Christmas Eve ... Eve

I've been particularly excited about Christmas 2010 for reasons I'm not exactly sure of.  I love Christmas period, but this year I feel like the holiday can't get here fast enough. Shopping on Black Friday ended up being torture because it gave me almost an entire month to stare at the wrapped presents under the tree, dying to have my loved ones open them.  And, there is one particularly awesome shaped gift under the tree with my name on it that is driving me bananas with anticipation.  It's one of those boxes that's too short to contain clothes and too thick to be books or DVDs.  Clothes, books, and DVDs are what I normally ask for this time of year, so I'm literally crawling the walls trying to guess what it is. All I know is that I am not allowed to touch or even poke it because Clayton is convinced that it will give away the surprise.

I've seriously sat by the tree while Clayton is at work and contemplated touching the gift, but I'm kind of concerned there's an alarm on it or something.  Plus, I have the most guilty conscience ever and just know that I will end up rolling over in the middle of the night, poking him in the shoulder, and saying, "I have a confession ... I ruined Christmas".

But presents and holiday materialism aside, I am just ecstatic for Christmas because it really is a magical, magical time of the year.  As soon as houses become illuminated with colorful strands of bulbs and Christmas trees with white twinkling lights are propped up in the windows, the atmosphere of the entire world seems to change.  And it only becomes more beautiful once the first snow hits, leaving decorated bushes looking like frosted cupcakes with colorful sprinkles. I go ga-ga for Christmas decorations.  There is nothing more festive than a string of holly or a red velvet bow hanging up in the local bank or restaurant.

This year I've made a conscious effort to take time to really reflect on the true meaning of Christmas and why we even celebrate this holiday in the first place.  The tree, the lights, the presents, the food - it's all an after-thought compared to the true wonder of the holiday season.  Not to get all preachy, but Christmas is for celebrating the incredible gift God gave to us when He brought His own son into this troubled world to offer hope and peace to all its people.  And, if you don't believe in God, the true essence of Christmas is love.

As I've gotten older, Christmas' main focus has shifted from presents and toys and moved to the simple joy of seeing my family, baking cookies, or just curling up on the couch with my husband to watch a cheesy Christmas movie.  I'm pretty sure Clayton and I have watched every holiday movie ever made this month, but I'm saving my absolute favorite holiday movie for Christmas Eve at my mom's house:

Hmmm ... If you have no idea what this movie is or what it's about, this particular scene makes it look terrifying.  Did you SEE THE CONDUCTOR??? But seriously, do yourself a favor and rent, buy, or just watch Claymation Christmas on YouTube. I think it originally aired on TV in the early 90s and my sister and I used to watch our recorded VHS of it every year.  Then, after my parents got divorced, we kind of forgot about it until we saw a copy of it at our friends house.  My mom ended up buying it for me for Christmas that year and we've been watching it on Christmas Eve ever since.  It was one of the first things I told Clayton about when we got engaged.  "Now you get to watch Claymation Christmas! I mean, YES! I WILL MARRY YOU!"

Clayton watched it for the first time on our first Christmas Eve together, and guess what? He hated it.  And now he gets to watch it every Christmas Eve for the rest of his life!

Spread the holiday cheer!