Autumn is here. And from the looks of the ten-day weather report on Weather.com, it's here to stay at least through next Tuesday too. I can not express in words how thrilled I am about this, save for the fact that the sooner it gets here, the sooner it's gone. Although, even the little bit we will get in Minnesota this year has to be better that what seemed like a nonexistent fall last year. Who knows?
I just know that this weather ushers in my favorite time of year. A time of changing leaves, pumpkin patches and apple orchards, cashmere sweaters and thick, dark tights. Time for fires, both inside and out. And steamy, savory, fragrant comfort food. A time of putting on some classical music, wrapping up in a blanket, and listening to storms outside my windows. Time for FOOTBALL!!!! Besides Christmas, it's pretty much the best time of the year.
How did a California girl, through and through, come to love the changing seasons, but particularly changes that usher in coldness and the promise of an inevitable winter? How did someone who grew up in perpetually 80 degree weather even come to love the middle of winter as the "best time of the year"? Am I mad? Secretly born in another part of the country, and then transported far, far away to the Sunshine State. That would make so much sense, considering my biological family and our, ummm, shall we say, differences?
I have no excuses, no explanations. I only know I do love the falling snow, the white blanketed streets, the allure of cashmere (there we go again, maybe it's all about a fiber) scarves and mittens and sledding, and hot apple cider and carols. The joy I get from bundling up. Some people like to take it off. Me, I like to put it on. And on, and on. And even before all of this, the thrill of chilly autumn nights, watching kids trick or treating, blustery winds, Charlie Brown specials, there is so, so, so much I love about Autumn. And Christmas, did I mention Christmas?
Christmas, without a doubt, turns me into the most blathering, starry eyed, romantic wishabout. All traces of the sarcastic, cool, cynic disappear without a trace under the prospect of stockings hung by the chimney with care. It's quite the transformation really.
I was told last week, however, that a certain roommate, who's initials are now A for Anonymous, was thinking of moving out for the months of November and December, as a result of my adoration for all things Christmas. It only took two little ornaments that I brought home to bring on this kind of reaction, so I have to wonder what bringing home all the decorations that are at my desk at work will elicit? Quiet time maybe? If I start walking around the house humming carols to myself, will I get to take a nap? Will hanging lights in the windows, or putting out some fake elk with white lights on the lawn get me another weekend alone? This could be the beginning of some seriously manipulative behavior, all in the name of the overwhelming needs of an introvert. Truly I jest.
Seriously though - I am thrilled to the bone at the prospect of decorating the house I love, and live in coincidentally, for Christmas this year. Pottery Barn catalogs, bring it on! It's been a good few years since I've had a place that I've wanted to decorate, much less could. Two years ago I was in the Squirrel Palace, and though I had a few guests over around Christmas time (le sigh, the UCE and the BFF), I didn't really go all out, you know, with a tree or anything, for lack of space, and fear of rodents flying out of it. Last year I had the colossal joy of sharing Christmas time at home (i.e. Minneapolis) with the family that has only enriched my great love for the holiday, my adopted MN family, the J's.
Though I have always loved Christmas, being able to share the beautiful holiday with them, both enjoying old and creating new traditions, celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, and just soaking up massive amounts of family time, has greatly grown my adoration for Christmas. Just thinking of it makes me feel like I'm in a movie, a Christmas movie, where we sing around a fire in matching sweaters. Though if it ever got to that point, I'd probably escape to the kitchen for some fresh air and another glass of homemade Irish Cream. For the first time in my life, I feel like I have the storybook family time that Christmas is partly about, and it blesses my reindeer socks off. For many years, having a family of my own, that loves and knows Christ, and enjoys Christmas together-time, as much as I do has been top of my Santa wish list. And though we're no relation, they are to me all I want in a family - loving, godly, accepting, funny, warm, snuggly, and in love with Christmas too. Maybe Christmas miracles really do come true.
This year, as I brainstorm and shop and prepare to decorate my own home in celebration of this holiday (don't worry roomies, not for months!), I can only imagine that my joy will be enhanced, both by sharing Christmas with my awesome, adopted family up the street, and by being able to come home at the end of the day, to my own place, lit up with twinkly lights, smelling of apple cider and pine trees, and then share all the joy in my heart with my roommates as well. They may find my Sally Sunshine Christmas loving attitude slightly in contrast with their own cynical little ways, but I know, in my heart of hearts, that some fresh baked gingerbread cookies, a nice fire, and maybe a little Bing Crosby/David Bowie in the background can win them over to the dark side. I just can't wait to find out!
Autumn and Christmas. Whether we like it or not, they are on their way. I am the last person to protest their imminent arrival, so friends, if you're not quite there yet, thanks for bearing with me. For now, we'll agree to disagree. After all, October 1st is only a few days away.