It's Beginning To Feel A Lot Like....Yeah, You Know The Drill

You know what? I love Christmas. I don't mean I'm the sort of person who plays Christmas music in November or puts her tree up the evening of Thanksgiving---I'm actually pretty slack on both accounts; I haven't even sent my cards out yet, which is what I'm actually supposed to be doing right now instead of writing a blog post, oh how about that---but more that I just love the feeling, a week or so before Christmas, that only good things are coming up in the near future.

You know that feeling? It's a great feeling, I tell you, almost better than the one you get on Saturday morning when you wake up and forget, for a second, that it's Saturday morning and still think you have to drag yourself out of bed and into work. The week before Christmas is full of anticipation, that's what it is: all the good stuff is still to come. It's close enough that you can taste it---it tastes of peppermint, of course, and of the cold, and also of those of little tiny oranges---but none of it has happened yet. It's all ahead of you: all the eating and drinking and giving and receiving and wrapping and unwrapping and laughing and Balderdash-playing and Love Actually-watching and splashing just that tiniest bit of Baileys in your coffee, who cares if it's only 10am.

This evening, after work and a hurried dinner at Chipotle, I dragged Sean out on what was billed as a "cable car tour of holiday lights," but which really turned out to be some old dude driving around San Francisco in an open-sided bus  making dad joke after dad joke while we froze our nuts off and endured patronizing stares from passing passengers.

Yes, everyone on the tour had to wear Santa hats. That's why they were staring.

But it was fun still, you know? The tour took us past our old apartment and I had a sudden recollection of how I used to wave from my bedroom window at tour buses just like ours, and then midway through Sean discovered that we were sitting right in front of the driver's candy cane stash and kept sneakily stocking us up. At the end, just when we thought we could bear the frozen extremities not a second longer, we stopped in at the Fairmont and took grainy iPhone pictures in front of the tree.

No frizzy blond Sun-Inned hair here, unfortunately. I did ask him to scowl like his 1994 self, but he says he's beyond that now.

I'm smiling because I'm contemplating how I might steal this rug.

Afterwards we got hot chocolate and strolled through Union Square, stopping to admire the Christmas window displays at the fancy department stores, and then we came home and turned on the lights on our own tree---puny compared to the Fairmont one, of course---and I had a think about what I could possibly do to put off having to write my Christmas cards even longer. (Hello! That's why I'm here!)

On Saturday, I'm heading down to San Diego to spend ten days with my family; Tom will have just arrived from Singapore, and Luke and Susie get in a few hours after me, and I'm just so giddily excited about everyone being together again. Every Christmas is the same in our family, has been the same for my entire thirty years, and that's the part I like best of all: the routine of it all, the tradition. Christmas eve dinner, family singalong, stockings on Christmas morning, presents, lunch, more presents, board games and turkey sandwiches, then into bed happy and full. Those are some of my favorite twenty-four hours right there, and look how lucky I am: they're almost here again.

1
Kate
Dec 16, 2010

You perfectly summed up why I actually enjoy the week leading up to Christmas almost more than Christmas day itself. Dave Barry wrote a very sweet book about Christmas, and in it the narrator (a little boy) says, "But on Christmas Eve, all the tree lights are on and carols are playing and people are saying 'Merry Christmas,' and everything is *about* to happen, but it didn't happen yet. That's the best time of the year."

I always enjoy your holiday posts. My family didn't have many traditions around Christmas time. Your family Christmases are the kind I would have *loved*.

2
Karen/Chookooloonks
Dec 17, 2010

"Those are some of my favorite twenty-four hours right there, and look how lucky I am: they're almost here again."

That may be my favourite sentence ever written.

Happy Christmas, friend.

3
Vicki
Dec 17, 2010

You just summed up exactly how I feel about the week before Christmas, it is my very favourite time of the year and I can't wait to go home for just these very reasons.
Merry Christmas!

4
Carrisa
Dec 17, 2010

That tree is huge! And the rug is gorgeous.

So tell me, now that you are married do you have to compromise on Christmas? Or do you just both go spend it with your own families like before? This has been something I have struggled with since I got married. I haven't been willing to give up my traditions of leaving town and spending it with my family. Which means he either comes with me and doesn't see his family. Or I go without him and we spend it apart. Sad but true.

