Nostalgia is an emotion I feel very strongly and often – especially around Christmas. I feel lucky that the Christmas holidays were among my happiest memories of childhood. These memories are made up of so many tastes, sound and smells. I recall Elvis' Blue Christmas, Nat King Cole, and hilariously – Boney M.; gorging myself on my mom's delicious lemon and orange pinwheel cookies, chocolate-covered coconut & peanut butter bonbons, drinking too much eggnog (sans rum of course).
I have memories of that perfect kind of soft snowy nights – when everything becomes very quiet & still; twinkle lights, small cozy rooms with family & friends sitting on every available seat; impatiently waiting on the landing looking at the gifts under the tree with my siblings at 6am, my parents taking a ridiculously long time getting up (they had no doubt been up until 4am wrapping presents). Another Christmas years later we were piled into bed with an embarrassing collection of Chicken Soup for the Soul books and reading them late into the night, hearts warm with good will for all humankind.
As I get older I try to maintain a few meaningful traditions that remind me of all those Christmases long ago- whether it's watching all my old favourite holiday movies (Home Alone, One Magic Christmas, and It's a Wonderful Life), making my grandmother's dressing recipe or hanging an old family ornament on my tree. While there are many reasons to be cynical this time of year I feel that at its best, this month serves as a reminder for me to think beyond my own needs and wants and give to the people I love most through meaningful gifts or acts of service.
Regardless of what festivities or celebrations you're taking part in this year I hope it's filled with plenty of shared meals, laughter, time with your nearest and dearest, and that these memories sustain you throughout the coming winter months.
Merry Christmas, Joyous Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah, and Season's Greetings!