Each year that Christmas comes around and the older I get, the "feeling" of Christmas keeps decreasing. It's like a birthday, it's supposed to be this huge epic event, a day unlike other days, astronomical, other worldy even. It's supposed to "feel" different. Your body, your energy, the air around you, has a feeling that you want to be engulfed by. Consumed.
Then I started to think about the things that were missing that I felt like I should be "feeling". When you're younger the feeling you have is anticipation. It's a month in your school year, that does, feel different. There are Christmas breaks, secret Santa's, Snowball dances, and a general lack of focus in classes...because everybody at that point just wants to get to the day where they get their favorite pair of nikes, or a sweet XBOX game in their hands. The feelings are based off of the familiarity of tradition, the anticipation of "things", the slower pace, and the oppotunity to, even if you're 15, have the childlike enthusiasm that Christmas has reminded you of having every year.
Then you're an adult...you're "in" your life, there are no snowball dances, the Secret Santa's are either obsolete, or you're trading bath salts with a coworker who's name you barely know. The pace isn't slow, it's stressful. Finances are strained and each day, closer to vacation feels like years...long hours and restlessness.
You forget to look at the Christmas lights and bless the heavens if you actually have time to put up your own. Christmas movies are the last thing on your mind, because by the time you have a free moment you'd prefer mindless TIVO'D shows like Real Housewives of the OC. Forget it's A Wonderful Life, THEIR life is wonderful.
So tonight, Christmas Eve...I looked around the room. The joy was palpable. My family, food on the table, uncomfortably full bellies, storytelling and warmth. A feeling that you don't necessarily notice when you're young...you're too busy trying to put together your new toy, or find the missing parts to your Polly Pocket Fairy Land.
The "feeling" of Christmas was absolutely there....it was just BETTER.
I wasn't expecting gifts, I barely remembered that were exchanging them at all. I wanted to listen and drink in every word that came out of my families mouths. I wanted to take mental note of every story, and visualize their experiences as if I were there. If only there were reminders everyday to let us remember that THAT is what it is supposed to be about...it's much too easy to get caight up in the worry, the stress of making your casserole jut right, or worrying that your gift isn't enough. Though every store, every street, has reminders that we should be jolly and FEEL Christmas...it's remembering that everyday, family, or the people you love make Christmas what it is. Not the gifts, not the extra strand of lights over the garage, not "Elf" or "Christmas Vacation" (though, those are fantastic films, that should always be present)...It's not about any THING.
It's simply the joy of a day. A day with incredible history, tradition, and love. And I absolutely FELT all of that tonight.