Christmas is my ultimate favorite time of year. It comes in the winter, my favorite season. White Christmas’ are the best gift. I love putting up my Christmas tree with my family the day after Thanksgiving. Every decoration goes up in one day. I will sing Christmas songs everyday, the radio station stays on the Christmas channel. This is the season of giving, this is my season. I have a giving heart. I love giving to my family and friends all year long and I go into overdrive at Christmas. I always make a budget but usually go over it, I can’t help it, I love buying gifts for my loved ones. But as wonderful as Christmas is, there is always a down side. A lot of people get Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) starting with the time change in the fall. It’s a type of depression due to the seasons changing. It get’s darker earlier and starts to get cold, people can start feeling down, getting zapped of their energy and moody. This is the time I start to get excited. Cold weather? Yes, please! I LOVE cold weather. Getting dark earlier? Not a huge fan, but I know what comes when it starts to get dark at 5:00 pm. Christmas. My excitement starts to build. Halloween comes, we hand out candy and eat the candy. We begin making fall food dishes. I’ve made chili about 4 times already. Pumpkin everything. Then comes Thanksgiving. Yum! I love to eat and this is all my favorite food, especially cranberry sauce. I can’t get enough of cranberry sauce. The excitement continues to build. Then Black Friday, the day that begins the Christmas season. The music starts, the tree and decorations go up, Advent starts at church. I am in heaven for a month. We watch Christmas movies, usually more than once. We drink hot chocolate with or without Irish Cream. We buy presents, we wrap presents. I know this all sounds commercial, but I have the true meaning of Christmas in my heart. Giving. Jesus lived his entire short life doing just that. He gave. He gave the ultimate gift, his life. God gave the ultimate gift, His Son! And then on Christmas Eve my family sits around the tree and we read A Visit From St Nicholas by Clement Clark Moore. My girls open their one present from me and their stepdad. The one they get excited for every year because they know it’s their pajamas that they get to wear that night. We stay up late and go to Midnight Mass and celebrate the birth of our Lord. It is a magnificent service and my heart is full of love. We come home, set out the cookies and milk, and the kids go to bed. Santa comes and sets out the presents under the tree, neatly arranged, almost like mom did it! Stockings are stuffed and laid out by the gifts. All the milk and cookies but one gets eaten. One is left with a little bite taken out of it as proof that Santa Claus really did come and eat his cookies. My husband and I go to bed all the while hoping that the cats don’t mess anything up under the tree. My husband will wake up first and he’ll go wake up the girls, they are older now so they appreciate their sleep a little more. We get up and my heart feels like it’s going to explode with love and excitement. The girls open their presents, Brian opens his presents. I always open last, I love to watch everyone open their gifts first. Then I open mine. I love getting presents. Gifts is my love language. We clean up the wrapping and get dressed. It’s time for Christmas breakfast at Waffle House, a tradition that I made with the girls after my divorce. After breakfast it is more family time. Either Brian’s or mine. This year we will be making the trek to Kansas City to spend it with my family. We will put my girls on a plane that evening to go be with their dad and stepmom in Los Angeles for their Christmas break. Then my heart will hurt. I’ll wake up on the day after Christmas and my heart will hurt even more. We’ll come home, take down the tree. Everything will seem empty without the decorations. Life will go back to normal. Then it will just be cold and dark. This is when my depression likes to sneak in. There are a few exciting days. My husband’s birthday is a few days after Christmas and a few days after that is New Years. Then, nothing. The only excitement is what we make up ourselves and we try really hard because depression sucks. If I can hold on until February when the next best day of the year appears.