Working in customer service has taught me that people get meaner during the holidays.
I’m almost positive that I’ve never taken a picture with Santa. My parents didn’t really teach the Santa thing. I don’t remember ever really believing, but maybe I stopped before my memories began. I vaguely remember logical conversations with my dad about how Santa wouldn’t fit down our chimney, but I’m pretty sure I knew it was always pretty much a fairy tale.
We focused more on the original Christmas story. Yes, we did the tree for most of my life, but we opened at least one gift on Christmas Eve, and as my brother and I got older, we started to follow my dad’s family tradition of opening all the gifts on Christmas Eve, which pretty much takes Santa out of the equation entirely.
Sometimes my mom would write “from Santa” on certain gifts, but we always knew it was from her, plus, those gifts were under the tree days, if not a couple weeks, before Christmas. Thus, it was really hard to actually believe in Santa. And that’s okay. I don’t really feel like I missed out.
Every year since I can remember, apart from the random years we were spending the holidays out of town, my family has gone to a Christmas Eve service at the church I grew up in. Even after I moved away and my parents stopped going to that church, we still went to the service. It was tradition. Afterward, my parents would drive around and look at Christmas lights. As I got older, I kinda got over that tradition, and started going home to wait for them.
The four of us would gather in the living room and usually eat a dessert or something and then give gifts. It was nice. It was pretty anticlimactic.
This year, I’ll be away from family for the first time. I’m okay with it, I’m not complaining. It’s just different, like almost every aspect of my life in the south. I was expecting to work on Christmas, like I usually do, but this year I have it off. So I’m going to cook and spend the evening with one of my favorite people. I’m going to drink champagne. Maybe I’ll start a new tradition.