Holiday anticipation — the best part of the season

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Activities leading up to the holidays often overshadow the actual day of celebration. For some, making gingerbread houses is part of the anticipation. Photo courtesy of Julie Rowse

It’s that time of year again. Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? It’s also lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you. I must also mention, in the meadow we can build a snow man, then pretend that he is Parson Brown. (Whoever that is.)

We all know these songs by heart, even if we don’t like them. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m no Grinch or Scrooge. I really do like Christmas time and all that sing-a-long jazz. It’s just that all the things leading up to the actual Holiday…are, in my opinion, more exciting.

Okay okay, I know you just gasped. But let’s first go over Christmas morning.

You are woken up at some absurd time before the sun is even out by younger siblings or ridiculously caffeinated parents. By the time your half-asleep self has crawled up or down the stairs, zombie-walked to wherever the Christmas tree is, and crashed on some couch or floor, you’ve already started dreaming again. Now, Mom or Dad has whipped out the video camera. How could they not capture everyone looking so bright eyed and anxious on this lovely day?

After this step in the Christmas morning routine it’s time for the greatest part. You claw open your presents and the way your little siblings scream is as if they’ve won the lottery, assuming they know what that is.

Come on, let’s face it, you’re in the midst of your teen years and your parents are terrified to buy you anything for fear you might hate it then have this snotty fit about how they could’ve just gotten you a gift card or a brand new car. So, they go with the gift cards and money, maybe a few clothes here and there, but nothing too risky. Finally, you’ve finished unwrapping all the presents, and are generally satisfied and thankful, but now your eyelids are feeling heavier than ever and you know that’s your queue to go back to bed.

After waking up several hours later, you eat that fancy dinner with a glistening ham or turkey and all those goods, but of course it’s not even in comparison with Thanksgiving.

So, we’ve gone over Christmas day but here’s where we get into the finer aspect of the holiday season. The anticipation.

Let’s rewind to Halloween. You went to a costume party or took a wee little one trick-or-treating. Now, its November first. You step outside to check the mail and you notice neighbors already hauling Christmas lights, artificial trees, Santa Clauses, and reindeer out of their garage. This is where the countdown begins.

“Only 55 more days til Christmas!” you say to yourself. But what people don’t realize is leading up to that single day is when all the fun stuff happens. So you fast forward through November, it’s Thanksgiving and you’ve gained 15 pounds, so now it’s time to nap, then…Black Friday Sales.

After fighting off crazy soccer moms, running a marathon through Wal-Mart, and purchasing your astonishingly cheap laptop or flat screen, you become aware that it is the time to set up that evergreen Christmas tree.

Your family is gathered around the living room and there’s this merry spirit in the air. You reminisce at the ornament you made in 2nd grade with a picture of you slapped on it, no two front teeth in sight. The first time the tree lights up is the the greatest sight. After you’ve walked by it a million times it’s still pretty, but the awe factor just isn’t there anymore.

By now ABC Family has started their “25 Days of Christmas” movie marathon and you  can’t help but watch “A Christmas Story” every time it’s on. The ice skating rink has opened downtown, and even though you have the mind set you’re an Olympic figure skater, in the end you’re aware the night will end up with you and your friends on your butt, laughing until there’s tears of course.

Every time you’re required to drive through your town, Christmas lights are shining, kids are in the process of building snowmen, and almost every house has a Christmas tree in the main window of the house. The Christmas spirit is undeniable.

Though in the back of every one’s mind is the excitement to get their own presents, no one can deny the enthusiasm they get when they know it’s time to give their secret Santa person a gift.

You’ve got all your Christmas to-do’s and shopping done, tried all of Starbucks’ holiday flavors, and visited the ice rink 3 times with no success of completing that figure 8. The most joyous part of the holiday season has come and gone.

As I explained before, lack of sleep plays a big part in the traditional vision of kids running down the stairs, smiles stretched across their faces. Those families that open up all their gifts on Christmas Eve must agree with me. It may be age that has something to do with my lack of holiday enthusiasm on Christmas day , the absence of complete and total shock in what I’ll receive on Christmas day, or the fact that for Christmas dinner my family has seafood, and I hate seafood.

The holiday season without anxiousness would make Christmas more comparable to a holiday like…Columbus Day. The anticipation always keeps you on your toes. There’s always something more to look forward to. Sure, getting presents is always a joy, but giving is also. But overall, the anticipation leading up to Christmas day is often more significant the actual holiday.

Bri Thomas
West Wind News Editor and Videographer