The Spirit of the Season or What Christmas Means to Me.

Posted: December 25, 2013 in Op-ed
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When I was growing up, Christmas was a huge deal in my family. My mom always went all out to make sure that the season was a special one for my brothers and myself. Decorations, cookies, candy, Christmas music, Christmas movies, shopping trips, just anything to do with the season was a staple in my house. Even though money was tight and we weren’t overwhelmed with gifts, the season, especially the big day, felt incredibly special. It didnt hurt that the big day was preceded by Christmas parties galore.

There was also a flip side to all of this. Being a child of divorce,  everything tends to be a little more difficult. You would think with two homes that two Christmases and double the presents would be great, but this is not the case. Even though my parents basically hate each other, I would have much rather had a unified family. This experience shaped my intentions and goals as a parent especially where holidays are concerned.

I always loved Christmas when I was growing up, even into my teenage years. When I turned 18, that all changed. I started working retail, entertainment retail to be exact, a part time job while I was attending college. I started a couple of months before the holiday season got into full swing so I didnt quite know what to expect. By the time that first Christmas season was over, I was pretty jaded to the whole thing. Several more years dealing with greedy kids and their “this isn’t the exact thing I was looking for and you don’t have it so you’re a worthless piece of shit and you’re ruining my kids Christmas and you should hate yourself” parents didn’t exactly do much to revive the holiday spirit. Several more years in retail only reinforced my contempt for all things Christmas until one Christmas about three and a half years ago…

My wife and I had found out several months earlier that we were expecting shortly after Christmas. Everything seemed normal going into the season but it seemed as though the closer Christmas got, the more excited I was for it. Could it be? Did my heart grow three sizes that day? Not quite, but my love for the holiday was back in full swing. Music, movies, get togethers, the whole shebang. Then, less than two weeks after Christmas, my son was born.

Today marked my son’s third Christmas and the first one where he really had a good idea as to what was going on. Every year since he was born it seems like I get a little more excited when the big three holidays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, roll around. I love to see his little face light up at decorations, family dinners, Christmas movies, and of course, all the presents. My favorite thing by far though is giving him better Christmases than I ever had. My favorite thing in life is to see him happy and I have never seen him happier than he was last night and today at family gatherings. The overwhelming feeling I get is that these are the memories I will cherish for the rest of my life, the type of memories I will recall with great fondness when my life is drawing to a close hopefully several decades in the future. Long story short, this is how I started loving, hating, and loving, albeit for a totally different reason, Christmas.

I hope the holidays found you and your family healthy and happy as much as it did mine. I hope you have many more to come and make some really special memories with your family and friends. Merry Christmas til next year from my family to yours.

-Heath

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