The difference of this time of year always demands to be noticed. The TV and radio ads start flooding our senses with all of their holiday-themed promises. Rudolph, Frosty, It's a Wonderful Life, and the Charlie Brown specials air. The Salvation Army bell-ringers start popping up outside all of the different stores. Decorative reminders abound all around town. Days become shorter, more somber; the nights become crisp and sprout little rows of boxes with colored lights.
At home, too, the change is clear - especially the days immediately leading up to Thanksgiving or Christmas. I can look outside, and in front of neighbors' houses, unfamiliar cars line the street, telling me that family and friends have come to gather. Little by little, Grams will spread out the chores, so as not to be overwhelmed on the actual day, with all the family arriving. Decorations have appeared. The turkey is ready and waiting. The scent of pumpkin pie wafted through the house today and a chocolate one was made tonight. We've dusted, vacuumed, and I finished this evening with the pine needles and pool-skimming.
As I type, some of our visiting family are down the hall and sleeping.
Right before I came to the computer, for the dressing, I tore the bread in to pieces, leaving it all to sit over night. All these preparations in the hours and days beforehand are fun for me. Breaking bread might not seem too exciting - but I really do look forward to it. All of these things represent a surge of activity that I know is going to take place tomorrow when the house is full of people and laughter. I could just as easily shy away from all that commotion and be happy - and I often do - but sometimes it's cool to experience that rush of life taking place, that's impossible to feel when it's just a guy and grandmother alone.
The holidays, proper, are nice - most definitely.
But it's the little things, too. It's the getting there that's fun.