Every year, come mid-July or so, I begin yearning for the holidays something fierce. There’s nothing like triple-digit heat to make one long for mistletoe and holly and egg nog and yule logs. OK, maybe not yule logs when it’s 102º in the shade. But everything else!
And yet, more often than not, Christmas feels like a letdown when it’s over. Like it never quite lives up to its potential. I feel that every single year, it seems.
This year was the exception.
Driving around town on Wednesday night, sipping spiked cocoa and looking at Christmas lights, I told Tara that this year’s holiday was on track to exceed all expectations. Sure enough, it did. I don’t know if that’s because 2020 was such a shit show of a year for most and had us all longing for the innocence and magic of the holidays or because this time around there wasn’t a giant trench in our front yard for a new sewer line. Maybe a bit of both? In any case, I enjoyed the holiday this year more than I have in a very long time.
When Tara said we needed to drive down to Hermosa to check out some guy’s lights, I balked at the idea. That meant a 45-minute roundtrip drive to a town of some 400 people. “We should stick to Rapid City,” I told her. Luckily, she didn’t listen to me. I was more than happy to eat crow, because that lighting display turned out to be the most spectacular I’ve ever seen.
I may be stubborn, but I have no problem admitting when I’m wrong. I think the trek to Hermosa will become an annual tradition now.
Which isn’t to say the lights in town were anything to sneeze at, either.
But it would have been nice to end the evening in Hermosa rather than start out there. Better to set the bar low(er).
I had a few hours of personal leave to burn, so I took the morning of Christmas Eve off (CenturyCo was shutting down at noon). Tara was off too, so we decided to catch It’s a Wonderful Life at the historic Elks Theatre downtown. We’d never seen a movie there before (and hadn’t been to a theater all year for obvious reasons). But the staff did a good job of cordoning off seats to ensure social distancing. We were up above them all in the balcony anyway.
We really enjoyed it. Tara had actually never watched the movie all the way through and was pretty impressed. You can never go wrong with Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, and “Buffalo Gals (Won’t You Come Out Tonight?)”
Christmas Day was almost perfect. It gets an asterisk because it was sunny and 55º. I would have preferred a white Christmas, but what are you gonna do? I’ll tell you what we did: opened gifts, watched movies, tortured the cat, and cooked good food.
All in all, it was a pretty nice holiday. There’s not a single thing I would change, and I almost never say that.
Normally we’d take down all the Christmas decorations this weekend, but I think we’ll make an exception this year and leave them up through New Year’s Day. I kinda want to hold onto the spirit of the season a little bit longer.
Which isn’t to say I’m not already looking forward to next summer. This morning, I made our first camping reservation for 2021. Third weekend in June, we’ll be at our favorite spot on Sheridan Lake.
I’ll probably start yearning for the holidays again right around that time…