I feel compelled to recount my Christmas experience. I love Christmas. I love the magic the season brings, and I love the forced family gatherings. I love the Christmas cookies, and I love the Christmas tree. There is not much about Christmas I don't like, except that it is changing.
Christmas, as I know it, is becoming something with which I am unfamiliar. Time has changed things; I am older, my brother is engaged, my grandparents are suffering from the effects of aging. No matter how hard I try, I cannot capture the youthful excitement Christmas once brought. I understand there is no way to go back in time. I can only move forward, and realistically, that is best for me. I struggle with change, but I must surrender to the unstoppable passing of time. I will never win the battle; chronology will overcome me. I am nostalgic for a phase of life that has long since been over, a time when Santa and his reindeer brought the newest toys, a time when I was at peace with the world.
This year, Santa brought me no toys; I got socks, lots and lots of socks. This year, I worried about the cruelness of the world; I worried about the economy, and I worried about my family's health. A veil of happy arrogance did not shield me from fear on Christmas morning. I must be maturing. In fact, I was not even unhappy about the socks; I am definitely maturing. The oft-joked about dull present of inner-footwear did not dampen my day, so something within me has obviously been affected by the progression of my life. Actually, I asked my parents for nothing, and that is likely why I got socks. I told my mom I just wanted to be with family because that would be enough -- and it was.
People make Christmas magical, not toys, not cookies, not tree trimmings -- it's people. So, while I will never feel that same rush my first-grade version felt at the thought of presents, I will always be able to share the holiday with people whom love me. I will probably never again feel the type of solstice I once felt during the holiday season, yet I will always have peace knowing I have support in this world. Traditions may change, but I will always have my people. That thought alone makes the world more manageable. Oh, and the warm feet will also be a plus.