5
Kate (and Ben)
Dec 17, 2010

I am just so glad that I am not the only one with unmailed holiday cards. Half of ours got sent off two days ago, the other half? Why they are in a pile beside the computer RIGHT NOW. Not a postage stamp in sight.
I love learning about other family traditions--ours are so absolutely normal for me, any other type of activity (sing-alongs?) seem very foreign.
Happy Christmas!!
-K

6
ScottsdaleGirl
Dec 17, 2010

I still can't sleep the night before Christmas! And this year I have two new people in my life to share the morning with. So Excited!

7
Pinkie Bling
Dec 17, 2010

I loved this whole post, but now think I am an alcoholic, as I put a lot more than a tiny bit of Bailey's in my Christmas coffee! And then move on to mimosas!

Your traditions are lovely. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

8
Nothing But Bonfires
Dec 17, 2010

Carrisa: the way we've done it since we've been married (which is, admittedly, not very long) is that we spend Thanksgiving with Sean's family and Christmas with mine. Sean will be flying down to San Diego for Christmas; I just get a bit longer down there.

Pinkie Bling: I was just saying that for show. In case any of my old teachers were reading. I really just pour in half the bottle.

9
Kathleen
Dec 17, 2010

I was thinking the exact same thing about that rug. And it's a pretty good feeling if it beats the Saturday morning rush. Hardly anything is better than that!

10
Lisa
Dec 17, 2010

A friend of mine just forwarded me your blog...my husband and I had a good laugh yesterday at your husbands expense..but then stopped laughing because we also remembered having hair like that! I loved this post and the anticipation of Christmas..and I think you may be the funniest person I've never met!

11
Starla
Dec 17, 2010

We finished up at work today also, for 2 weeks. I think it's a little early! I mean, most people have another whole week left.

I actually have a month off, and whilst not crazy about Christmas, this year I am excited, as I am off to spend it in New Orleans!

Happy Holidays Holly! You were named very aptly for your favourite time of year! And you look cute in your Santa hat!

12
Heather
Dec 17, 2010

I am laughing because when I first saw the picture of you in front of the tree, my first reaction was, "Wow! What a nice rug!"

13
Marcheline
Dec 18, 2010

Whew. I was just going to ask you if Sean wasn't coming along, but then I read a few posts above and saw that has already been dealt with. It totally sucks to be away from your honey on holidays, even if you are with family. Glad to hear it's gonna be all inclusive for you!

Have a Very Merry!

14
Daisy
Dec 20, 2010

I know this will sound crazy, but I was frantically searching for a regular old red and white Santa hat last week because I needed it for a costume. I stopped at Claire's but theirs were either sequined or pink. I knew my BFF Target would have them in the Christmas section along with the light up antler headbands, MAIS NON. I looked everywhere and then finally asked a poor Target employee who was being hit on in Spanish, and she told me that the only ones they had were the tiny kid ones in the 99 cent section at the front of the store. I finally found one at CVS but the white part was super fluffy, which was not to my liking. Apparently all I had to do was go on the cable car tour to get a plain red and white hat!

While you're in San Diego, be sure to visit Christmas Card Lane (on Oviedo, just off Black Mountain Road - you can take 56 to get there) - it's a combination of ridiculously kitcshy and freaking awesome. Almost everyone in the neighborhood has these huge displays in their yards. I try to go every year when I visit my parents and there's something so familiar about seeing a display that I know my high school boyfriend's friend's family made about two decades ago. There is one guy with a whole miniature train track set up in his yard, and another house has a giant Buddy the Elf cut out where you can stick your face in and have your picture taken. You can drive, but it's nice to park and walk. It's only about a mile if you walk around in a circle. If you want to drive, it's better to go later (past 9pm).

In case you hadn't noticed, I totally love Christmas too! Did you see the gigantic gingerbread house at the Fairmont too?

15
Charise
Dec 20, 2010

I also spend the week before Christmas all giddy and happy with anticipation. Love the good times and traditions!

We had a mail-order disaster with our cards that left me scrambling this weekend, but they all went in the mail this morning, woohoo.

I hope your family's travels go smoothly this next time around and Happy Christmas!

16
edj
Dec 22, 2010

I love Christmas too, but I get awfully Grinchy when people try to start it in November!
Happy Christmas Holly! Have a lovely time with your family!

17
Tammy
Dec 28, 2010

Love Actually - makes me cry and laugh everytime. A Christmas tradition like Polar Express and Charlie Brown's Christmas (at least in my house).

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