I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and you’re feeling less stuffed than your turkey by now.
It’s funny how once we wrap up one of the biggest holidays of the year we must somehow keep the momentum going for December’s holiday line-up.
Although the song says it’s the most wonderful time of the year, it’s also the most hectic time of the year. But even with that being said, I do love the holiday season.
It’s the baking of Christmas cookies, visiting the Christkindle market at Daley Plaza (a must!), cooking with my family on Christmas Eve, and of course, making merry with my loved ones that I love so much about the season.
I’m a gigantic sucker for nostalgia so I’m thankful for holiday films like Christmas Vacation and Prancer to make me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. And yes, my family totally rips on me for my love of Prancer. But who doesn’t love a young Sam Elliott? He was hot.
The holiday season wouldn’t be complete for me without a trip to The Goodman Theater’s A Christmas Carol. Every year I buy two tickets. One for myself and one for a special guest. It’s one of my favorite annual traditions. This year I’m bringing my niece, Mia, for her thirteenth birthday. I’m hoping she doesn’t think it’s lame.
Scrooge’s story always reminds me that life is short, that our pasts do not have to define our present or our futures, and that no matter what happens in life, you can always reroute it for the better.
Things were so much simpler back then as well. Think of Bob Cratchit’s family…they had nearly nothing, but the truth is, they had everything. They had one another. Ok, Mia is for sure going to think I’m lame for how many tears will squirt out during the play.
But that’s what the holidays do, they drum up a plethora of emotions. Excitement, anxiety, sadness, just to name a few. It’s that interesting time of the year when one can feel both celebratory and sad all at the same time.
I remember the first Christmas without my mom. I floated through that holiday season, in fact, I barely remember it. The “firsts” are really hard, but somehow, someway we make it through them.
Every Christmas I celebrate June’s spirit by doing things she used to do. Things like placing fake candles in my window sills (it’s so hygge), I bake her cookie recipes, and watch her favorite movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. Ok, Jimmy Stewart was pretty good looking too.
I often find that a jaunt outside all bundled up is the perfect opportunity for a walk and talk with my dead mom. Right at dusk when all the lights begin to twinkle for the evening, I take a stroll and fill her in on my life. I guess you can say she’s my very own Ghost of Christmas Past.
I miss when my mom would bribe me with extra presents if I’d wrap all of her Christmas gifts for her. Being a sucker for a good bribe, I always took her up on the offer.
Moms, use this tactic on your child. It works and you’ll have one less thing to do.
As we shift into Christmas mode, I encourage you to reach out to someone who may need a message of love and support, keep the spirit of a loved one alive by recreating one of their holiday traditions, and lastly, to be gentle with you. We’re all doing our best to be in the spirit of things, but it’s very okay if you’re not.
Before I leave you, please shop local this year. There are so many wonderful shops in both La Grange and Western Springs that would love your holiday support. The next best gift and one you don’t have to bribe a FedEx driver for, the gift of an experience. Those are some of the best and will create memories to last a lifetime.
Wishing you all a very cozy holiday!
The Sister Project
*This article was originally written for Hillgrove Avenue Magazine. We are so grateful to be monthly contributor
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