas such a thing is nothing more than a myth, but back in Oklahoma (who knew 300 miles could make such a significant difference?) we actually see snow and ice storms in the winter. And our leaves fall off the trees before Christmas. So Oklahoma wins. And even though I've never been such a big fan of playing outside in the snow, nothing beats snuggling up next to the fireplace in my pajamas with a hot cup of coffee and my mom at the other end of the conversation, watching the snow blanket the houses on the other side of the street through the front window. PLUS, scarves. Scarves are just adorable and awesome.
Christmas. There's something about the combination of red and green that just makes me feel all warm inside. Christmas never took on so much significance as a holiday for me until I started making the transition from high school to college. With the entire scenery changing around me, Christmas was my constant (shout out to my fellow LOSTies). Dragging the family Christmas tree and ornaments out of the attic is like opening a scrapbook... a story that began years ago when my parents got married and started to flesh itself out as each child was born, grew, and contributed to the growing story of tree decorations. I can't forget to mention the yearly pictures on Santa's lap, which we boldly display on the mantle above the fireplace. Inevitably one of the four children was always kicking and screaming when the camera shutter triggered (and of course, with my being the angelic child, I was never that one of the four).
[I find it also extremely necessary to mention that a fruit fly just flew into my right ear, violently causing me to lose my train of thought]
Every year I get to make fun of my maternal grandmother and her system of labeling each present with a number instead of the recipient's name, so as to prevent each grandchild from shaking and guessing his or her own gift beforehand. In theory it seems like a good idea, especially for younger children, but each of us grandchildren is well into or past the teenage years, and each time numbers get confused or mistaken or rearranged, and there is always some sort of tragedy that happens to the "master list" which details who receives which number. Recently we even get to make fun of my mother for adopting the exact same hilariously disastrous strategy. Each year I get to watch my uncle open his yearly package of new underwear as his first gift from his mom.
Each year I get to forbid my paternal grandmother from making the same old apology about how the gifts are "not as much as last year." Each year we convince the youngest cousin to hand-deliver a gift to her dad, my uncle Lane, and call him by his legal first name, Sherill. Each year it is just as fantastically hilarious as ever. Every year I get to make fun of that same uncle for being terrified of the Abominable Snowman from that Rudolph claymation movie.
I love this common thread of Christmas. To some degree it could be considered a backbone of my life. It's these little scenes of solidarity which we reenact once a year at Christmas that reminds me of everything I have for which to be thankful and everything toward which I can look forward, and it's always rooted in family. I don't care if it's cheesy.
No school. I am fairly certain this requires little explanation. I must amend, however, that I actually love learning. The end of a semester is a profoundly bittersweet moment: it signals the release of academic demands and pressures, but it also cuts me off from the steady flow of information and observation and discovery that I perpetually crave. But then again, that's the beauty of the Christmas break! At the other end, a new semester begins! I've always been the disgusting child who gets giddy at the new semester. I am enthused by brand new textbooks, newly sharpened pencils, crisp notebook paper, blank slate, new subjects. None of that has changed since I have moved on to higher education, and it probably never will... even when I am an old professor beginning a new set of courses. I love the break from classes and being able to sleep in, but I also cannot wait until my spring semester begins again.
Movies. Christmas-themed movies are amazing. ABC family's 25 days of Christmas pretty much rocks my world. There is something magical about the ever-growing bank of Christmas movies, each year a gift to be re-opened. I think it follows the same phenomenon of the Christmas tradition in general... nothing beats Charlie Brown Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, Elf, etc. All classics, and all the more exciting because you have to wait eleven more months to watch them again.
But more than that, movies released in theaters in December, before Christmas, or on Christmas tend to be some of the most fantastic movies all year round. I have extremely high hopes for this 2008 Christmas season. Here are the movies I plan to go see over my Christmas break (in absolutely no particular order):
- Quantum of Solace
- Seven Pounds
- The Tale of Despereaux
- Bedtime Stories
- Marley & Me
- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (I'm actually most excited about this one)
Yeah, that is quite a large number of movies to see in a few short weeks. But I'm going to justify it as celebration of my Birthday. Which transitions me into the next reason why I love December....
My Birthday. I never really grew up celebrating my birthday too much. At least not as much as other kids. Having been born four days after Christmas is a kind of drag. First of all, growing up, none of my friends were in town or available to come to a birthday party, so the earliest I could celebrate was MAYBE New Years. But that's kinda lame, because then the celebration is not Hannah-centered but New Years-centered. And that is completely unacceptable!!! The one day a year when I am justified in being selfish! Second of all, for some reason people find it acceptable to splurge $5 more on the Christmas present they would have given me anyway and label it as a Christmas-Birthday hybrid gift. But I'm not a Christ-Hannah hybrid (technically), so how does this make sense? To borrow the words from my dear mentor Maggie (who also has a late December birthday), "If you buy me only one present, you must pick which holiday it is for, and you fail in the other one!" But now that I'm thinking about it, I don't really care. I never actually know what to request in a gift because there is never anything I really want that I do not already have (except this Plum 8MP Nikon Coolpix camera for which I asked for Christmas... *cough*). I honestly would be fine receiving no gifts at all, as long as I get the steady stream of affirmations of my significance. And is that not what a birthday is really all about? So anyway, in fifteen days I will celebrate having existed in these cosmos for two decades. I am not yet sure how I will officially celebrate it, because I have never been accustomed to parties. Moreover, now that being in college causes most of my friends to be scattered all over the world over extended breaks, the people with whom I would love to party would not be able to attend. Thus, an official party may not be the route I take in celebration. Perhaps I will stick to a movie-going extravaganza.
So there are a few reasons why I love December. I could think of and type some more, but I'm still combatting that fruit fly....
Posted on Sun, December 14, 2008
by Hannah Decker filed under