I was walking to get my lunch today here in Reston Town Center... it's one of those shopping districts that purists hate because it has been completely artifically developed. For Knoxvillians, think Turkey Creek but in a city format. J.Crews and restaurants are neatly contained in a 12-block development that is box store heaven. But artifical or not, RTC isn't messing around about Christmas. The garlands and wreaths went up right around Halloween. The lights came out a couple weeks later, along with a gigantic tree festooned with brightly colored balls and ribbons. And then the piece de resistance: an ice rink went down in the central square.
When I go to one of the local businesses, the Community Canteen (shout out to the Chicken and Brie Panini), I pass by that mammoth tree and the ice skaters. I'm not sure why these things make us so happy... or at least why they make me so happy. Is it nostalgia (for a kind of Christmas that I myself never had) or is there something intrinsically magical about all these ingredients combined? I'm sure psychological studies have been conducted on the subject and could give me complex answers of a compulsion to fantasize about a idyllic family/childhood or wish fulfillment, but I don't really want those kinds of answers. I want to believe that there is something inherently wonderful about this time of year. The crisp and jarring winter air reminds me I'm alive... the way that hot and humid summer air makes me fell like I'm dead. Everyone is bundled up and walking briskly, laidened with overpriced parcels for an unknown third party. The incessant and annoying bleeps of electronically remixed pop songs that ubiquitious to clothing retailers are replaced with the soft croonings of Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra singing the classic Christmas tunes. It's just great.
I know everyone loves Christmas (unless something traumatic has happened to them around the holiday), I'll say it again: I love Christmas.
I can't wait to enjoy this season with people that I love!