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Christmas Memories

This time of year, I'm always reminded of my grandfather, Homer, who used to dress up as Santa and sit in his recliner, belly up and at attention, red hat tilting to the side, watching the Toledo holiday parades on a small television in his living room. I remember stockings full of candy and trinkets: lip gloss, a journal small enough to fit on a key chain, perhaps a key chain... I remember the tree. I even remember realizing that Santa Claus was a calculated sham that the whole cruel world of adults was in on. I remember forgiving the adults. I remember the sticky sap all over everything; the divine smell of it, which stuck to the wrappers of the sweet, colored candy canes that hung from the tree. The thrill that my sister and I would have when we saw it snowing outside. No matter how many times Ohio had seen snow that year, if it snowed on Christmas, it was somehow special.
The model for our gingerbread house.
Image from Amen Resorts

This year, I will be spending my Christmas in Texas with my husband. It will not snow. We'll be constructing the most ridiculous gingerbread house imaginable. He wants to use Rice Krispy Treats for insulation, and we've decided to center the house in the middle of a ginger spice cake which will act as the front and backyard of the estate--which will require us to fashion the thing on candy cane stilts. If things go right, our house will parallel some of the finest in Papua New Guinea. More likely, however, our construction will be a disaster. I am also sure we'll have fun doing it. When we are  finished, I plan to drive around San Antonio, just like I used to drive around Columbus after starting college.

I can't wait to make this new memory with my husband, but I will also take the time to honor the family that I will not see as well as my grandfather, the first Santa I knew. I am most thankful to have this day to slow down and reflect, to cherish what I have and take a break. Christmas, to me, is about the only ritual I honor, but I'm truly enamored by it (especially now, seeing as how I no longer work in retail and have to hear Britney Spears or Justin Beiber singing Jingle Bells all day long). I associate this day more with family than religion, which means that to some, I'm missing the point. But, whether I have it right or wrong, I'm thankful for this holiday. Things are always changing: circumstance, family, finances, and things remain unpredictable day to day... for this reason, as I build my gingerbread house this year, as I watch movies, eat peppermint ice cream and call my family, I'll be all the more thankful for the roof over my own head, the people I love, the time to indulge memories, and the ability to pay a little something forward.

Happy Holidays!

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