Tall pine trees, strands and strands of brightly colored lights hanging from the roof, the same songs played on the over head radio's in every retail establishment.
The time has come, its Christmas time again. Again. It feels like yesterday I was getting ready for the Little's first Christmas. I was busy buying up the PX with every various 6 month + toy I could find. I wanted it to be the most special thing for her, even though she would never remember.
For the longest time I wasn't a huge fan of Christmas. Not that I didn't love giving gifts, I loved sharing and creating joy. All I could ever see with the holiday was stress, money spending, and more stress. Even when I was in high school. Friends trying to out do each other by giving gifts, showing off their awesomeness.
In high school I worked at Chuck E Cheese. As any former CEC employee should be well aware, the segments that run on CEC TV are about 2 hours long. So in any 8 hour shift, a "cast member" (as we were so affectionately called) heard the same songs at least 4 times. "Silly Songs with Larry", various CEC covers of old hits like Elvis' "Return to Sender", and the old version of "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" played over and over every 2 hours. Like an unforgiving countdown for my shift.
Those I could handle, shoot after a while I began to bounce around a bit and bob my head to the beat. Then, shortly after I started working was Thanksgiving. The day after is when our CD switched from annoying bits of normal everyday, music to 2 hours of Christmas music. But it wasn't any Christmas music it was Veggie Tales sing Christmas songs, and covers of a few of the good songs done by the voices of Chuck E Cheese. (Please if you've been to CEC recently do that guys voice in your head. You know you can)
After about 3 days, I was massively over hearing a squeaky version of "Jingle Bells" and "All I Want for Christmas, is You". And we had to suffer, for over a month. 5 days a week, 25-30 hours a week.
Over and Over
By the end of the holiday season I was ready to toss the DVD in with Santa's sleigh and send it farther than the North Pole.
And so began my annoyance with Christmas music. I hated the end of October, (actually I still do) when stores start putting out their Christmas decorations early in hopes that some sappy person will come and buy up stuff before November peaks its head around the corner.
I grumbled with resentment every time major retailers began their Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving. Even more than all of that, I rolled my eyes at the newest radio station to play Christmas music 24/7 until the fat man squeezes his "bowl full of jelly" down the tiniest of tiny chimneys.
I was this way for years. I wasn't a Scrooge or a grump about it all. I loved buying gifts I just didn't want it all to start so early. I wanted to enjoy each holiday, I didn't want to have to see a 9 foot pre-lit aspen tree in the store while I was shopping for my Halloween costume. Could it be that much to ask?
THEN insert my little bundle of joy. Suddenly Christmas took on an entirely different meaning. I forced Dennis out of bed the Saturday after Thanksgiving to go with me to look at new Christmas trees. Ours was falling apart and the previous year I had vowed that it would be our tree's last. I just couldn't fluff those dwindling branches up anymore than I had.
We got such a great deal on the tree that it opened us up to getting even more stuff for the Little for Christmas. Dennis and I spent hours in the PX messing with toys and saying, "Oh that one is nice." and "She'll love that." By the 15th of December not only had I bought all the Christmas presents that we were getting, but they were all wrapped and sitting nicely under the tree.
It helped that Dennis was gone for a few weeks and I had nothing better to do with my time but wrap. But I even sat there drinking my hot chocolate with my iTunes going with as many Christmas songs from Johnny Cash, Mariah Carey, and every other country star who has ever put out a Christmas album, that I could think of. I was beyond excited for this Christmas.
Once again, this year I find myself in more of the merry sorts. All of the Little's Christmas shopping is done. Even down to her stocking. I may pick up one or two more small things for it, but what she has for now will definitely do if I don't. Her "list" has been sent to Santa and she's been a very good girl this year. The only thing I really want to find is a Rascal's Christmas Ornament, so who knows that may be on my list for tomorrow. In any way, she's definitely done in the Christmas department.
I've been patiently trying to wait to wrap all her stuff, just because a lot of the boxes are bigger but tomorrow is the first day of December. Maybe I'll do it all tomorrow. :)
Looks like I've got my Little to thank once again for brightening my holiday spirit. I definitely need it.