To be honest, this time of year makes me a little nuts. It’s expensive and overstuffed and I sometimes feel like I’m trying to meet a series of intense deadlines. It’s the one time of year I find myself writing longer and longer “to do” lists, and I run myself ragged trying to tick off every item. But, despite all of this, there are some things that make me really, really happy about the holidays.
1. Most people like presents, and I’m no exception. But what I really love on Christmas day is the moment after all of the presents have been opened. We’ve all eaten breakfast, the mountain of gifts has been effectively dismantled, my nephews have been placated with a pile of toys or have gone back to sleep, and another pot of coffee is on the stove. Everyone settles into a pleasant, warm lull and I can lean back into a cozy couch, examining my new books or just staring at the tree. This is probably one of the most peaceful moments of the year.
2. Weirdly, even though everyone’s always got so much to do, this is also the time of year when I somehow manage to catch up with almost everyone who’s important to me. Friends who long ago moved away are back in town and free to chat over dim sum or drinks. People I haven’t seen for months — and it’s amazing how quickly that happens — start sending out invitations for dinners or latkes or cocktail parties. Even though it’s tough to cram everything into a three-week period, I still love any chance I get to see the people I love and never manage to see enough of during the rest of the year.
3. Even though it’s expensive and I often have no idea what to get for people, I really, really love when I come up with the perfect gift for someone. Often, my go-to present is a book I just loved or a bottle of wine I know they’ll like. But then there are those times when you stumble across just the right thing and you know how much it will mean to the recipient. I tend to be cynical about just how much of a consumer holiday this is, but when you hit on just the right gesture — even if it doesn’t cost a penny — it makes for a really happy feeling.