Essentials, Journal

Christmas

My family and I tend to have a pretty minimal Christmas. At least, in regards to decorations. This may misrepresent how important the holiday is for me. But this importance only sprang up a few years ago.

I’m not sure if age brings about a desire for tradition or if it was one singular event that spurred a change in me. But I do recall a particular Christmas that seemed to come and go a little too quickly. Before I realized it, I was back at work after New Year’s. This seemed to spin me around from a bit of a Scrooge to more of a Clark Griswald.

Because the very next Christmas, I decided to create some traditions of my own so I could mark the holiday. Some of them included: listening to holiday music and putting out decorations the Sunday after Thanksgiving, watching select Christmas movies throughout the month of December (just to amp up that good ol’ Christmas feeling), and listening to David Sedaris’ “Santaland Diaries” on Christmas morning. Now that I’m a father, even more traditions are in the works.

I may have made it sound like I’m now decorating my home like Clark in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Maybe that’s coming but right now we just have a box with a few Christmas decorations (However, this year I bought some lights for the TV stand and outside so we may need a bigger box soon.) We also have a box for our miniature tree. There are plans to remedy the fake tree, but it wasn’t until this past Christmas that we realized real miniatures might be available. And we’ve already decided to have a full-size tree once we move out of our apartment.

We keep our wrapping paper in an “under bed storage system.” (That’s the language they use in the product description. I guess they’re right. It’s not a box exactly because it zips up. So, it’s a storage system that goes under the bed. But we don’t keep ours under the bed.) It’s standing in a closet for easy access because we use it for birthday wrapping paper and other miscellaneous gift bags as well.

As you can tell, keeping decorations and all Christmas paraphernalia organized and to a minimum is still pretty important to me. Christmas music, Christmas cookies, Christmas cocoa, and Christmas presents are much more critical. However, I am looking for a good Christmas sweater. If I can find the right one, I wouldn’t mind adding the tradition of wearing one every Christmas day.

photo: Caleb Woods

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Justin Meckes is a writer and filmmaker living in Durham, NC. His stories have been published in various online journals and magazines. He has ghostwritten a sci-fi novel and is the author of several children's books. You can reach him by sending an email to contact@justinmeckes.com.