My favorite holiday is usually Thanksgiving, but something was missing this year. My mom, for starters. I don’t get to go home as much, so I missed her more when she disappeared to Vegas. What really bothers me is that my favorite holiday has been overtaken by the commercialization of Christmas. Santa has been a part of the Macy’s Day Parade for years, and that’s fine. But “Black Friday sales” that start 3pm Thursday – that’s what gets me heated. At 3pm on Thursday, you should be with your family, getting ready for the biggest meal of the year. This holiday season just hasn’t been very magical for me so far, but I’m holding on to hope for Christmas. I’m trying to get back to the real meaning of the holidays by reflecting on the things that I am grateful for in my life.
My Sisters – They frustrate me because we love each other. At the end of the day, they have my back. We’ve been thick as thieves since I was born. I could write about Kasey and Chandler for days, but you can read a little bit about our relationship here.
My Family – They raised me to be the woman I am today. I’m very thankful that my family is as close as it is. Because of this, I call several places home. I don’t see them as often as I would like, but I’m glad the holidays bring us together.
My Friends – There’s the family you’re born into and the family that you make for yourself.
My Education – Not everybody gets to go to college. And not everybody gets to choose where they go. (p.s. – shoutout to Erin Birm for the ornaments)
Mother Nature – Whenever I’m stressed or need to clear my head, or just want to enjoy my day, I go outside. I go for a hike or a run. I find somewhere to sit and stare at the ocean or hide in the woods listening to water trickle down the creek. I have never felt a better connection to my soul than when I immerse myself in nature.
Beer – I like the bars at school better on Sunday and Monday nights or during the offseason because I would rather sit and make conversation over a few beers than participate in what someone accurately referred to as a grown up frat party. There’s something extremely relaxing about cracking open a beer after a long day at work.
Porches – Until this year, I never fully understood the magic of sitting with good friends in the summer and people watching. With or without a good beer.
Twinkle Lights – They make me believe in magic.
My Job – My job is hard. I have to be able to work with people because I like to work with animals. It can be stressful at times, but I have learned so much. My passion lets me know that I’m in the right field. It can be an emotional job, but the rewards can be so worth it.
Puppy Kisses – They’re the best kind. I dare anybody to challenge that fact. It doesn’t matter that I know where their mouths have been. What matters is that a little affection from a four legged friend never fails to make me giggle. I’m convinced that dog saliva has some kind of restorative healing properties. There’s not many things that a good snuggle and a few puppy kisses can’t fix.
Chocolate Chip Cookies – They make me think of home. Of my childhood. Of my mom. My sisters. The one time a year my mom bakes is when she makes oatmeal chocolate chip cookies around Christmas. On Black Friday, I turned on Christmas movies, put up a Christmas tree, and made five dozen chocolate chip cookies. By the time I get to the cookies, I’ve usually eaten too much dough to be interested. Until tomorrow. They’re the ultimate comfort food.
This is not an all-encompassing list but a collection of thoughts. Christmas is about family, giving back, and being appreciative for what you have. This is the first time I will ever be waking up alone on Christmas morning. But I get to bring Christmas joy to the all the little nuggets whose families left them in my care for the holidays. Puppy kisses will be the first present that I receive on the 25th. And then I get to see my sister who only comes home once or twice a year. When I get there, I’ll see my family, crack open a cold beer, and eat way too many chocolate chip cookies. I’m working on carrying the holiday spirit with me, rather than trying to find it in external sources. I hope that everyone finds Christmas this year.