One of my earliest holiday memories is playing Christmas carols…in July. I would play them on my CD player in my room to help me fall asleep. Sadly for my little sister, Andrea, whom I shared a room with, she didn’t share my same sentiment for Christmas in July. She actually loathed everything about my Christmas obsession. I would press play to Bing Crosby’s greatest holiday hits and settle into bed slowly dozing off to sugar plum fairies and dreams of the North Pole. As I would drift off to Santaland, Andrea, who had mistaken me for sleeping, would slowly and very quietly sneak over to my side of the room to shut off my carols. WRONG. I would wake up immediately and demand she press play…or else. I’m not sure what the “or else” would be as she for sure could kick my ass any day, but somehow, someway, I had one up on her for the time being. Basically, I tortured the poor thing with Silent Nights and loads of Jingle Bells and now she hates Christmas and I still love Christmas. She shall now be known as Sister Scrooge. Speaking of sisters, throughout this post, please allow me to entertain you with photos of Nicole during some of our Christmas celebrations.
Please admire her wine lips..err…beard.
That is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to my obsession with Christmas. After any snow fall in December, I would head out to the backyard first thing the next morning and investigate animal prints I found in the freshly fallen snow. Regardless if it were a squirrel or racoon, to me…it was a reindeer and that meant only one thing, the big guy in red was checking up on me. You guys, I prayed to Santa Claus and literally begged him to prove to me that he was alive and well by giving me a handmade, hand stitched doll of Mrs. Claus and himself for Christmas so that I knew shit was really made in his factory and it wasn’t all a lie. I wanted proof. Alas, I received no such handmade Mr. and Mrs. Santa doll and it was at that time my belief in Santa began to diminish. I was thirteen. There is a catalyst as to why I may have believed in Santa right up until puberty hit, and that reason would be the movie Prancer. Have you seen that movie? You should. And so should your kids. I still watch it every year when I wrap gifts to really bring me back to my Christmas past. And my sisters still rip on me for it. Speaking of wrapping, my mom had me wrapped (no pun intended) around her finger come Christmas time. I was her head elf. She would con me into wrapping every single gift and I mean every fucking last gift, with the promise of one, extra, secret gift for me. So I would do it. Because I love presents. But to be fair, I love giving just as much as receiving, so it’s a win win. As my mom’s number one elf, it was my duty to also count and be sure that each of her kids got the same amount of gifts. Because if I didn’t do it ahead of time, you better believe there would be a count off Christmas morning. No matter how hard she tried to make it fair, Nicky always got the most and biggest gifts of them all. That lucky asshole.
Every year our mom would head out of town for the weekend with a friend that drank a lot of “hot chocolate”- aka straight up vodka from a thermos. We kids didn’t realize this about her sippy cup until years later, yet now it’s no wonder she was always the warmest one during our sledding adventures. In any case, I digress, they would head out for a few days to shop and we were stuck at home with our dad. And when I say stuck at home, I mean a weekend of Ed Debevics, museums galore and pool tournaments! It’s no secret that The Knife is a cool ass dad. When June was out of town he would take us all over the city to every single museum and feed us cheese fries and chocolate shakes. Then we would head home for games like trivial pursuit and pool. It was hands down one of my favorite seasonal weekends of the year. It is also for that very reason I have so much love for this city. He showed us culture and all of the beautiful things this city has to offer and that’s why I live in it. I love Chicago and I especially love Chicago during the holidays.
Oh my God, I can not go another moment without telling this next story. Disclaimer: this is how I recall this situation. One Christmas, Nicole, and her close friend that shall remain anonymous and our brother, Nick, decided to go to midnight mass. Drunk. And not only drunk, but wearing my mom’s fanciest furs. I’m not sure how long they lasted in church or if they got thrown out, but the three left before the end to embark on a Christmas Eve “adventure”. I’m going to fast forward to the next morning. I woke up and our mom was piiiiiiiiiiiiiissed. All I know is that she had opened up our garage door and discovered that Nicole and company had stolen copious amounts of lawn decor. And I’m not talking a giant candy cane and a wreath, I’m talking a Ford Escort full of baby Jesus’, giant inflatables and Christmas shit and statues galore! In classic Junebug fashion, homegirl grabbed her best friend, Lee, and made Nicole recount where everything came from so they can return it to the rightful owner. Now let’s not forget that Nicole and company were hammered, so who knows if the right house got their baby Jesus back and if Minny Mouse was matched back up with the proper Mickey Mouse. However, it’s the thought and effort that counts, right?
I am not entirely certain how my love for Christmas started, but I can promise you that it has not dimmed a bit. Every year I go to Chicago’s Chriskringle Market by myself at least three times during the season so I can be completely engulfed all things Christmas. Since the day after Thanksgiving, I have only listened to carols on the radio and nothing else. No longer do I believe in Santa, however I have been inspired by the legend of him and his spirit to be as giving as possible and to help those less fortunate. What can I say, I fucking love Christmas.
I hope you all are having a wonderful Christmas season and much love to you and your loved ones!
(R-L: Michelle, Nicole (Nicky on her lap), Myself and Andrea)
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