Happy Holidays!

(I decided to go with Happy Holidays because I missed Thanksgiving but it’s not Christmas. Happy Holidays is a happy medium ūüôā )

So today, I have been thinking all day about putting up my Christmas tree, but it made me a little sad to think about putting it up alone. Let me give you a little background. Christmas is my favorite holiday. Besides the fact that it¬†acknowledges the birth of my Lord and Saviour, the general time around Christmas makes me happy. There is a built-in “make me smile” factor that surrounds the Christmas season…twinkling lights, cinnamon-y smells, hot chocolate, beautiful decorations. I have happy memories related to Christmas though. Besides the fact that it was a time that I got to see most of my extended family (until we were all too old to stay in one house, so everyone would have to get hotels, lol), I remember¬†a memory that always makes me happy.

My friend loved Christmas. I always liked the lights, but my mom was the kind of procrastinator that we’d be lucky if the tree was up by the 23rd. And since we normally went to another part of Louisiana for Christmas, so at best, we put cards up around the house and got a poinsettia. I didn’t have decorating memories. So during my sophomore year of college, he started sharing with me around Thanksgiving how excited he was about being able to decorate his (then, brand new) home for Christmas. He asked me to come with him to buy a tree and ornaments. I went, and he was like a big kid. He asked my opinion on which ornaments were nice, but not girly; If the tree was large enough (considering he was 6’4″…he didn’t want to be taller than the tree); if he needed two or three boxes of lights. He told me to go get cocoa while he grabbed Christmas mugs. We went back to his home and he found the 6 Christmas songs on his computer and put them on repeat. I remember that I sat on the couch to watch him “do his thing”. He said, “What are you doing??” I said, “Um…nothing.” He said, “Nooooo, you have to help. I’ll do the lights, and you decide which pretty ornaments go where, and then I’ll do all the fill-in ornaments.” He wanted me involved. And after it was done, he baked cookies (let me choose which ones I wanted first before he got his), made us hot chocolate in the new Christmas mugs, and then turned out the lights so he could light up the tree. He was so happy, lol. It was a good, dorky kind of happy that was infectious. He then thanked me for obliging him and sharing in his first home tree-trimming. And, I loved it just as much as he did. The event itself was nice, but I liked that he wanted me involved. And I ended up making him a cd with more than 6 songs, lol.

That next year, after doing the same thing, we went to the downtown display of Christmas lights. The streets were roped off, and you could walk block after block, stop at little shops, buy apple cider, etc… He wanted to do a little of everything. He was sad because he had just had shoulder surgery (he was a pitcher for my university’s baseball team) so he could only operate one arm, but he still enjoyed himself. He bought cider for us, and we walked all night until it closed, laughing at things (and people), and again, he thanked me for sharing the memories with him. It was that Christmas that we exchanged gifts. He got me a stuffed cocker spaniel puppy (I still love that thing, lol) and I got him a print of Muhammad Ali knocking out Frazier (which he loved).

Things between us changed after that, but we were always friends.¬†I had relationships after that, and with each one I always wanted to cultivate something special. Something distinctly ours. Except…they were never interested. My five-year-relationship guy always seemed mildly annoyed when I wanted him to help me put up my tree, so I tried other things. None of them worked, and he never offered any suggestions. The only thing we did on a regular was visit his mom on Sundays, but nothing explicitly ours. He would say things like, “I thought about taking you to the jazz club.” “I thought about us driving to little cities around here to try whatever they were known for.” I literally begged for almost two years to go to Stone Mountain to see the laser show. I was so excited when I finally went, but he still had a mild indifference. I wanted to hold hands and share a blanket, but he brought a (single) folding chair, saying he thought the ground would be too hard (He said, “I know you have one…I thought you would’ve brought yours too. My bad”). I’m pretty sure that this constant (what I saw as) rejection created a layer that I started to stop asking or expecting moments that were “special”.

charlotte - harry - breakupSo when I say Un-tradition-al…I mean that the most meaningful experiences that set standards for things I’ve wanted were/are with people whom I could only call friends. It is with these people that I have the happiest memories. But the relationships I’ve had, they were all missing that something special. Even now, …well…nevermind. Just know that I have had more special moments¬†recently that I have had¬†in a long time … and it’s a friend. So I can imagine Charlotte’s dismay with Harry when he wanted to watch the baseball game after she had converted to Judaism and cooked a Shabbat meal. To him, he appreciated what she did, but it was another dinner during a game. To her, she was starting to create traditions with someone she cared about. Now, I can’t condone the statements she made to him afterwards, but I can understand (Season 6, “Pick a Little, Talk a Little”).

So, whether it was figuring out how to staple Christmas lights around your window without electrocuting anyone, or inadvertently creating a special language that only two people understand, traditions are nice. I hope that one day, I’ll have them with someone who’ll actually be with me.

Do you have any traditions you’d like to share? It’s the holidays, after all ūüėČ

Love,

–V

P.S. No, my Christmas tree isn’t up. Not yet.

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