There’s always that moment when you feel the first frisson of excitement. It might happen when you hear a few strains of a Christmas song in a shop or when you see a car driving down the road with a tree tied on top. It might be when you bring out the first box of decorations from the attic or bake the first batch of Christmas cookies. Whatever it is, you know the excitement will continue to build throughout December with every ornament hung, gift purchased, and carol sung.
I come from a family that gets carried away with Christmas. On both sides. My grandmas’ Christmas preparations would’ve given Mrs. Claus a run for her money. They sewed, baked, knit, shopped, cooked, decorated, and entertained their way merrily through December, supported by husbands, children, friends, and relatives delighted to share in the excitement. No one was at all surprised when I wrote a Christmas book; it probably seemed inevitable after being raised with so much jollity.
The December when Tim and I got engaged, Grandma Charlotte gave him a little album filled with photos from my life right up to and including when I introduced him to her and Grandpa Ed. She included this photo taken on Christmas Eve one year, and I love that someone captured the excitement I remember feeling at her house as a small child—and continued to feel years later when I had children of my own. And, of course, that’s where so much Christmas magic happens: when we get to experience all the wonder again through the eyes of children.
This year, we kicked off the Christmas season promptly at 7:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving with the first official viewing of “Elf.” (Yes, there will be more viewings.) Who doesn’t love Buddy’s unfettered, absolutely unapologetic excitement about everything Christmas-related? “SANTA! Oh my God! Santa, here?! I know him! I know him!”
So make those snow angels and eat that tube of cookie dough. Sing loudly for all to hear and play all the games you can. Let yourself be carried away with excitement.