To give credit where it's due, I freely admit that I have stolen the idea for the next 25 blog entries from My Beloved. He thought it would be cool to do a Christmas countdown by way of a list of 25 of his favourite things.
What better way to focus on being happy than THAT, I say? And so, I copy.
(I think he's actually going to start on day 2, by the way, since right now he's sound asleep on the couch in front of the TV and there's only 10 minutes left of day 1. But we'll forgive him because in addition to having excellent ideas, he's very cute).
DAY ONE - Advent Calendars
Oh the little joys of Christmas when you're just a little girl. Picking open tiny cardboard windows to see what picture, bible verse or Christmas greeting was hidden beneath them was the highlight of every December morning when I was a child.
I would gaze longingly at that huge double window hiding the Christmas day message as I dug my fingernail under the lowly first few numbers, knowing that until I was into double digits Christmas was at least a good hundred years away.
I got a new Advent calendar every year, sometimes from my Grandma and sometimes from my Mom and Dad, and with it came the thrill of knowing Christmas was really and truly finally coming. I was holding the proof of this miraculous fact in my pudgy little hands. At last.
I can't remember any one calendar. They've blurred into a sea of donkeys, stars, snowy mountains, steeples, mangers, shepherds, reindeer, baby Jesuses and Santas in my memory. But the feeling of anticipation before opening each window - and the sheer brute force of willpower (the intensity of which I haven't seen since) that kept me from opening up the whole lot of them all at once - is what I remember vividly.
And it's why I bought myself a pretty winter snow scene Advent calendar this year. I decided it was time to bring back as much of the magic of Christmas as I could, in any way I could. And an Advent calendar seemed like a pretty good way to start.
The funny thing is, my sparkly winter scene isn't the only Advent calendar I have this year. The other day My Beloved came home with a Santa ornament for our tree that doubles as a Christmas countdown, and my sister sent me a very cute sock monkey-themed countdown wheel that's currently hanging on our powder room doorknob.
After probably close to two calendarless decades, I suddenly - magically - have three. And the little girl in me couldn't be happier.
After all, it's the first bit of Christmas magic I've felt in what feels like a very, very long time.
In case you were curious, the picture under today's window was a big, fat snowflake.