December is finally leaving out the scarves and winter coats and ending evenings with hot chocolate. It’s rushing from one holiday event to the next and feeling so busy that you have to stop and wonder if it’s actually fun. It’s eggnog and soup and cider. It’s Christmas shopping and anticipation and the good kind of secret keeping. It’s hoping and wishing and planing and so much singing. It’s watching for snow and giggling over the first flakes that you try to catch in your mouth as if you were still a kid. It’s finally getting to watch Elf after waiting around all year. It’s Handel’s Messiah, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, and any Christmas song by Amy Grant. It’s that clear winter smell in the air, that smell of pine and cinnamon and cold. December is never long enough.
This December was also a first Christmas tree together, a first Christmas together. It was scrambling to finish papers on Proust and anxiously watching the Fiscal Cliff debates. It was late night runs to Good Stuff and so many Starbucks salted-caramel hot chocolates. It was every song by Straight No Chaser and imaging new Christmas traditions together. It was gingerbread cookies every night and eggnog drunk exclusively out of wine glasses. It was DC December, of White House Christmas tours, and doughnut making parties, and macarons of every color. It was the first Christmas of juggling multiple families, and always missing something while frantically trying to miss nothing. It was the hours on the road, inching along through the first blizzard of the year. It was eating so much sugar that I wanted to die, and then going back for another doughnut. It was singing, and sledding, and gift-giving, and introducing new people to old traditions. December still wasn’t long enough.