Despite a sun lamp illuminating my hunched figure stooped over my laptop at all hours of the afternoon, despite the bite of the air and the wind personally painting my cheeks and nose shades of red that could never compare to my Glossier blush, and despite my forever hatred for the chilling months of the Midwest winters I’ve never been able to escape, there are always, always, always redeeming moments of the season that make even the negative-degree days seem warm.
I’ve never had a real, full Christmas tree because, for one, I’ve never had a house big enough for one of those, but more importantly, my brother is allergic to evergreen trees. The thin, plastic, only-a-few-inches-taller-than-me tree that changes location in the living room every year to match the ever-changing layout is, honestly, a relic.
Traveling throughout my many homes these past years, the tiny tree whose “branches” aren’t full enough to even slightly mimic a real tree can barely handle the weight of some of our lightest ornaments, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. We never go all-out for any holiday, and Christmas—I’ve never been sure why we “celebrate” it because we’ve never set foot in a church—is no different. In fact, we didn’t even set up our tree this year. And I do miss it.
While we did miss the mark on even half-decorating for the holiday this year, the tried-and-true tradition that truly highlights every winter is watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. A movie my entire family can quote any given line from any time, it is constantly playing in the living room, but our true “tradition” is letting it play on Christmas Eve as we all sit around my grandpa’s old card table and play Euchre late into the night.
It’s little moments like these, moments that never fade or change or alter no matter the circumstances of any given year, that color the dark, dark days of December. I am an avid winter hater, but the way my family celebrates a holiday we honestly have no right celebrating makes up for the early mornings scraping snow off my car, the sun setting at an ungodly early time, and the perpetually blue fingertips during these months.