Christmas 2009 was a hit! And, for perhaps the first time in my life, I've felt like, "This was a good Christmas, and I'm glad it's come to a satisfying end," instead of the usual, "What?! That's it? I feel... so empty."
So what changed?
This season didn't have the outlook of being jolly - it came off of a pretty depressing Thanksgiving (where my 91-year-old grandfather, already recuperating from a recently broken hip, broke his wrist the morning of Thanksgiving), plane tickets that were mucho expensive (aren't they always?) and they edited out my favorite line from A Charlie Brown Christmas ("All I want is what I've got coming to me. All I want is my fair share."). Plus, my dog's still dead, and I don't think she's coming back.
But because of my grandpa's Thanksgiving trip to the hospital, there was no name-drawing for the family gift exchange, and I thought that made things nicer: everyone's gift was that he'd recuperated and most of us were together. Getting rid of gifts? G'04 it!
Actually, I did get a few gifts from my brother: a Sonic Screwdriver, but also a nice surprise - this Orange Bird pin that he picked up in Disney World...
And I love Orange Bird! I miss the li'l guy.
And getting that Christmas tree? I loved our tree and really enjoyed decorating it throughout the course of the month, either with real decorations or with stuff we've had forever. Having it for a month definitely made me feel like I got my fill of the season, and next year I might wait another week or so (just so it isn't pretty dead by the 26th, as it is now). And I loved making the Kinder Egg Nativity Scene and can't wait for the next one.
I was a bit disappointed to see that most of the old Christmas decorations from my youth (a walrus from Alice in Wonderland, an old lady - probably Mother Goose - riding a duck, one of those vintage Dwarfs I'm always talking about, this Oscar the Grouch head) are no longer with us, but I took it in stride. I wanted to plunder my favorites, but I can let the past stay with the past, and bring on the future with some new decorative traditions, like monkey head coin purses.
Maybe it's the realization that Christmas really is for kids, and rather than thinking that I'm a kid and I deserve Christmas joy for myself, I should try to give it to others. I learned this while watching Elf (for the first time!) last night. It's like, rather than trying to keep returning to Narnia, I have to accept that my time there might be over, and I now have to help others reach that magical Christian land. And maybe that's how I can get back, but it certainly isn't by helping myself.
Since my brother is having a kid soon, next Christmas will be the baby's first Christmas, and that's kind of exciting... even though he'll be too young to appreciate or understand anything.
Things I look forward to: pretending to be Mickey Mouse or Santa Claus on the telephone, which is what my uncle used to do to me. And I never stopped believing. Even now, knowing it was fake, I don't forget the wonder I experienced when talking to the two most important men in the world.
I guess that's why I became a bit jaded - I still want my phone call from Mickey Mouse, but of course that's not gonna happen, and so I stand around going, "That's it?" But what better way than to become Mickey Mouse? And to eventually become Santa? That's my plan.
So, like wisely deciding against thirds on that lasagna and ham we had last night, I feel good that Christmas is just about done. I don't wanna push it or anything. There's still Sarah's return home in a few hours and we'll exchange gifts, but all in all, what a hit! I feel like Ebenezer Scrooge felt after he got that World's Greatest Boss mug.