I used to be a huge grinch. OK, not completely grinchy, but not in love with Christmas, either. My dad and I traveled every year, and after a while, we didn’t see the point in putting up our little Christmas tree. We weren’t going to be home, anyway.
It’s not that I don’t have really special memories of the holiday — most of them involve me and my dad, driving from Ohio to Rhode Island through the night, listening to “A Very Special Christmas” and stopping at a truckstop in Pennsylvania for hot chocolate. Then we would roll into my sister’s house around 7 a.m., sleep for a while, and enjoy our holiday weekend there.
They were lovely holidays. Just bookmarked by 12-hour drives and the reminder that we were so far away from family. Sweet tinged with sad. Probably like most holidays.
My husband Philip loves Christmas. When I met him, he already owned not only a huge collection of Christmas music but more than one pair of Christmas socks. It was a little disturbing.
We had a few arguments about the tree when we moved in together — I couldn’t understand wanting a real one. He couldn’t understand a fake. Because he loves Christmas more, he won.
We get a real tree every year.
But he’s slowly worn me down over the past decade. I realized it this week.
“Husband, where are our Christmas lights? The neighbors put theirs up,” I asked him. “I want to turn on our outdoor lights as soon as I swallow the last bite of turkey.”
He swears he’s putting them up today. I was angry until he presented me with two wine bottles, with lights twirled around inside, as holiday centerpieces. Very cool. And now I know he wasn’t just drinking wine in the garage, when I noticed the bottles out there.
And he brought home some Mother’s Holiday Nog — an eggnog liqueur I have a love affair with every December.
And then today he reminded me to turn on the local radio station that plays Christmas music nonstop. I confess: I love it. I love it so freakin’ much.
“Rudolph” was playing as the kids and I drove to school and work today. They were in heaven. Viv was bopping her head along and Jack yelled, “Turn it up!”
And then “Please Come Home for Christmas” came on, and I tried to sing along. And totally started crying in the car. Full on sobbing. I vowed to call my dad today, ask him to buy a ticket to come see us. Instead of sending a gift. Send himself.
If not for Christmas, at least by New Year’s night.