Commentary · Holiday · Nostalgia

It’s The Most Nostalgic Time of the Year

This is the time of year nostalgia really begins to develop into a full-fledged obsession, and why shouldn’t it? Christmas is only a little more than a month away, and I’ve got snowflakes, Santa Claus, and silver bells on my mind.

I know, I know, we can’t forget about Thanksgiving, the forgotten holiday. And we shouldn’t, of course, but I gotta say, Thanksgiving doesn’t hold the same nostalgic memories that Christmas does… Perhaps because Christmas is really a full season that dominates the entire month of December with 24-hour Christmas music radio stations, houses covered in lights, and shopping, shopping, shopping.

Okay, so there is one Thanksgiving memory that sticks out—the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Every year I would get up to watch that spectacle at 7:00 a.m. with my mom, who also loved it. The floats, the marching bands, and those fantastic giant balloons. It’s nostalgic for a lot of people, and we wrote more about it on this post last year (we’ve updated the post with this year’s viewing information).

Beyond the parade, I also have memories of helping my mom make homemade cranberry sauce for the Thanksgiving dinner, using fresh cranberries and oranges, ground up using a mechanical, hand-crank food grinder. It was super satisfying to hear the cranberries “pop” and watch the pulpy globs of crushed fruit come out and drop in a bowl; it was not super satisfying to eat, because despite the added oranges, it was exceedingly tart. But I must say, it is one of my favorite memories of Thanksgiving.

We always had the exact same meal at Christmas that we had for Thanksgiving. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, pumpkin and pecan pies, dinner rolls… Okay, I lied. It wasn’t exact. The difference was that at Christmas, there would be a tasty addition: cookies—dozens of them—lovingly baked by my grandmother and shipped to us in old Tom McAn and Bass shoe boxes.

The holidays hold so many nostalgic memories of childhood. From putting up our fake tree and carefully placing years of ornaments on its branches, to listening to record after record of Christmas music—The Carpenters, Johnny Mathis, Bing Crosby, The Osmonds, Frank Sinatra… all the classics. Playing outside in the snow and coming back in for hot chocolate by the roaring fire in the fireplace. Shopping at the downtown stores (and later at the mall). Wrapping gifts and writing Christmas cards. Sitting on Santa’s lap and writing Santa a follow-up letter addressed to the North Pole, in case he forgot.

We always had a Christmas Eve sing-along party with the neighbors after the early Church service. We never went to the midnight candle service—I was always in bed, dreaming away of the glorious gifts Santa would bring…

I remember as a kid how relaxed the holiday season was.  No school. No responsibility.

Nothing to do but enjoy the time.

Time. Funny how the perception of time changes so drastically as you get older. It seems to go by so much faster as an adult than as a kid. As an adult, this time of year is spent wondering how we got to the end of the year so quickly. “Where does the time go?” we ask, as we think back over the year to all that happened. “It seems like just yesterday . . .” we say.

Which is why I’m going to make a concentrated effort to make time slow down this year for the holiday season. I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to do it, but I have some ideas:

  • Pay attention to, and concentrate on, “happy” time, rather than the daily stresses of adult life;
  • Diligently work to be present in the moment;
  • Consciously reduce stress through exercise, sleep, music, and deliberate relaxation;
  • Live nostalgically to brighten the holiday season.

Will any of this work? Who knows. I hope so.

I guess I can take comfort knowing that time is not actually going faster. One minute is one minute. One day is one day. One year is one year. It’s the same for everyone, young or old.

Perhaps I just need to remember to fill up those minutes, days, and years with nostalgic memories so that 20 years from now, I will look back and smile, knowing I spent my 2017 holiday season wisely.

* * *

Let me know: How will you slow down time this holiday season?

steveSteve is a lawyer, writer, and the lucky father of three amazing boys. Here at The Nostalgia Diaries, his goal is to help readers focus on the important things, and wants everyone to celebrate the past to create better days today.


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One thought on “It’s The Most Nostalgic Time of the Year

  1. It’s so true… time perception is so weird. Every now and then I am successful in slowing down time and I am always trying to hold on to it for as long as I can. It’s usually a state of mind, so your tips are helpful.

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