I have a confession to make. I don't actually love Christmas day, I always feel let down.
I love December. I love the lead-up to Christmas. The baking, the wrapping, the TV specials and Christmas movies (I think I could recite every word of both The Santa Clause and Elf), and of course, the decorations. Plugging my tree in was the first thing I did whenever I walked in the door. But Christmas day, I could most times do without.
Beyond the tree and the baking and Will Ferrell in tights, my favorite part is finding the perfect present for someone. I shop all year long. I have a spreadsheet to keep track of what I've purchased, but it's the spur-of-the-moment, didn't-expect-to-buy present that puts me in the holiday mood.
I was dating someone early in the fall, nothing serious. We decided to just be friends, and have honestly been better friends than we were at dating each other. When I saw something that I knew he would enjoy, I bought it. But because we're not dating anymore, because we've only known each other a few months, I wondered if he would think that it was too much, that I'm hoping for more, that he would get weirded out in a boy way. And up until I actually handed it to him, wrapped in Charlie Brown Christmas paper, did I wonder if I should actually give it to him. But I did give it to him.
He said that his parents had sent him money for Hannukah, that he'd gotten some baked items from co-workers, but this was his only real gift, his only package to open this year. And honestly, it was nothing huge -- a tin of cookies (a variety of fabulously decorated cookies, I might add) and a book about Fenway's 100th anniversary. But I could see how touched he was, how genuinely happy he was.
And that's what I love about Christmas, that's the moment I wish for every year. He said he felt bad that he hadn't gotten me anything, and I told him that's not the point. I saw something that made me think of him, that I knew he would like, and I got it for him. That's what I do, that's what I love, that's who I am. And he got it, too.
It was my Christmas moment that I hadn't gotten on Christmas Eve or Christmas day. And I had actually been in a bah humbug mood on Christmas day, for lots of reasons but I think, without realizing it, it was because sometimes opening presents can be chaotic and I don't always get that moment I wish for. But this year, after a couple beers at the Bandwagon Pub, my Jewish friend gave me my Christmas moment.