As an adult, Christmas has been something to endure.
I should specify that it was for most of my adult life. In college, Christmas was a welcome respite home when the the break from school and being with family made it worth the trek through traffic hell.
Once released from the academic womb, though, all the stuff started. First, it was the wishing for a real Christmas. The trip home became more of a reminder that I hadn't really started my own life yet.
The holiday was a veritable litmus test for the American dream. Wife? Kids? Secure future? Magazine-worthy home? Yeah, um, I'll get on that next year.
And what happens as those items get checked off the list? More worry, of course. Is the house just right for Christmas? Did I get my wife what she wanted -- what she deserved? Did I really gain 10 pounds? Will the kids remember this holiday without wincing? Will this at least be better than last year's mess? Have I even paid off last year's Christmas?
The most wonderful time of the year? Jan. 2.
Maybe next year, I would think. Click through a few years and then decades. The Christmas circle shrinks and the wish comes true. It’s not such a big deal anymore.
When I look back at those holidays, it’s the work that I remember. Fondly. The preparation and the fixing. The getting it just close enough to right. Close enough to say this is how much you mean to me.
Now when I travel for Christmas, there isn’t a whole lot to fret about. I just look around at everyone else working through their pilgrimage to get near enough to their dreams to feel their warmth.
Steven A. Morelli is editor-in-chief for InsuranceNewsNet. He has more than 25 years of experience as a reporter and editor for newspapers, magazines and insurance periodicals. Steve may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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