Finding My Christmas Cheer

According to my Grinch countdown clock (please reserve your judgments) there is one day, one hour, twenty-two minutes, and forty-three seconds left until Christmas. In celebration of this holiday season my activities this week, while slightly restricted because of the weather, have been significantly merry.

I have braved Christmas shopping at a rather large mall, made hedgehogs (intensely good Christmas cookies) with my sister, and even, on occasion, have found myself singing to “Jingle Bells” on the radio. And yes, I will admit that these attempts at Christmas cheer are feeble compared to many…but they are still a rather large step for me.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays. This is, in no way, an attempt to dash the hopes of a child’s belief in Santa or to impart on unsuspecting friends about my unexplainable sadness that I feel because our holiday rituals have become so consumer driven and “meaningless.” False on both accounts.

I will drink (have drunk) my fair share of eggnog. I will be excited to go to church and eat breakfast with my family… and, of course, presents are also wonderful.

Simply put: mass hysteria freaks me out. It took me five years to even think about reading a Harry Potter book and I hardly ever engage in crazy ticket sales of the must see nature.

Unfortunately there is only one word I can think of for Woodfield mall come late November/Mid December: mass chaos. I avoid crazy suburban moms in SUV’s circulating for a parking space in the Nordstrom parking garage at ALL COSTS.

This avoidance of all things frantic has left me with lazy coffee mornings, a growing relationship with my guitar, and the never-ending task of helping my mom clean up the basement.

So that rather lengthy introduction has left me to our shelves of pictures stored in the corner near my Dad’s office. I spent a good hour going through all the pictures tonight. I tried to find one picture from every Christmas I have ever celebrated. (I am missing the recent ones because they were taken digitally. DAMN YOU TECHNOLOGY!)

But, for the most part, I became part of my own progression. I watched my life sort of collectively fall in front of me. In essence, I watched myself change into an adult; all the way from Barbie, to make-up, to music, to dorm supplies, to, this year, cookbooks.

I have truly changed.

There is joy in that, for sure, but I am also in a kind of weird mood. There has been a definite shift in my holiday experience this year. I suppose that for the first time there are several places and people that I want to be with tomorrow. I want to say that it is part of being an adult but I am also hoping it is because my life, over the past four years, has changed so dramatically.

Palatine will always be my home.

My family is irreplaceable.

But my family has grown to include new faces.

And my apartment in Chicago will be empty on one of the best days of the year.



I send all my love to those near and far and I cannot wait to be reunited with the faces of those I miss.




~ by kmconrad on December 24, 2008.

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