Still, now, as a secularly minded soul, I enjoy Christmas. I like the songs, the decorations, and the gift giving. Each year, depending on where my family decides to go, I’ll attend a midnight mass with my Catholic grandparents or the Christmas Eve service at my childhood Lutheran church. Every year, my church pulls out the little candles with the cardboard circles on them (to catch the dripping wax) out of the storeroom. Silent Night is played and everyone sings along.
“Silent night, holy night. All is calm, all is bright,” and the candles all get raised into the air. “Round yon virgin mother and child. Holy infant, so tender and mild,” and the candles come down.
The candles are handed out at the beginning of the service and collected at the end. I, despite legally being an adult, spend the interim playing with the things. I would roll the candle in my fingers, warming and softening the wax with the friction, and then slowly work and bend the candle as far as I could. A year or two ago, my little brother, seeing my candle and trying to imitate, just forced it cold and it snapped in half.
My mother (my dad could be as bad as us at misbehaving during the service) glanced over disapprovingly at my brother’s snapped candle. I, ever the angel child, had already bent mine back straight.
Through college, I had always associated the ramp-up to the Christmas holiday with exam week. Some years were better than others, depending, primarily, on where Christmas fell. Sometimes there’d be a sizable gap between my last exam and Christmas Day. Sometimes there wouldn’t be.
In 2001, I had a calculus final from 7:45 to 9:45 on a Saturday night that I had spent the last three days studying for. I got home too stressed to even study. The next morning, Sunday, December 23rd, I had my honors accelerated economics final at 7:45 in the morning. I woke up at 6:30, read every page of my notes, and walked off to my final. I was a wreck at the end of that week, and I hardly noticed Christmas until it was practically over.
It’s weird to not have that rush of stress right before Christmas. I only got home at 2AM on Christmas Eve (the night before the night before Christmas). I’m actually not going to back in California until after the New Year. I feel like I’m on a Christmas break like I had in elementary school. On Monday I’ll have to write a paper about what I got from Santa.
Anyway, saw the Packers lose in person today. Meh.
Thanks for the plane ticket, the Packer ticket, the tweezers, the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and the lip balm. Nice picks.