We did Christmas BIG growing up. There were two Christmas trees (one fun, one pretty), railings covered with garlands, poinsettias in every corner, miniature Santas dotting the house. The fireplaces were always roaring and hot cocoa was served around the clock. Bing, Ella, Frank, and Dean sang to us about mistletoe and sleigh rides. We would make at least one snowman a year. Each of us had our own pair of ice skates and there were sleds aplenty for the whole family. Sugar cookies were rolled out, cut and decorated to be snowflakes, candy canes, and reindeer. We usually baked so much that there were almost always leftovers in the freezer from the year before.
Our family hosted an annual Christmas bash, something that I looked forward to all year long. The night was filled with singing carols around the piano and dancing to the hired band. Drinks spilled out of glasses as people sang and danced and reveled in each other's presence. You would either find me hovering around the food table, quietly following around my sister's male friends (all of whom I was hopelessly in love with), or (as I got older) sneaking pulls of alcohol in the basement bathroom with my friends (sorry mom and dad!). The night was always perfect. It was pure excitement, pure joy.
And on Christmas morning, oh, Christmas morning, presents spilled out from under the tree. It was wonderful, the kind of Christmas every kid hopes for. We would spend an hour or so gleefully handing out and unwrapping gifts, smiles glued on our faces, and then retreat to our bedrooms to be with our presents in peace. A Christmas Story played on repeat until I snuck my favorite movies in (A Flintstone Christmas, The Santa Clause). Dinner was served in the late afternoon and usually entailed way too much food for just the five of us. Christmas was bliss. And if it just so happened to snow on Christmas morning, well, life was complete.
This year marks the first time in 24 years that my family will not all be getting together for Christmas. Some of us blame the cost of travel while the others will admit the uncertainty of how to handle my parents' divorce. The reasons are moot; like it or not, we'll be apart for the holidays. No more annual Christmas party (though that's been done for years), no excessive cookie baking, no peeing our pants with laughter and fear while ice skating. I'm sad that I won't be waking up to little faces 3 inches away from mine at 6 in the morning, just staring and waiting for me to get up and play. I hate that I won't get to meet my squishy 4 month old niece and hold her in my arms for the first time. I'll miss sneaking extra glasses of wine with my sisters and playing board games in front of a fireplace with my competitive brother-in-laws. What I won't miss, though, is the lack of snow.
You see, the past couple of Christmases have been spent in South Carolina, where it doesn't typically snow (except for the one horrible year that it did and resulted in my parents having to leave early to have a safe drive home). Although I loved being with my family, I secretly missed the snow.
And my husband-to-be, of course. Garrett and I always separated for Christmas; he stayed behind to celebrate with his family in Michigan as I traveled to South Carolina to be with mine. It sucked, not being able to spend my favorite day of the year with my favorite person in the world. So this year, I am grateful to spend Christmas with my husband. I couldn't, shouldn't, ask for anything more.
Except maybe for snow? In exchange for not being with my parents, siblings, nieces and nephew, I would like a white Christmas, please. It's been years since I've made a snowman or gone sledding. I want to sip hot cocoa next to a window and watch the world outside turn white. I'm ready to don chunky sweaters, knitted hats, flannel pajamas, and thick socks. It would be nice to have a fire and snuggle up to Garrett that much more to stay warm as the outdoors are blanketed in snow. I want to feel the peace that only comes from the quiet of a heavy snowfall. Michigan, can you do this for me? It's time to make Christmas BIG again. And I think a snowy Christmas is exactly what I need.
Santa, I know you can't box up snow and put it under the tree, but if you could make some things happen in the snow department, I won't ask for anything more. I've been pretty good this year. So go ahead; make your list and check it twice. I've been a little naughty but mostly nice. When you come to town, please bring snow for me. In the meantime, I'll be dreaming of a white Christmas.