The countdown will finally reach zero

I have always adored driving around at night and looking at the Christmas decorations that each house has spent hours perfecting. 

Maybe it’s because my family has made the choice to keep our decorations quite minimal. Maybe it’s because it’s something that I can only see for a limited time each year. Maybe it’s because those decorations represent the one time a year that I feel the most hopeful. 

I’m not sure what the exact reasoning is, but I find it calming. 

But my favorite piece of decor happens to be the one that requires me to do no driving around. It happens to be the one located directly across the street from my house. It sits in my neighbor’s front yard—their Christmas countdown sits there and taunts me with the closeness of Christmas.

It’s not a particularly large countdown, just a small blue sign with a snowman on top. The countdown appears in red lights. It’s not easily seen during the day, but at night, it lights up the street. 

I remember when I was younger, I would try and stay awake to watch the timer hit zero. It gave a sense of reality to the one day a year that seemed most chimerical. 

It was such a minuscule moment in my life, but it brought me immense joy. 

But I haven’t seen the number zero appear under the days’ portion of the countdown in a while. With both of my parents working long hours, Christmas is one of the only times during the year that they can both easily get time off of work; it’s the only time we can travel as a family. 

I haven’t spent Christmas at home in four years. I haven’t watched that countdown hit zero in four years. 

But this year is different. 

This year, I’m not leaving. I get to experience the magic of waking up to blankets of snow covering the ground. I get to wake up to my presents sitting under the tree that we spent hours setting up rather than sitting on the edge of a bed in a hotel that we booked. 

This year, I get to stay up until midnight on Christmas Eve and watch that countdown reach that number that almost seemed mystical. 

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