A not-so-steady stream of consciousness about evergreen trees and wrapping paper.
December's theme is "Baby It's Cold Outside". It's a phrase that is as nostalgic (of a certain elf named Buddy and a crooner named Michael) as it is representative of the weather in some parts of the world during this bittersweet month. It reminds us that although we may think of ourselves as independent humans taking on the world, we still crave protection from heartbreak and all things to come again with the new year on its way. Teens of our generation are constantly challenging stereotypes adults place on us, but we can't forget our childhood. Unwrapping presents still makes our heart beat fast, pilsbury butter cookies (with the little snowmen on them) still make us drool and it's impossible to text with mittens on but we do it anyway.
I can vividly remember my childhood Christmas holidays. At first thought, a blur of lights and stuffed stockings pass through my mind, accompanied by the faintest smell of baking (that wasn’t for us) and the constriction of those scratchy stockings with the too-short crotch, ending mid thigh and forcing me to walk around with an eternal wedgie. I remember our old house, decorated in its entirety; by the first week of December all decorations were hung and everything was in it’s perfect place. Simply put, It was magical and my favourite time of year. Although I am Christian, Christmas was never about Christ back then, as a result of my mother being the way she is (always highlighting the least important parts of every event — I attribute my moments of lack of faith to her). All of our traditions were in no way religious or connected to the birth of Jesus — even our nativity scene set up was about how the content was presented, rather than the content itself.
Family was always my least favourite part of celebrating the holiday season. As a child, it was easier to escape the slimy kisses from relatives I couldn’t care less about (let alone know who they were) and focus on the real meaning of Christmas: How many presents did you get? Were they all clothes or did you get that new Beach Barbie with the cruise ship whose feet are too big to fit in the shoes? I still cringe when my mom tells me we are going to Nonna’s house for Christmas because I still don’t really know who any of those people are.
As we got older, I lost interest in the idea of Christmas presents while my brothers still contained the idea that they were entitled to the most presents. AND the presents couldn’t be “shit” either, as my older brother would say. My dad obviously was angered and developed this not-so-strange hate for all things commercial Holiday. I will never understand how my brothers have still not grown up. While my parents and I put together Christmas shoeboxes for children in third world countries and backpacks for the homeless for our church, my brothers create lists of video games they want (which they will still be upset about even if they get). What is this life?
My Christmas is so different from when I was little. I still love all of the Canadian commercial non-religious Christmas jumbo like decorations, stickers and food, but I am not as connected to it as I used to be. I love making crafts with my friends and listening to holiday jazz but I miss the Christmas eve anticipation, the early morning tiptoe downstairs to read Santa’s letter. My family was drawn into the societal ideal that we had to go big or go home when it came to Christmas.
Now, less is more. Now, going home is appealing (Now, the baking is still not for us). Now, a Toblerone and a 20 dollar bill is pretty great. It is strange that something that used to connect us, no longer exists in the same way — all because we simply, grew up. We concentrate on being together and relaxing and being thankful for all we are. Now in the past few years, when I smell the plastic of our fake evergreen as my dad pulls it out from the cellar two days before Christmas, I remember that one year when we had a real tree and how it died three days after we brought it home. I remember feeling so sad — not because the evergreen that was supposed to represent everlasting love did not last forever, but because that was the day I lost my innocence (if you want to be all literary) and the idea that my life was perfect. I lost a little piece of hope. I think I was five.
Thank you to everyone who submitted and to our new team - I am so excited to start off the New Year with you rockin’ gals! To our readers, you girls have been amazing and I wish you a wonderful Holiday Season no matter what you are celebrating or not celebrating for whatever reason you are or are not.