My Dad was the type of guy who didn’t just love Christmas, he adored it. He waited every year until July and then began playing John Denver’s Christmas Album. He would go shopping on December 26th to scour the shelves for half-priced strings of lights, to add to his Chevy Chase-style light display. As I teenager I cringed at the tacky mix of colored lights and blinking white strands. But as an adult with a family of my own, I loved the messy display of love that my Dad put up each year.
More than the music and the lights, my Dad loved baking Christmas cookies. He started on his creations before Thanksgiving and churned out batches of chocolate crinkles, snickerdoodles and classic chocolate chip. He would travel across states and highways with Christmas tins filled with his homemade treats and arrive at the door, morning or night, with the lid open demanding we try some of his cookies.
Last year was the first Christmas without my Dad and the grief was tremendous. But one of the things I’ve learned from the first year of loss is finding ways to include my Dad’s memory in the little celebrations of daily life and holidays.
So after two days of baking cookies with the littles, the damn elves decided to jump in on the fun and eat some cookies with the head elf himself, Grandpa. I love being able to celebrate Christmas with my Dad and know he’s looking down with a smile watching his grandkids take on his love of all things Christmas, covered in sugar.