The holiday season is one of my favorite times of the year, and I have many fond memories of Christmas growing up: there’s the year I received a magenta bicycle with shimmery tassels and beads on the tire spokes; the year I tried to make a new cookie recipe every day of December; and the year I ignored all of my presents and spent the entire day making a playhouse out of the giant cardboard box one of my gifts arrived in. I love watching ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and The Year Without a Santa Claus and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer on repeat, and the best part of the year has always been waking up on Christmas morning to a mountain of presents under the tree.
My favorite holiday memory of all is a recent memory, one from my last Christmas at home before leaving for college. When I was a kid, my dad was always drafting plans for our “dream home,” and I remember sitting with him in the family room late at night and sharing my opinions on all of his ideas. It wasn’t until I was 17 years old, though, that my parents were able to build their own home; we’d sold our house after a few weeks of waiting, and our move-in date was set for Christmas Eve. We were spending the days after moving out in a hotel, and the plan was to move in as soon as we could–even if that meant moving in the night before Christmas.
My dad and my sister and I spent Christmas Eve that year driving back-and-forth between our new house and the storage unit, loading and unloading the moving truck late into the night. Around midnight, as Christmas Eve turned into Christmas day, we were finally moved in, and we all decided to have Christmas Eve dinner at Denny’s, the only place that was still open (pancakes and waffles for everyone!). We bought a pack of pre-made chocolate chip cookies on the way home, and we all sat on the family room floor, sharing the chocolate chip cookies, setting up the Christmas tree and laughing about how strange this Christmas already was long into the night.
After the remaining cookies were left out for Santa and his reindeer, and my sisters had gone off to bed, I volunteered to stay up with my parents, helping them wrap the presents and place them under the Christmas tree. We fell asleep on the living room floor around seven in the morning, and we woke an hour later to my younger sisters running down the stairs to open their gifts. I was a part of the Christmas magic that year, and although I was exhausted, it was fun to watch my sisters open all of their presents (and a bit maddening, too–I’d spent a couple hours wrapping those gifts!). It was the year we got a new home for Christmas–the best year yet, and my favorite Christmas memory of all.