This Christmas, however, I get to enjoy every stage of the Christmas holiday at home, and with it comes many benefits.
- Decorations. Christmas is not Christmas without Christmas lights and a Christmas tree that is taller than you (even if it isn't real). It is so much more comforting to come home to a house sparkling with lights than to a dark, drab apartment complex.
- Snow! Provo does get a few good storms a year, but they've got nothing on Elk Ridge. We actually get snow that covers all of the grass for long periods of time. And driving isn't always that bad—the snow plows do pretty good at keeping the roads clear. However, as long as there are no major accidents, it's always an adventure getting home to Elk Ridge during a snowstorm. A lot of people hate it, but I think it makes life more exciting. There is something that is just so comforting about snow—I don't care how inconvenient it can be at times. It's magical.
- Food. While December is full of homemade goodies and fattening treats, we always have 3 special Christmastime snacks stocked throughout the house: spiced cider, nuts, and oranges. We don't usually eat these things (except maybe oranges) at any other time of year, so eating them during the holidays makes them more special.
- Smells. Christmas smells heavenly. Whether it be a candle, spiced cider, or something chocolate, there is always a comforting and delightful smell in the air.
- Jazz games. I love that I get to watch Jazz games whenever I want to (provided that there is a game on, that is). I don't have to plan around anyone else because the games get top priority at my house. It's an awesome system.
- I'm not in charge! While I love and need my independence, sometimes I just want to take a break from it all. At home my parents get to make all the decisions and I get to just relax and go with the flow. For the most part.
- Sounds. Provo is full of noise—partying students, blaring tvs and music, never-ending traffic, and that blasted train. Elk Ridge is almost completely silent. At times, I swear I can hear the snowflakes fall. And one of the most comforting sounds I hear at this time of year is the sound the snow plows make as they are driving up and down the streets. It means that the snow is falling and I am safe in my warm bed, and most importantly, I can look forward to seeing a pure, winter wonderland when I wake up.
- Neighbors. If you can't tell, I hate big cities. (And yes, I consider Provo a big city.) It was depressing to drive around my college neighborhood and see nothing but boring apartment buildings. Driving around Elk Ridge is a lot more fun. Half the people put lights on their houses, and there are always those neighbors that are competing for that "coolest Christmas lights" spot. I must admit, my family does what it can to stay in the running for that one.
- Family. I know certain people are waiting for me to list this, so I probably better get it over with. :) Christmas is a time for family. Friends are important too, but I've always been a much bigger fan of family during the Christmas season.
- Atmosphere. In college, students look forward to Christmas so they can have a break from school and so they can see their families again for a few weeks. When you are already home, it's easier to look forward to that magical Christmas morning—parents are hiding gifts around the house, siblings are wrapping presents and putting them under the tree, everyone is talking about the next family Christmas party. It kind of makes me feel like a kid again to be around all the pre-Christmas excitement.
While the Christmas spirit is attainable wherever you are, having a house and a family to go with it takes away a lot of the effort.