The holiday season is upon us, and I face the upcoming events with mixed emotions. If you know me, you know that I really don’t care for Christmas. When I say that, I get the most ridiculous backlash from people, so I always feel that I need to clarify a couple points. I love getting to be with family. I love the magic that shines in Sierra’s eyes. I love the traditions we have that make Christmas Eve special, like homemade candy cane ice cream and sleeping under the tree. I hate the gift-giving induced stress that turns people into bitter trolls. I hate Christmas carols, with a special, reserved hatred for Santa Baby in particular. I really hate It’s A Wonderful Life; we usually watch the Grinch (the legit Grinch, not that Jim Carrey garbage).
This song sums up nearly every reason I dislike Christmas.
Have you even listened to the lyrics?
Tacky, Selfish, Materialistic….I could go on.
This guy and I would be awesome friends. 🙂
We put up a tree and stockings, but the decorating ends there. If it weren’t for Sierra we probably wouldn’t even go that far. Josh and I don’t even exchange gifts anymore. I don’t really see the point. We obviously still get Sierra gifts. I am proud to say that Sierra does quite well at Christmas (which has nothing to do with gifts). For her, it is exciting because she believes she can sense magic in the air. It is exciting because we eat freezing cold ice cream and drink hot chocolate in our sleeping bags under the tree. She could really care less about the presents. Half the time I can’t even get a decent gift idea out of her; one year all she asked for was a candy cane. My dislike of Christmas won’t rub off on her because I don’t go around spouting anti-Christmas sentiments to anyone, but understanding the importance of the family time has made an impact. I do go so far as to send a holiday newsletter that I write called The Hattan Herald. I absolutely refuse to spend money on Christmas cards. I only send off a newsletter because I do feel it is important to let those I love know what’s been going on in our lives. And, I make them funny, which is never a bad thing.
I don’t want it to seem like I stalk around all pissed off and crabby during the holidays. I don’t. I’m not an angry or bitter person. I might get frustrated when I hear Santa Baby play on the radio 3,379 times in one day, but it doesn’t WRECK my day. I’m happy. I don’t go nutso for any holiday. I don’t get all finicky and prissy on Mother’s Day or my birthday. Josh and I don’t exchange Anniversary gifts. It just doesn’t seem like it should be a big, stressful ordeal every time a holiday rolls around.
With that said, I DO love Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is hands-down my absolute favorite holiday. I love that the only requirements involve being surrounded by people you feel thankful for, eating incredible food you should feel thankful for, and taking a nap, which everyone is thankful for. I love the idea of reminding ourselves how lucky we truly are rather than letting the media bloat our day with ads for materialistic garbage we don’t actually need. The big online trend right now is posting something new that you are thankful for every day of the month up to Thanksgiving. I like this idea, but I am thankful for more than one thing a day. I’m thankful for several important aspects of my life each day. So, to push forward the idea of being thankful rather than greedy as we approach a beautiful and unique holiday that is unfortunately always overshadowed by Christmas, I decided to make a little list.
What I am thankful for:
I am thankful for the ability to read and write. If I were not born and raised in this country, attending the schools I attended, I could potentially be missing a major part of my life. Reading is my passion, writing is my saving grace. I am thankful for the teachers who taught me, encouraged me, criticized me, and knew I could be better. Thank you.
Where would I be without words?
“I cannot live without my life, I cannot live without my soul!”
I am thankful for the right to marry who I want. This, however, is a thank you with an edge. Unfortunately, in this country, this is not a truth for many. I am thankful that in America, democracy means that we, the citizens of this country, can change this. I am hopeful that I will someday be able to say that I am thankful that all Americans will be able to marry who they choose, regardless of gender or race. I am hopeful that I will someday soon be attending the wedding of a beautiful, healthy couple who belong to each other so perfectly it cannot be disputed, and will not be disputed due to an antiquated, bigoted law disallowing same-sex marriage. Thank you.
I hope that someday badges and buttons like this are no longer needed.
I am so proud that 4 new states chose the right side of history and chose equal rights over bigotry.
I am thankful for my incredible husband, who has made me strive to be a better person since our first date. I am thankful that he takes me as I am; does not try to change me, or make me change myself to suit him. I am thankful that because he loves me so completely, I, in turn, love myself completely, and am more able to selflessly love others. As a child I was taught that when one door closes another is waiting to be opened. Josh is always there to help me find the keys. He has been with me through times so dark I didn’t even think my eyes were open, and he has also made me laugh with breathless abandon. I am thankful that he empties and loads the dishwasher. I am thankful to have found such an incredible soul mate for this journey. Thank you.
It is an incredible gift, this thing they call love.
The word alone does it no true justice.
I am thankful for the ability to raise our daughter to hold her head high. I am thankful that she knows that she can be anyone and anything she wishes to be, from firefighter to Olympic athlete to President. I am thankful that she, too, has the ability to read and to write. I am thankful that she can grow up in a world where questions can be asked, and are encouraged. I am thankful that she can attend schools, and further herself in both education and work. I am thankful that she can choose to get married or not, and that she can choose to have children or not. I am thankful that she can own property, hold money, understand responsibility, and vote. Thank you.
Sierra was born nearly 8 1/2 years ago.
Sierra getting her first ski race medal.
“And though she be but little, she is fierce.”
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
I can’t wait.
I am thankful for my parents. I am thankful that they have showed me the honor in hard work and the selflessness that can be found in the world. I am thankful for my father who has worked hard since he was 14 and has no regrets. I am thankful that he showed me that all women deserve respect, that all women are worthy of respect, and that all women should respect themselves. I am thankful that my mom was always approachable and supportive. I am thankful that she showed me how to be a strong, independent woman. I am thankful that she showed me that being independent does not mean being insensitive, and being self-supporting does not mean selfish. I am thankful they taught me to never lie and to always love. I am thankful they taught me how to laugh, not chuckle, and that it is okay as a woman to laugh with your whole body. Thank you.
My dad and Sierra. He’s a sucker for little girls. Haha!
My dad and I skiing.
It’s what we do.
My dad and I on a backpacking trip.
My strong, beautiful mom and I.
My mom and dad dancing with Sierra at my brother’s wedding.
They dance like no one is watching, but I am.
My mom and I on a local day hike.
My parents showed me how to laugh until it hurts.
And then to laugh some more.
I hope it will be food for thought. And please try to remember when you are watching others trampling over a complete stranger for a cheap and completely unnecessary electronic gadget on Black Friday to stop for a moment and pick a name off of the angel tree. It is an easy way to keep the magic alive in the eyes of a child, and humbling enough, perhaps, to keep it alive within yourself as well.