As little children fall asleep tonight, waiting for Santa Claus to deliver their Christmas, it is there. As the Christmas tree sparkles and glistens, it is there. As the stockings sit waiting to be stuffed, it is there. Christmas spirit is not something tangible but something felt and experienced. Yet somehow, it is so very real.
It is my sister and I haggling with my dad over which tree to get, trying to find something that meets both of our specifications. It is listening to stupid, smarmy Christmas carols on the radio. It is the taste of cocoa and gingerbread on my lips, the smell of evergreen, the feeling of cold air blasting on my face. It is bright colored lights and ornaments and Santa Claus and The Polar Express. It is beating your family to the table, trying to sate your hunger and avoid your crazy relatives at the same time. It is days and days and days off from school. It is picking out presents for each and every family member and seeing their faces when you give out those presents; it is about unwrapping those presents under the tree one by one, feeling absolutely ecstatic as you do. Most of all, though, it is the warm, unadulterated delight that one feels at the anticipation and at actually opening those gifts at once.
Some cynics might say that Christmas season is simply a culmination of materialism manufactured by our culture, so wrapped up in gifts and so commercialized that it is barely anything special anymore. That it is so far removed from what it was meant to be. To an extent, they are right. Other people try to save it by saying "Keep Christ in Christmas" and other such things. But Christianity isn't what Christmas is all about and it never has been. December 25th has been a day that has transcended Christianity. Celebrating the winter season has been timeless. So ultimately, it is all about classic Christmas spirit (or that holiday spirit for everyone who doesn't/ hasn't celebrated Christmas throughout history), that warm fuzzy feeling you get at this time of year, and everything else is what we want it to be.
And, on this Christmas Eve, I am feeling this Christmas spirit and trying to savor it before it goes away all too fast.