I told myself that Christmas had to wait until after Thanksgiving. Necessary shopping, such as gifts and an artificial, 4 foot, pre-lit Christmas tree (on sale at Michael's for $20), could be done, but Christmas music, decorations, and the like were completely off limits until AFTER Thanksgiving.
I don't know what it was exactly... It might have been going to see "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" It might have been the discovery that 99.9KEZ was playing their Christmas music...the fact that the boxed up Christmas tree was taunting me...the fact that the neighbors upstairs had their Christmas tree up...perhaps even the simple fact that it was cold outside... I don't know, but I do know that my justification was that we needed to wrap presents for the Brown Family Thanksgiving/Christmas celebrations the following week and Christmas present wrapping just isn't allowed unless there is a tree up and Christmas music playing.
I also know that Tony thought I was going to have a conniption, or maybe he knew I was having one.
con·nip·tion: [kuh-nip-shuhn] a fit of hysterical excitement
Whatever the case may be, Saturday was the day. We went and bought wrapping paper and those cute little sticky gift tags. We pulled out the ornaments and Grandma Carter's olive wood Nativity. We rearranged the living room so that our Christmas tree could have a home. We created a Christmas music playlist on iTunes and turned it up. The Christmas tree went up. The blue ornaments (previously used as centerpieces at our Arizona wedding reception) went on, along with the red apple ornament Tony has had since childhood. It was perfect! The presents were wrapped, pictures were taken, and then the lights went off and I sat in awe as I looked at my little Christmas tree and realized that this was the best getting-ready-for-Christmas-hoopla I had ever had. I was just Husband and me and it was perfect. I was in love...with my Christmas tree...with my husband...with the holiday season...for a chance to focus my thoughts upon my family and, more importantly, upon my Savior, Jesus Christ.
I love the holidays. They remind me to be grateful. They remind me to be compassionate and giving. They remind me of what life is all about. Let the celebrations begin, but let us not forget what matters most.