Blog Post No. 422
As a child, Christmas was a magical time. I distinctly remember staring at the clock, waiting for it to be early enough for me to get out of bed and go dig through my stocking while my parents somehow pulled themselves out of bed and got ready for the day. (I say somehow from the perspective as an adult now looking back). I always had trouble sleeping. Many nights little Ben would sit up in his bed quietly playing with stuffed animals or listening to tapes on his Realistic tape recorder. (I spent too much time looking for the exact model and I think it was this Radio Shack one). On Christmas nights, I don’t think I slept at all.
I’d like to think that as a teenager I was more mature and didn’t get so excited over getting presents. I was a bit of a spoiled brat as a kid, but when I was a little older, I could at least hide it better. I will say, I started to see how giving gifts and spending time with family were as important as the cool teen gifts I was asking for. (Like portable CD players). At some point, staying in bed for five more minutes became the most important, but I have no idea what age that was. Probably some time in University.
I’m sure my friends with kids will say that the holidays are exciting all over again, but for me, it’s mostly just another day dedicated to family time. It’s still nice to get gifts and I love giving the perfect present (when I can think of something good). I even love the holiday food (the quantity as much as the quality). The most important thing about Christmas now, though, is taking the time to be thankful for the wonderful people in my life, and spending a nice day with my family. I can be a very selfish person and I am always focused on my own thing. The more days on the calendar focused on my family (and making me look outward) the better.
I am lucky to have such a great, loving, and supportive family. I appreciate everything they do for me, even when it’s just having my back in case I need it. Even more luckily, I like my family. I like spending time with them, but it’s so easy to get caught up in the detritus of daily life and weeks will go by without talking or visiting. (Especially this year). As much as my folks tell me to stop by any time, they are busy people and a good forty percent of the times I have dropped by, they aren’t home. Scheduling a visit is the easiest way to make sure I do get to spend time with them. Holidays like Christmas are an anchor that keeps us together. The day itself doesn’t matter, but the time spent together does. It could all happen on December 18th and nothing would be different from my perspective). Though, the potential to have time off from work makes it easier.
This year isn’t going to be a traditional holiday. Not that my family is terribly traditional. Usually it’s spread over a few days of cocktails, breakfasts, diners, and quiet afternoons exchanging gifts. This year, it will be very closely controlled and while there will be an exchange of gifts, I’ll miss the overconsumption of food. My mom did send over some baked goods, though, which were a lovely treat.
It’s hard to match the excitement of being a kid on Christmas morning, but I think I like being an adult at Christmas better. I can connect with my parents on a different level. Petty things like who got the best gift and whether or not my brothers will share don’t matter. It’s just about spending time together. It’s been harder than ever to visit with family, and I haven’t seen any of my friends in person since February, but this time of year makes me stop and think about all of them. I really am a lucky guy.