A disclaimer before I begin: I love Christmas. But even more than Christmas, I love Christmas Eve. The magic in the air! The growing pile of gifts under the tree! The light meals, in anticipation of the feast to come! I’m never filled with more Christmas spirit than I am on this day.
And then, I logged onto Facebook.
“I hate Christmas. HATE. IT.” proclaimed one person. “I’d love to enjoy Christmas, but my family ruins it for me,” exclaimed another.
It was so disheartening.
So to cheer myself up, I took to Twitter: “What’s your favourite December 25th tradition?” I asked openly, hoping to attract the attention of people who enjoy the day.
“Biting one limb each from the gingerbread men on my mom’s tree,” said Liz, proudly. I can’t tell you how much I love this.
“Watching movies until after midnight with my dad, until I have to go wrap presents,” said Johanna.
“RUM PUNCH,” declared Erin (and incidentally, my personal favourite rum punch recipe is here.)
“Scavenger hunt for the big present!” exclaimed Mrs. Commoner, excitedly. (How cool is that?)
“Tamales, of course,” said Amalia. “You can take the girl out of Texas …”
And finally, Dawn admitted, “Since we had kids, I just like that we stay home, with just us. We used to have to be at relatives by noon!”
Here’s what I loved about all these answers: they were all so different, so diverse. None of them particularly invoked images of Norman Rockwell illustrations, yet they all sounded lovely. And so on today, this Christmas Eve, just a little reminder:
You can make December 25th whatever you want it to be — and this is true regardless if you’re Christian or not, or religious or not, or even celebrate or not. Forget the pressure about what Christmas is supposed to be, and make it whatever you want it to be. Want to have steaks or go out to your favourite Chinese restaurant? Then by God, do it. Kind of hate being around family? Then wake up extra early or go for a quiet walk later in the day, and spend some time with you. Make late-night bubble baths a ritual. Take yourself to a movie.
Do whatever it takes to take care of you.
And with that, happy holidays, friends. May your days at the end of this year be filled with cheer — even if it means ignoring all traditions entirely, and creating your own.