This may sound really sad, but ever since I graduated from college in 2007, I haven't felt the same Christmas spirit as I did the first 23 years of my life. Blame it on age, blame it on being a real, hardworking adult...really, I could blame it on a lot of things.
When you're not in a school setting, Christmas just isn't as prevalent. As a proud member of choirs for most of my life, I would look forward to performing in the holiday concert every year in elementary school, Jr. High, High School and on to College. Now, I am no longer singing christmas carols with my best friends day in and day out, and that really makes me sad.
Then there's the time off of work issue. I usually had a week off of
school around the holidays through High School and then an ENTIRE MONTH
off in college. It doesn't get much better than that. Now, it's time off
for Christmas Eve (if I'm lucky) and Christmas. How's that for joy?
I could also blame it on my parents. Damn them for creating such a warm
Christmasy environment in our home each year! Damn my mom for baking
countless Christmas cookies. Damn my dad for getting up at 6am every
single Christmas morning to make a fire in the fireplace, Nat King Cole
playing on the cd player, the video camera set up on its trusty tripod,
all before my sister and I even woke up.
Then there is the Christmas "Culture". You would think that being in New York puts me at the best possible advantage for live theater and music, and trust me, it does. But believe it not, I grew up in a really culturally rich part of Pennsylvania with amazing community theater and National Tours. I would see A Christmas Carol at my local community theater almost every year in Pennsylvania, and often knew many of the people in it. Nothing put me more in the Christmas spirit than going to see this show with my family and friends each year. I even went on one of my first dates ever in 8th grade with my first boyfriend...I'm pretty sure we even held hands that night ;) My mom also took my sister and I to see the Nutcracker every year. These performances were great, and it was so easy to hop in a car and drive 20 minutes to the show then drive back home. Seeing a show in the city is a bit more of an ordeal for us since we are so far out of Manhattan - not to mention, much more costly. I liked the small town feel of our community theater, I liked bumping into friends at these performances and often knowing people actually performing in them. You don't get that in Manhattan.
That all being said, none of this is to say that I hate New York or one is better over the other. (I can just see my mom reading this now thinking "Finally, this is it! She's moving back to PA so she can have the Christmas she grew up with!") I think, and honestly hope, that most people had a good enough childhood to look back on their holidays with fondness and a little pang of sadness for what was. No matter what, even if I was living on my own in Pennsylvania, even if Chris and I were living out in California...things would be different now, and that's ok. I have to start making Christmas in New York and with my husband and Zoey as memorable for me as it is when I look back on the Christmas's of my childhood. I need to start creating the Christmas that I want my children to look back on so fondly when they are my age.
1. Pick the things I loved most about Christmas in Pennsylvania
2. Meld with the things Chris loved most about Christmas in New York
3. Pepper in a few new traditions that we'd like to create ourselves
A Christmas worthy of being nostalgic for years from now.
And Mariah Carey's Christmas album. Mariah Carey is a must :)