Thursday, December 10, 2009

i've lost (maybe?) that lovin' feeling.

I’m having a really hard time getting into the Christmas spirit this year. Maybe because I’m convinced that all the snow will fall before the big day, and, once again, we’ll have a green Christmas here in Pittsburgh. (Wasn’t last year, like, in the 50s?) Not that I wish I lived in Minnesota, where snow probably falls from September to May. No, of course not. But the white fluffy stuff sure would help. Yes, I confess: I want a Courier and Ives Christmas. Is that so wrong?

I don’t even feel like putting up my tree. I don’t feel like making cookies or any of that. Even at work, with decorations oozing out of every corner of my office and Bing crooning at me through Pandora Radio, I just.can’t.get.excited. And I can’t figure out why. I mean, the real reason why.

Is this what happens once you’re, like, not 7 anymore? Christmas just feels like another day.

I miss my grandparents being around at Christmas. I miss the smell of the house as my mom baked her Swedish snowball cookies and pecan nut cups. I miss the magic I felt as we brought the boxes of decorations up from the basement, opening each one as if it were a present itself. I miss putting up the Nativity set, checking the index card my mom left in the box each year that indicated whose turn it was—mine or my older brother’s—to put the baby Jesus in the manger.

I miss decorating the tree with my parents, pulling smaller boxes out of bigger boxes, each labeled “Laura’s Ornaments”, “Geoff’s Ornaments”, or “Mom and Dad’s Ornaments.” I miss unwrapping those ornaments, each one carefully wrapped in tissue paper by my mother the year before (after she dusted each and every single one upon removing it from the tree). I miss being in charge of the strings of lights with my dad, each of us holding onto one end and stretching the strand the whole length of the living room to make sure we got the kinks out.

I miss going to Midnight Mass with my family, snuggling in the car on the way to and from church, giggling about how late it was and ooh-ing and aah-ing at how magical the air felt. I miss—oh, how I miss!—the powerful and majestic voice of my father singing the Alleluia Chorus from our pew while the choir sang in the loft, tears welling up in my eyes because he sounded like heaven itself. I miss sitting around the kitchen table when we got home, eating Christmas cookies and drinking tea by candlelight, my brother and I periodically dashing from our chairs to take one more peek under the tree to decide what the one present would be that we were allowed to open on Christmas Eve.

The other night, I watched part of Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown! on ABC. It brought back so many memories of me and my brother curled up on the living room couch in our house outside of Chicago back in the early 80s, eyes glued to the television as Christmas special after Christmas special aired on every channel of our black and white 16” set. And towards the end of the show, when Linus tells the audience of the Christmas pageant what Christmas is really about, he says this:

Maybe if I listen to Linus again and again over the next several days, the spirit of Christmas will finally fill my heart like it used to. Because my heart swelled a little bit when I heard what he said. I thought to myself How did I—how did we—lose sight of this?

Linus, you’re a very wise man. No pun intended.

with love from Pittsburgh,

1 lovely bits o' feedback.:

krista said...

that ornament picture (the red one) should be your holiday card this year. it is absolutely stunning.