And now it's the official beginning of Christmas--shopping frenzy to commence. We got the tree and most of the decorations up yesterday. But my energy level petered out earlier than it usually does. I blame my yearning-to-be-free lungs. And, of course, putting up the Christmas decorations is a family activity, so when I flopped over, Matthew stopped too. But we got most of it up and it's very festive. Seeing the house all lit up with fairy lights and evergreen boughs makes my heart all warm and fuzzy.
Christmas is my favorite holiday. It didn't used to be. In fact, it was on my list of things to dread during my whole childhood and adolescence. It wasn't until I met Matthew that I, grudgingly, re-evaluated its status as darkness-upon-my-soul.
My mother didn't really get Christmas, having grown up in a culture that doesn't do much with it. And there wasn't extended family to spend it with, so Christmas was typically a drab, lonely, disappointing affair. And then when I hit high school, it just got worse. Christmas was a time of loneliness and isolation, stark against other people's joy. I hated it and it always made me depressed.
But now, now I love it. Matthew and his family have these charming holiday traditions that are just, well, charming. A big part of it, of course, is that I really love Matthew's family. Growing up, I didn't have anything resembling a supportive family base. My father left us when I was three, and my mother is insane. I don't talk to her anymore, aside from an email once or twice a year. She now lives in Hong Kong and the other side of the world is just about the right distance for us to co-exist peacefully. But Matthew's family fills a void that I didn't even know I had until they stepped into it. I look to them for the sort of validation that I knew, growing up, I needn't bother going to my mother for. They're the first people I tell--after Matthew--when I've made a sale. I didn't even know I craved that sort of unqualified love and support until I realized how much it mattered to me when they told me how proud they were of me and my accomplishments.
They're good people, my in-laws.
Hurray for the beginning of Christmas.