Tuesday, December 14, 2010

And Now I Bring You...Amber's Thoughts on Christmas

You've no doubt heard me mention my friend, Amber.  Consider this guest spot further proof of why she really needs her own blog...

The Christmas season is a lot like a natural disaster, or a high security alert day… regardless, it means you cannot safely enter a Walmart. Not that I really ever go to the Walmart here, due to the fact that it smells vaguely of pigs most days and strongly of pigs on the other days.

Since Thanksgiving, I’ve spent every weekend Christmas shopping (and yes, that does include Black Friday because I’m one of “those” people). I love shopping, so truly this is not any sort of sacrifice, but Christmas is different because I find myself in places like Hot Topic perusing the latest Team Jacob Twilight gear. But aside from the strange cultural experiences and crowds, being at the mall is tough because I also despise most Christmas music… down to the very core of my being. You see, there are only about 15 Christmas songs, yet there are 4000 versions of each of them. Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” is acceptable, but only my dad’s rendition.

I could go on and on about these inconveniences of Christmas… shopping, music, the stress of being so busy...family.


Yep, I know you’re out there… those people who complain about the multiple gatherings you’ll have to attend… the office Christmas party, something at this in-law’s, this cousin’s, that friend’s . I’ve done it too, I’m not judging. I refer to not being able to make it to my boyfriend’s grandmother’s house for Christmas Eve as “dodging the bullet.” Funny right?
Hang in there, I am going somewhere with this.

I went to Walgreens today for some candy for my office and I saw some of that “Old Fashioned Mix”… you know what I’m talking about, that hard candy. It’s kind of shiny and colorful, usually striped or swirly or just little round pieces with tiny pictures in the middle. I don’t understand how they still make this candy, I mean I understand literally because I’ve seen that particular episode of Unwrapped… but does anyone really eat it?

We used to do Christmas Eve at my great-grandparents’ house every year. We would drive out to their farm, eat a big dinner and then open presents. Great-Grandma B always had a crystal bowl of that old fashioned candy sitting out. I would just look at it most of the time. Standing in the room alone, staring at the bowl. I thought the candy was far too pretty to actually eat… each piece reminded me of a tiny tree ornament. Inevitably I would sneak just one piece… not sure why I was sneaking because obviously Great-Grandma B put the bowl out for a reason, but the candy was so beautiful that I felt guilty. I would sit on the floor until the single piece melted in my mouth entirely, and then I would rejoin the family.

Then we’d drive home, me in the backseat surrounded by my plunder of stuffed animals and board games, plaid jumpers, fuzzy socks, and my first camera (a Kodak 110). I’d watch the Christmas lights fly past the window in a colorful blur until I fell asleep.

Heartwarming, right?

I saw that candy today and my eyes got kind of watery right there in the store. My great-grandparents have obviously passed away since then and while I do miss them, I was more lamenting the idea that things were never going to be that way again. We would never go back there for Christmas Eve, and I probably won’t ever feel as content and carefree as I used to on the ride home… the best I can hope for is a new tradition.

My boyfriend’s parents, sister, and Granny D always go to the Chinese buffet on Christmas day. Last year was my first year being able to attend, and I will be tagging along again this year… I kind of scoffed at the idea initially because who gets Chinese food on Christmas? But being part of a tradition and spending time with the people who care about you most is nothing to scoff at. It’s also not something to suffer through… enjoy each moment while the opportunity lasts.

I’ll even endure the awful music blaring at Macy’s, and I’ll fight the crowds for the perfect gift. I’ll learn to laugh at the things that irritate me and move on, because really, it’s only once a year.

As for my family, we’ve started going to my dad’s sister’s house to spend Christmas Eve with her family.  And I bought the old fashioned hard candy, if you’re wondering. I’m thinking about putting a bowl of it out at my aunt’s house this year. I don’t even care if anyone eats it.

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