5 sleeps until Christmas. I was oblivious to this until just a few minutes ago when I looked at the date on the calendar and got a little fright when I saw the number "20" next to the word "December". Funny how it goes.
Just a few years ago, you could have woken me up in the middle of the night on any day in December, asked me how many sleeps until the big day and without hesitating I would have blurted out the correct number. Funny how it goes.
Sometimes nostalgic moments come knocking at the door disguised in insignificant occurrences, and just like that, you are are sent walking down memory lane with no choice in the matter.
I remember bouncing out of bed with high-octane exuberance just so I could open a window revealing a chocolatey surprise. Then there was the too-much-to-handle excitement as we dusted off the old decorations and put up the tree, of course there was much sibling rivalry surrounding who's turn it was to get upon dad's shoulders and put the porcelain angel at it's summit. Then there were fits of hysterical giggles as we watched dad get into a foul mood with the tangled Christmas tree lights, eventually ending in mom having to unknot those cheeky chords.
Drafting letters to 'Ol Santa Claus was always a very detailed procedure executed with much precision, God forbid I should forget to leave a very important and necessary toy off the list. Christmas day was the only topic of conversation on the playground and guessing who would be the kids to get coal in their stockings that year was the height of school-time entertainment.
Christmas eve was always the longest night of the year. Every hand on that clock seemed to tick in slow motion. After staring up at the night sky for hours and after yet another consecutive year failing to see the sleigh and the reindeer weaving between the stars, the milk, cookies and carrots (for the reindeer) would be nicely set out out somewhere easily accessible for the big man in red. I would dash off to bed, knowing that the sooner I was asleep, the sooner I would be awake. Oh, but Christmas eve was always the height of insomnia for my excited little self. If I managed to sleep at all, I'd awake at one hour intervals throughout the night, spring to my feet, and then drag my heels back into bed as that darn clock told me I wasn't supposed to be awake. When 6am finally made it's appearance, I would sprint to my parents bed, yelling "it's christmas," and then we'd run down the tinsel cladded staircase and stare speechless with awe as we beheld the mountain of presents in all it's glory. "Santa has been, Santa has been," we would chant until everyone found their name scribbled on the tags, and began the unwrapping frenzy.
Comparing gifts with all the cousins at the annual Christmas lunch was both fun and competitive as we measured who had been best behaved that year according to the volume of presents they were given. Oh, to be a child again!
It brings a little lump to my throat to think that those days are no longer. I miss being a bouncy pre-schooler most during this time of year. Being an almost-adult is not even half as fun as a kid on Christmas day. This will also be my first Christmas away from family, friends, home comforts and tradition. While I am embracing an all-American Christmas with arms wide open, I wouldn't mind reliving just one of my childhood Christmases so that I could properly savor the moment before it's gone forever.