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8 Things I Know About Christmas

Live-blogging the birth.

Live-blogging the birth.

1. It’s not a major holiday until the smoke detector goes off.

Joyeux Leon

Joyeux Leon

2. My favorite holidays feel like hibernating. But with better food. And sometimes, presents.

3. The proper attire for Christmas dinner is jammies.

4. Under Armor is the greatest invention ever for the perpetually cold. And by “perpetually cold” I mean “me.”

5. Who isn’t at the celebration is as important as who is. Loss may be part of life, but most of the year we carry any absence deeper within us – many of us carry it well enough that it’s barely discernible to the naked eye. (Otherwise, each day would be excrutiating, wouldn’t it?) But holidays bring loss into relief, with gifts unbought, empty stockings, empty arms, and holes that peek into a parallel place.

6. There is nothing more wonderful than children when they are young. Except those same children, growing up.

7. Habits emerge because our brains are constantly looking for ways to conserve effort, scientists say. Without efficient habit loops, “our brains would shut down, overwhelmed by the minutiae of daily life,” writes Charles Duhigg. I suppose that’s why, when adult children return home or extended family reunites, established patterns re-emerge. Which is comforting and (at the same time) often maddening.

Evan is Not Impressed

8. Handley Humor is a rare and precious thing. It’s goofy and ridiculous and often annoying, and it’s impossible to explain. But we recognize it when we see it. My siblings and I lead different lives in different cities. We sometimes don’t agree.

But families often connect in small but strongly critical ways, like the way a railway coupling links two train cars: We might not connect on a lot, but we connect there.

Total Annarchy

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6 Responses to 8 Things I Know About Christmas

  1. Ian Cleary says:

    Hi Ann,

    Very interesting article. I really loved point number 5 as Christmas can be a very happy and a very sad time.

    I love the bit about the humor. We have some in family humor that nobody would understand and some of the slagging (us Irish love our slagging) may be considered a bit harsh but nobody gets offended and it’s all done in Jest!

    Happy New year!


  2. Todd Van Hoosear says:

    So funny. I had that same NOEL angel set. AND an uncle named Leon. Joyeux Leon indeed!

  3. Stacey Hood says:

    Great post Ann…Unfortunately for me, the holidays always seems to be when something happen. My mother passed earlier this month. My dad passed a few years ago around Thanksgiving. Now my focus is my kids, especially now that my twins are going off to college next summer…so now the time I get to spend with them is special and I try to make it memorable as much as I can in a good way!

  4. unbdot says:

    Number 8, rare? Not so sure about that, possibly it’s that most people don’t recognize it:)… can whip me, you can beat me, but please, please don’t ……..

  5. Hunter Boyle says:

    Awesome. Merry Christmas, Handley Clan!

  6. Aaron Schapiro says:

    #7. Absolutely right. In fact, I’m at my parents house right now, sitting in my old room, at my old desk, on my (unfittingly new) computer writing this. My mom is yelling at me from downstairs that I “really ought to eat something.”

    Every time.

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