I am not an overly emotional person. Correction: I am not a person who shares their emotions very often. I joke that I am emotionally impotent, especially in the presence of my in-laws who are the most emotional people I’ve ever met. (I mean that in a good way. I promise.) That’s not to say that I don’t show happiness or sadness, I just keep it within a small range. Sharing my emotions and the possibility of being vulnerable makes me anxious, even the thought of it makes me crawl with unease so I find it easier to tuck my hardcore feelings in a back pocket and deal with them on my own. There has always been an exception though and that is Christmas. When Christmas and my emotions mix, all bets are off.
Christmas is a special time for me. So many of my family’s traditions and greatest memories are wrapped up in Christmas. I can’t remember a Christmas as a kid where we didn’t spend part of the day at my grandparents’ house, surrounded by the majority of my family, spending time with my cousins who are some of my best friends. I have fond and warm memories of decorating the Christmas tree with my parents, baking cookies with my mom. Everything seems just a bit more nostalgic with the lights glowing on the tree and Christmas songs playing on the radio.
I find myself a little softer around this time of the year. I’m essentially the real life Grinch, minus the criminal activity, who has a heart that grows three times larger in an instant. I’m the person who is biting at the bit to put the tree up as soon as the turkey is cleared from the table. My emotions know no limits from late-November to January. Commercials, movies, songs…they grab at my heart.
Having kids has increased my emotional quotient even more. Watching Christmas unfold before their eyes is magical. For them, it’s a wonderful world, as they learn about the meaning, lore, and tradition of the holiday. It’s nearly impossible not to get wrapped up in the excitement and the simple joy they find in baking cookies, hanging ornaments, listening to songs, and watching movies.
The skepticism and stresses of normal life seem so insignificant when weighed against how easily it is to find the joy in the simple things, the things that matter most…family and friends. I think that’s why my emotions go into overdrive around this time. So if you need me I’ll be tearing up while snuggled up on the couch watching A Charlie Brown Christmas with the kids for the fifteenth time this month.