Opinion: Christmas cheer, holiday spirit is in the air

Counting down the number of days until the clock strikes midnight on the 25 of December is wondrous and exciting. The anticipation is growing, and Christmas is nearing.

Winter has always been my favorite time of the year, and skiing and drinking hot chocolate is the perfect way to spend my time towards the end of every year.

From baking Christmas cookies to setting up the tree to decorating my own room to hanging up lights to cozying up on a couch with a book in one hand and a cup of hot cocoa in the other, Christmas spirit has never been greater.

Christmas is a holiday that is celebrated all around the world, and it is a time for both giving and receiving. It is a time to appreciate our loved ones and people we care about deeply. It is a time that allows families to reunite and share the joy of presents, as well as a time that allows friends to rejoice. Making new memories each and every year with family and friends is perfect during this holiday.

Around the first week of December, I begin to decorate the entire house. The tree comes first, obviously. To me, setting up the Christmas tree is the core of the holiday. Each year, I set up the same tree, a plastic one that is about six feet tall. Since it is a fake tree, I need to make it look as real as possible, so I fluff it up — a painstakingly slow process. I string colorful lights around and get dizzy in the process of walking around the tree. The ornaments are next. I begin by adding my favorite ornaments first, and I make sure to put them closest to the top in order to make them more noticeable. The more plain ornaments are spaced out equally all around the tree, and just to make sure none fall onto the ground and shatter, I always bend the tip of every single “leaf” to prevent ornaments from breaking. Several other unique ornaments include bells, handmade ones from elementary and middle school, and even expired candy canes with yucky, unsavory flavors.

After the tree is all set up and done, I ensure that it is in its rightful position right next to the fireplace. I then find the red tree skirt to cover up the ugly legs of the tree and add the final touches. Not one but two Santas go underneath the tree: one that stands on its two feet, and another that sits in a little red bowl. In the previous years, I would always hide my Christmas wishlist inside the bowl. Lastly, I add the final touch, a music globe with its own decorated, little green tree inside and several presents underneath it.

To finish, I turn the Christmas lights on, and my work is complete; the tree is finished (quite beautifully).


Graphic by Gray Zeitland


The tree’s lights get a timer that automatically turns on at 5 pm (since it is dark by then), and it stays like that until one to two weeks after Christmas.

Then comes the countdown. Checking the Christmas countdown every night before I go to bed is the highlight of my winter break; until Christmas Eve, that is.

On Christmas Eve, my parents will tell me to go to bed early, and I’ll agree. However, in reality, I’ll secretly pretend to go to sleep, and then when I hear the ruffling of tissue paper and the light thump of footsteps heading down the stairs, I’ll quietly get out of bed, slowly open the door, and silently tiptoe to see what’s going on. And then, I see Santa.

Santa is crouching by my tree and stuffing the gift bags that my mom left under the tree. He’s gobbling down the cookies that I left for him and swishing them down with a glass of milk. And then, I hear hooves on the roof, and I suddenly hear voices. Hushed voices that kind of sound like… reindeer. I quickly look back at my tree, but Santa’s gone. I look at the ceiling but see nothing, not even shadows (as if I could see shadows through the rooftop), so I go back to my room, shut the door cautiously, and step back into bed with despair in my heart, as I was unable to take a picture of the famous Rudolph. But then, I heard a sudden creak from the very top of my room that seemed to come from the roof, and I jolted up. I heard a gallop and suddenly, oh so suddenly, something flew by my window. I caught sight of nine reindeer pulling a magical sleigh that was full of overflowing bags with trillions of gifts in them. The last thing that I saw was a red light in the distance.

And then I woke up.

Every December 25, I wake up early in the morning to open my presents, and since it’s happened since I was little, it’s been a kind of tradition for my mom to record me opening my presents. After I open everything and give my very honest and unstaged reactions, she’ll show me the video, we’ll laugh at it together, and then we’ll eat breakfast together.

After breakfast, I’ll find my classic sugar cookie recipe and check to make sure all ingredients can be found. Then, I begin to work some magic in the kitchen and carefully follow the instructions.

Around 30 minutes later of mixing ingredients, kneading dough, rolling it flat, cutting the dough into stars, ornaments, snowmen, snowflakes, gingerbread men, and trees and laying them onto a pan with precision, the cookies finally make their way into the previously preheated oven.

As the sweet aroma of sugar cookies seeps out of the oven and into the air, I quickly run over to the oven and take a sneak peek at the perfectly golden brown cookies. I snag a kitchen mitten and hurry to put the burning, hot pan on the counter.

Afterwards, when the cookies have cooled down, I assemble the ones with the least amount of imperfections and plate the cookies in a pretty manner to present to my family.Carrying the plate to my parents, I make sure they take at least one bite in front of me, wait for their validation (and some praise) and then spin around while giddily walking away with pride.

Then, it’s my turn to eat a cookie. I look for a snowflake and pop a broken-off piece into my mouth. It slowly melts away and simply tastes like perfection. My work in the kitchen is officially done.

Later that day, my family and I will spend the entire day at home, just having quality family time. After dinner, we usually play card games while laughing and talking, and occasionally, just occasionally, I’ll snatch another sugar cookie to celebrate my win in the game and in the kitchen.

Christmas, if you cannot tell, is by far my favorite holiday.