Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sing it, Bing!

"Happy Holiday. Happy Holiday... It's the Holiday Season..."

I love this time of year. It's absolutely the best: trees decorated with sparkly ornaments and colored lights; Icicle lights swinging from the eves; pine scented candles; Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and Bing Crosby crooning from the radio; snow; the neighbor's weird blow-up dancing yard decorations; peeking into people's houses to see their festive decorations, whether they be Trees or Menorahs. 

"...and Santa Claus is coming back; the Christmas snow is white on the ground."

We got one of those crazy snow storms last night, where it snows half an inch, but the wind blows it around like a blizzard. One minute the road's clear, the next there's a wall of snow flying at you at a million miles an hour and everything disappears outside of your windows. Stephen and I went to a wedding last night, held in the same place as our Reception. It was very cool to be at our reception hall almost at our first anniversary and witness the event without the stress of being in the limelight. Emily and Jordan's wedding was absolutely beautiful (Congratulations, again, you two! We're so happy for you!), and Emily looked beautiful, and we had a total blast playing "DJ." Well, I played DJ, Stephen did the actual DJing. 

It was so cold. The wind decided it did not care that I was wearing a wool dress, heavy coat, gloves, scarves, and cut right through it anyways, making me feel like I was sitting at the North Pole in my swim suit. But the snow was beautiful (from the inside, of course) and it made everything feel very "Holiday-esque" - which is my favorite. 

"When old Santa gets into town, he'll be coming down the chimney, down." 

Part of what Stephen calls my "obsession with the Holidays" stems from my strong dislike of change. I like stability, normalcy, and tradition. Every year for Thanksgiving, I want the same foods. Every year for my birthday, I want the same dinner and cake. Every year for Christmas, I actually get to relive all of the old traditions and keep things the same, so it fits perfectly for me. Our tree has the same ornaments as I've always been looking at, I smell the same pine scent, and listen to the same jolly songs. We do Christmas Eve with the Werners and Hamez: eating dinner, having dessert, playing instruments at Mass. 

"It's the Holiday season, and Santa Claus has got a toy for every good girl, and good little boy."

I remember my favorite Christmases. The first was when I was in 2nd grade. Santa brought me the Star Wars trilogy on VHS, and Grandma Mary and Papap got me Molly - my first American Girl doll. She was my favorite because she had glasses and braids. 

The other favorite, Uncle Jim brought Anya for Grandma Mary. I'm not sure it was actually Christmas, it may have been before. Grandma was sick with cancer, and she'd always loved yorkies. Little Anya (unnamed at the time) was so tiny and black and scared! Uncle Jim, Dad, and Papap had some how deceived Grandma into thinking she was getting something like a new recliner, or some piece of furniture. She was so happy to have that little runt climbing up her shoulder. 

I put up most of the ornaments - that is, until Stephen's mom brought over his box of ornaments from her house. He was like a kid! Telling me about all of his really cool ornaments (including a hot wheels one, and a tool box one), and how and where he would put certain ones on the tree when he was little. Like the gold star with his birth stone in it (topaz) - he said he would always put it in front of a yellow light so that the light would shine through. And, you can't forget his really cool snare drum and cymbal ornaments. 

One of his favorite Christmases was when he was younger and in Michigan. He said there were so many people over at his Grandma Gazdag's house that it warranted an adult table and a kids table, and there were lots of cousins from around and across the street over, and even a THIRTY pound turkey. That is a lot of bird. 

"So leave a peppermint stick for Old Saint Nick hanging on the Christmas Tree."

Candy Canes. Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. Carolers dressed in old fashioned garb. Ebenezer Scrooge. "You'll shoot your eye out, kid." Hot Cocoa with Peppermint Schnapps. Sugar cookies. Unmanageable traffic. Cards, cards, cards! Grandma Mary's Christmas tree and Grandma Gazdag's Christmas ornaments hanging on the (overloaded) tree. 

"It's the Holiday season, with a whoop-de-do and hickory dock, 
and don't forget to hang up your sock, cause at just exactly 12 o'clock, 
He'll be coming down the chimney, down."

One of my favorite Holiday traditions is going to The Plaza, eating some cheesecake and watching the carriages drive around in the soft glow of 280,000 lights. It's especially great when it snows. 

Every year since we started dating, Stephen has taken me on a Christmas date to the Plaza (we skipped last year - we had other things going on...the wedding...Jamaica...). The first two years we went to P.F. Changs (yummm I love chinese), then the third year we went to Piropos (and Stephen proposed). This year we're celebrating our first anniversary. We're going back to Piropos for dinner, then down to the Plaza to have cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory and watch the carriages and people. On our actual anniversary, we're eating the top layer of our wedding cake - hopefully it'll be delicious, and not stale and disgusting. 

"Happy Holidays, Happy Holidays." 

This is why we got married in December, even if it was cold, even if there was a chance it would snow and ice and be -14 degrees, effectively stranding every member of our extended family, even if it's a busy time of year anyways, let alone adding a Wedding - we love, we adore the Holidays. What other way could make this time of year better? Celebrating being together, of course. Last Christmas was wonderful - getting married and enjoying our party, being newlywed (for a week), finally getting the time to relax after the worst and most stressful semester ever...but this Christmas season is shaping up to be even more wonderful. Just hopefully it'll snow just as much as it did last Christmas!

"While the merry bells keep ringing, may your every wish come true."

Ah, December. The ringing of the bells in front of Walmart, Home Depot, Target, and every other major chain in the United States...and the weird guy who brings a large bell and tries to beat the money out of your bleeding eardrums. (You'd think after I give him all of my spare change, he'd turn down the volume at least a bit) You don't have to give me a lasting headache to convince me I should give money to the needy - I want to. In the grand scheme of things, we have so much, it feels wrong not to give. 

So yes, shopping can be stressful. The Post Office and The UPS store are busy. Traffic sucks. Lines everywhere, are long, and time consuming. It's expensive. But, you get to hang out with family and friends, wear fun sweaters, listen to music that's only appropriate once a year, eat delicious food and drink warm, yummy drinks. There are two trees in my house adorned with multi-colored lights, delicate ornaments, old and new, with presents wrapped in shiny paper under them. Hopefully, in ten years or so, we can have twelve trees! 

All Anya wants is a new cow!

"Happy Holidays."

"Happy Holidays!" - Our (3/4-of-the-way-done) Tree!

Vanessa, Stephen, and Anya

(P.S. Tracy - doesn't this song just remind you of tap shoes and kick-lines?)

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