I honestly love Christmas. I am a huge sucker for the decorations, the music, the movies and I love a reasonable excuse to go shopping every weekend. I put up a tree every year and decorate it with my ornament collection. When I first started putting up my own tree (its fake so low maintenance) I used mostly generic ornaments I bought at Target but each year I purchase a few special ones to add to my growing collection. My mother and I make an annual trip to Hallmark and both purchase a dated ornament to mark the year. Mom has been collecting ornaments for decades and there is at least one for every year beginning as early as 1975 (the year I was born). It’s really special to look at all the old ornaments from over the years. Although my collection is still somewhat small I like to think of how it grows each year and how someday they will be part of all my Christmas memories. I also like that the representation of generic Target ornaments is getting smaller and reduced to the back of the tree that you can’t see anyway. For the few weekends before Christmas I’ll set aside some time to wrap gifts with Christmas music on or a sappy Lifetime movie on in the background.
Another tradition I look forward to is a holiday themed road race. This year, it was the Winter Classic 5k in Cambridge. I have a running friendly Christmas outfit that I dig out for a race like this year and managed to find some Christmas scrunchies (its near impossible to find scrunchies these days) and a pair of red and white knee socks to complete the ensemble. The course was nice and flat so I was hoping to race a little faster than I did at the CHTDRR last month. I met up with some Chasing Tail teammates and partnered up with John to shoot for a pace just below 7:30’s. With all the fuss of my outfit and finding friends at the start I had completely neglected to do a warm up prior to the race. When the gun went off I quickly realized that mistake. My body was not prepared to work that hard right off the bat. Luckily, mentally I WAS prepared to be a little uncomfortable for the duration of the short race and pressed on. John and I kept a consistent 7:22 pace for most of the time. I find it to be a huge advantage to run with someone in a race like this. It keeps me from getting lazy and slowing down if I want to stay with my running partner. John has been dealing with a nagging ITB injury (ugh, we’ve all been there) so he backed off at the very end. I felt great coming across the finish line and was pleased with my time of 22:54 – my 2nd best 5k time and 3rd best race time in history. What a great way to end the racing year!
I think these pre-holiday rituals allow me to really enjoy the season and not get sucked into the Christmas Scrooginess that has seemed to become almost trendy. I admit I have it easy in many ways. I have a small family with very few small children so I don’t buy a lot of gifts. Also, I sincerely like my family and enjoy spending time with them so I don’t experience a lot of the stress others do around this time. There really is no place like home for the holidays.
As a single woman with no children, nieces or nephews, the focus of the holidays has made a shift. There was a time I couldn’t sleep at all on Christmas Eve and had fierce negotiations with my parents about what time we were getting up on Christmas morning. Now, my priority is going for a short run in the morning and relaxing with a cup of tea before I want to open any presents. I am certainly looking forward to a time when I have children of my own who are reeling with anticipation for what’s wrapped under the tree but for now I can enjoy this time knowing that I’m surrounded by a wealth of gifts all year round in the form of love and health for me, my family and friends.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!