It’s a perfect 68 degrees in Austin right now and my Christmas tree looks strangely out of place next to my T-shirt, open window and the palm tree outside of it. After several years in Texas I guess a part of me is still not used to the holidays without snow or fully adapted to some of the changes in my life that seem to be more apparent with the season. Still etched in my brain is the idea of a cold, white Christmas snuggled up by a fire, wearing ridiculously colored fuzzy socks and rolling my eyes at my family’s idiosyncrasies while we smile and laugh gaily over some festive drink like Bailey’s on the rocks or spiced wine. I’m not really sure where the image in my head comes from as my holidays growing up were a vast array of different experiences, mostly not resembling that.
Some of them were lavish parties at my grandparents house involving a 12 foot table overflowing with food, over 200 people speaking blends of Turkish, Greek and English, roller skating and ping-pong in the basement and a drawer of silk nightgowns to choose from before sleepily tracing the wallpaper with my finger in “The Blue Room” as I drifted off to sleep. Some of the holidays were spent with my immediate family exchanging glances with my sister in squirmy silence as Dad read bible passages and stated that, despite the mountain of beautifully wrapped boxes already under the tree, it may be ungodly for us to give gifts at Christmas. Awkward.
I’ve spent holidays alone with my dog eating pastries and drinking wine, with strangers and in complete misery because I can’t handle one more football game, holidays with other peoples families when I wasn’t welcome with my own, holidays drunk in a bar because my boyfriend was “asleep” with a naked girl all over him and really the list goes on. Yet every year the magic of the season washes over me and I feel excitement and hope bubbling up. The Buddha next to my Christmas tree displays just how much I disregard convention and this year as the end of the season approached I found myself wishing for just a few things and hungry to create my own unorthodox traditions. Instead of the fictitious picture I held in my head for so long of what Holidays should be, I allowed myself to open up to the possibilities of what they could be.
This year I wished to be surrounded by people I love. I wished to open just one gift without thought of what it would be, because after all the best part is unwrapping the present. Lastly, I wished for some surprise happy event–a Christmas miracle. Sure it’s cheesy, but cheese is delicious and when you look for the magic in life, it magically appears. I’m taking my first trip home for Christmas in over 5 years which is sure to be an adventure and to this day being around my family is like a situation comedy that will no doubt provide some great stories! I’m looking forward to the chilly Northeast weather, to spoiling my niece and nephew that have grown like bamboo shoots, hugging my mama and bonding with my sister. People I love? Check. Present? Maybe. Christmas miracle? Stay tuned, there just may even be some Bailey’s on the rocks or spiced wine.