I grew up in a house where Christmas was a very big event. Although my family isn’t particularly religious, we certainly enjoy any occasion that brings together family and good food. And my mother, who has a phenomenal talent with decorating, dresses our home to the nines. I remember walking up to the house, its regal columns swathed in balsam, and breathing in the smells of the season–punctuated with a hint of saltwater, naturally. The festivities were abundant, and instilled in me a desire to support and celebrate the season for what it really is: not a time of materialism, but of family, of time well-spent in conversation and love. To me, sparkling lights on a tree have always drummed up happy sentiments. It’s a comfort that I just can’t shake.

Last Christmas, Scott and I opted out of decorating our apartment because of limited space and funds. And it really took a toll on my spirit. It isn’t often, in the city, that you see sparkling holiday lights and trees and festiveness (not a word? hm.), so to come home to an apartment that didn’t acknowledge any of the sparkle and magic of the season was draining. It made the statement that December was just another month. The same messes would be made, and all of them without even some tinsel.

This year, I wanted a change. And I quickly realized, in the middle of Home Depot, where frenzied shoppers were looking for Christmas trees and LED lights, that I was dating a Scrooge. He seemed completely indifferent to my struggle to find the perfect (fake) tree, and appeared even more confused that it was frustrating me. He associated having any sort of decoration as being material. And so, without fail or control, a pout adorned my face, and I was visibly upset. This lasted for several uncomfortable minutes. And then, luckily, things changed.

We stepped outside to where the REAL trees were kept, and were hit in the nose by the scent of real balsam and fir. We mulled around by the trees, petting them and getting sap all over our hands, until we were handed a cup of hot chocolate to sip on while we browsed. The mood got lighter. I saw Scott, though he tried to hide it, get a little bit excited, happy to be among the trees. And later, when we finally got home, we had one of our own–albeit tiny, sparse, and Charlie Brown-esque. But as the charming man at the flower shop said, “If you believe in magic, it will grow taller each day.” And so, although I haven’t pulled out my measuring tape, I’m trying to believe.

And as a consolation for his previous Grinch-y behavior, Scott made me an additional tree. I asked him if we could split a slice of pizza, and he handed me this plate. I was cocooned beneath blankets, my nose freezing cold, and this is what I got. In that moment, I couldn’t believe how lucky I was. Everything around us seemed to disappear, and with a tree-shaped slice of pepperoni on my lap, all I could think about was that I have this person sitting in front of me who, among other things, is willing to bite a slice into shapes to put a smile on my face. I mean, who does that?! But it’s just another example of why I love him–his sweetness and creativity.

I have a feeling that this December is going to be my favorite yet.


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