Tammy Derrick

A photograph of me, bundled up and missing far too many teeth, ready to go sledding.

It’s the season of hot chocolate and appreciation

I can’t tell if I love Christmas or if I really just hate Thanksgiving. Either way, November in my mind is just pre-December, and December is utter euphoria.

Yet I couldn’t really tell anyone why—I don’t have a strong attachment to the holidays. I’m not religious, and I haven’t celebrated Christmas with my entire family for a while. Quite frankly, I have no strong ties to the holiday season, and I find myself wondering if I would celebrate when I’m an adult.

This sounds utterly pessimistic, but I swear I’m not.

I truly do love December for everything and anything it offers, even if it’s a small Michigan-based Christmas or a damp South Carolina one.

Mother Earth’s kisses fall in fluttering snowflakes outside my thin wall; the frost creeps across the window as if it’s sneaking downstairs on Christmas morning; smiles remain plastered on faces more so than ever, especially for the United States.

And while I truly cannot drive on snow, ice-ridden roads, the weather outside it ethereal—not frightening. The white blanket that comforts Michigan in the coldest of days is a reminder of how finicky and delicate life can be; it is a reminder of resetting and resting, something we need now in 2020 more than ever. With the biting cold outside and the warmth inside, everything feels cozier, and I, somehow, feel more comforted even if my room is slowly freezing over as the days pass.

So maybe that’s my tradition—appreciating the snow and the beauty and the ironic warmth of the season.

I take my hot chocolate, the Caramel flavor or any kind brought to me by Ashlyn fills the role well, and I sit on the porch. It’s just a moment of appreciation, of pondering, or breathing and sipping on hot chocolate that I always wish wasn’t hot.

Honestly, I wouldn’t trade it for the world—except maybe for universities to lower their prices, but we all know that’s impossible—because it’s simply mine.

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