For the past 22 years, that view above — the view from the top of my stairs — has been what my sister and I have looked upon each Christmas morning as we waited in desperate anticipation to see what Santa left us. At 25, I will still perch on the top step with Katie, listening for the familiar sounds of my parents rising; the coffee pot whirring to life; lights flicking on in a darkened kitchen. I will still check to see if Santa ate the sugar cookies we left for him, or if he sipped from his “special mug” of 2 percent milk.
Katie and I will don our Santa hats, the ones we ordered at an elementary school holiday carnival when I was 10 years old. Our names are spelled out in glitter with the edges of each letter now frayed, exposing the Elmer’s glue underneath. That doesn’t bother me. When it comes to Christmas decor, it doesn’t matter if it’s worn and old and breaking. It’s an emblem of tradition, of years gone by — years I someday hope to share with my own children. That old Santa hat is my history.
As I have every year since my birth, I will spend this Christmas with my family — the people who see me day in and day out at my best, worst and everything in between. The only difference this year is, of course, that I’m in love — for the first time in a long time, and with someone I’d never met until this year. Spencer will be with his family in New York on Christmas Day, but we’ll be together on New Year’s Eve. I fully intend to kiss him at midnight, and hopefully at many midnights to come.
I’ve loved sharing the holidays with my friends near and far, and the influx of Christmas cards and letters have brought on plenty of smiles and a few tears, too. I’m very fortunate to be closing out this year and holiday season with so many people I love, admire and am fortunate to call my friends.
I’m wishing you a very happy holiday and merry Christmas, and am posting this with warm wishes that 2011 will bring us all great things.