'It's the most wonderful time of the year'

As I sit here waiting for my teeth to finish whitening- I feel the need to write a new blog! I feel that it's been rather hard for me to get into the Christmas spirit this year. Perhaps it's the fact that I have no earthly idea where September, October and November went. Maybe it's my hard financial situation? It may be my general unhappiness that I'm sick of waiting tables... regardless I was feeling a little Bah Humbug about the whole season... until a couple of dear friends reminded me just what this season means.

After going over my finances for the month of November and December it was realized that I wouldn't be able to afford to go home for Christmas. Devastated doesn't even begin to describe how I felt while typing an explanatory email to my family. No sooner had I made the hard decision than visions of spending December 25th rushed through my head. I could just picture myself: Not showered, sitting in the living room with my flannel pj's on, surrounded by half eaten Christmas cookies, a sleeping dog by my side, a Christmas movie on replay, and tissues everywhere from all the crying. This was going to be awful.

My Mom soon reminded me how dramatic I was being and reassured me that it was just a holiday. "I'm sure you can have dinner with the Bishop and his family?" she suggested. Great. I love my bishop, but do I really want to invade their family Christmas dinner consisting of Him, his wife, and his 6 kids all under 14? No. I started crying again. What about stockings, and presents, Mom's home made coffee cake and the reading of Jesus' birth from the book of Luke? What about all the traditions that I so greatly looked forward to each year?! What about seeing everyone open their gifts and laughing with my siblings... this would just be awful.

As the month of November drew to a close people began asking when I would be returning home for the Holidays and in return I filled them in on the depressing situation. They all thought it was awful, but assured me I would be fine (although their assurance often times read as 'thank goodness I am not in this situation'). When my dear friend Christina asked me what my plans for Christmas were- her reply shocked me. She simply said "No. You are going home for Christmas". A giggle escaped my mouth and I reassured her I would be fine. She once again replied with  "Courtney, you are going home for Christmas". 

Ladies and Gentlemen, Christina Kelly bought me a plane ticket home. I cried when she told me, I cried when she booked it, and I cried when she gave me her reasoning behind this extravagant gift. 

I've been talking about a Christmas tree with my roommate Lauren, for months now. I asked her if we could get one. I talked the pit bull vs. tree situation over with her. She has put up with my silly strand of Christmas lights and 4 minuscule candy canes that I call 'decorations' in the living room. If I had my wish, every inch of our apartment would look like the store windows at Macys... however this year, it wasn't an option. I couldn't afford all those decorations as well as a tree. I chalked it up to my bad 2009 luck and swallowed that hard pill. 

After a long and hard shift at work, I returned home to find a small (yet BEAUTIFUL) tree with Christmas lights and a card attached to it. It was an early gift from my dear roommate that sent me jumping up and down and screaming like a 5 year old girl. Lauren bought that tree for us, when it really meant nothing to her... she did it because she knew how much it meant to me.

My point is not to brag, or create a sense of envy. Instead stop for a moment and think of something you've done for someone this Holiday season. It could be as simple as a smile or as expensive as a plane ticket. The point is, Christina and Lauren's simple gifts humbled me. It reminded me that Christmas means the most when you strive to make those around you happy. 

I am so thankful for my friends. I love my family. I am eternally indebted to a Savior who gave His son for me. I hope that everyone has a truly blessed Christmas, and remember... try at least once during this holiday season to look outside yourself and make someone else smile:)