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Blog Posts

christmas nostalgia

Christian Clarke

photograph by erwan hesry

photograph by erwan hesry

it seems like every year that goes by the holiday spirit reaches me a little less and i start to sympathize with the grinch a little more. it blows my mind because as a kid i used to looove christmas. like wait up all night for my family to wake up, love christmas. i didn’t even mind spending money to buy things for everyone. i would save up all the money i could throughout the year and spend all of it on christmas. to be honest, most of the gifts were kind of crummy. i mean, come on, i was a kid, but people still smiled opening them knowing that i had worked my hardest to find gifts they would at least get some use out of. this year, the thing i've been looking forward to the most is a day off from work; how have i sunk this low? 

last weekend i was hanging out with some friends and we were all talking about christmas reminiscing on our favorite memories. all of our stories revolved around the actual day of christmas, but when my last friend spoke she put all of our stories to shame. she said:

my favorite christmas memory has little to do with the day itself. my christmas story is one of preparation and tradition. rather than being a story it’s…it’s…it’s a lifestyle. something we do every year that may seem cumbersome at the time but brings us all great pleasure. we never had an actual christmas tree, there weren’t very many in florida really…and my dad was too cheap. what we did have though was this tall artificial tree, it was lush and beautiful…for the first two years. with time, the pine needles start to fall off and the tree looked a little hungry you know? it was a tree that you had to put the individual branches on to build it and it was such a long process. my mom hated it because we always got the pine needles everywhere. so it was something special i had with my dad and we looked forward to it each year. we would put on our favorite christmas cd the only christmas cd i’ve listened to my entire life. i would only want to play the first 9 songs because i hated the last 6 songs. so we had this repetitive argument, but i always won. it was nice to sit with him and carry on something that we’ve been doing for as long as i can remember. every garland, every ornament, even the strings of lights had their own stories— had their own memories... and every year i broke something. it wouldn’t be christmas without all of that.

we thought she was finished there and were getting ready to transfer the conversation to how much we didn’t want to spend money but then she continued.

the funny thing is, that isn’t my favorite thing about christmas. my favorite thing is thinking about the future, think of all the new traditions i’ll start with my kids and husband, think about the silly arguments we’ll have about who should put the star on top and who gets to pick the color scheme of the tree this year. it’s kind of embarrassing but i wrote a little story about it when i was ten and i read it every christmas morning. it is singlehandedly my favorite christmas story and i can’t wait until it’s more than that.

she looked at the rest of us and blushed when she finished telling her story. i felt the guilt and shame that the next thing i was planning to say was how little i wanted to spend money and looking at the faces of the rest of my friends, i could tell they were feeling the same. she gave me a new lease on christmas, helped me find that holiday spirit that has been out of reach and gave me a new found excitement to create memories this christmas and think of the future.