Confessions of a holiday fanatic

It’s here already. I am not sure how. I mean the same amount of time passes, but the older I get the faster things like the holidays seem to happen. In the past, I have actually said “it’s not a surprise…it comes every year at the exact same time,” not this year. THIS year, I get it. I get that crazed look some people have during the holidays. It is beyond my comprehension that next week is Thanksgiving.

I am a self-admitted holiday fanatic. Beginning with Halloween, my home is in a state of holiday decor. Every weekend is dedicated to making another batch of gifts or goodies. AND yes I love Christmas carols. I start playing them the day after Thanksgiving. (I do have to admit though I like the old standards).

This insanity that I love so much began when I was a kid. My family, six kids strong, did the holidays like no one else. Preparing for the holidays was an event unto itself. Dates were made to make specific cookies, while others were to decorate. Hours upon hours were spent together making ornaments (mine always purple and very sparkly), knit scarves or bake gifts. Family members came to our house from near and far to participate in this Hallmark time. Even the first snow of the season was an event. It would result in cries throughout the house. “It’s snowing!” For those adult siblings, we actually called them to announce the great news. I guess in our minds they didn’t have windows or TV. Kids?

On Christmas morning, we were allowed to open only our stockings until the rest of the kids got there. I remember it like it was yesterday, the feeling I had as my brother and I crept toward the living room to get our stockings. Imagine, if you will, gifts for and from 12 people. Colorfully wrapped boxes and toys piled 5 feet high and 10 feet around the tree. (OK, so it wasn’t that much, but hey I was little) It was magical. It still is.

My kids are grown, but the holidays are still a big deal. We spend time planning, decorating and making gifts for our loved ones. The only difference is that now I wake them up to open gifts, rather than them clambering onto my bed with all the stockings in hand saying, “look Mom….look what Santa gave me”. You know, as we age and our children grow, a lot changes and some of that magic slips away, but the capacity to connect with our loved ones doesn’t have to. I am who I am because of that strong family tie. Those crazy and wonderful holiday traditions (did I mention a massive all-out wrapping paper fight that happens every single year) had such profound effect on my life that just finding an old paper ornament from my childhood immediately takes me back and puts a smile in my heart, it brings back the magic.

With Thanksgiving the official start of the holiday season right around the corner, I can feel the excitement building, here at the Y, among my family members and at my home. (I have friends who have already finished their shopping…who are you people? Really!) It is with that thought that I want to remind all of you that this season is NOT…I repeat…NOT about stuff. Don’t get yourself crazy over buying what for whom. Unless you are buying them a once in a lifetime trip or a car, the gift you give them most likely won’t be remembered for very long. What will be remembered is the time spent together. This year make the holiday season more than Black Friday, Cyber Monday, stressful last minute shopping or over-committing your time This year make it about memories, either creating new ones or revisiting old ones. This year make it about family, friends, traditions, faith, hope, and thankfulness. And yes, magic.

Be thankful. Be Well.

See you at the Y