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.