I picked up my journal this morning, ready to start closing out another year in its pages. Instead, I found myself looking back at previous entries.
I received the large leather bound journal two Christmas holidays ago and on its first few entries I vowed to fill it within the year.
I started flipping to the first blank page and I found myself stuck on something I wrote in December 2018.
“Here I am, still in Alaska. I’m still wrapped up in that blanket my mom gave me and I’m still listening to folk music.”
I stopped, looked up and out the window at the wind whipping over Resurrection Bay. I wrapped myself tighter in that blanket my mom gave me nearly a decade ago while Joni Mitchell wafted through my apartment.
Here I am again.
I wrote those words once more underneath the date, December 25, 2019, and started to wax poetic in the journal pages.
I know, the holidays are supposed to be about tradition and family, but I live far away from my family. And yes, the holidays are about community and love, and I experienced so much of that this holiday season with bowls full of homemade gnocchi and skiing partners, but presents are pretty darn great too, aren’t they?
So, while sitting wrapped in a Christmas gift from 2010 and writing in one from 2017, I couldn’t help but think, “I love presents!”
I’m the kid that would find all the gifts in the house the weeks before Christmas. I love to know what is waiting under the tree for me, almost as much as I love to tell someone what I got for them!
I grabbed a puzzle out of a White Elephant gift exchange early this holiday season to hone my patience. I can’t wait to finish it!
My dad, after 27 Christmas holidays together, texted me a link to an Amazon order for a new, down comforter with the request that I not use it until Christmas Day. I fell asleep Christmas Eve, so cozy and warm, underneath the heavy weight of the new blanket.
What better way to wake up Christmas morning?
I had spent a whole week trying to guess what the rectangle-shaped box in the corner of the room with my name on it was. Googling “things that weigh 12 pounds” led me down a rabbit hole full of pictures of chihuahuas. I hoped I wouldn’t hear any yapping on Christmas morning.
Fueling my impatient fire, my boyfriend kept bringing up the haphazardly wrapped gift.
“It’s really a sharp gift,” he told me.
“I think it’s quite cutting edge,” he said a few days after that.
But it wasn’t until I opened up a new set of cooking knives that I understood the jokes.
There were some flashier items on my Christmas list this year, like a set of Nordic blades, but those are the sometimes gifts. The presents you get to break out here and there, enjoying the brief stints of frozen, glassy lakes.
This year, I was given the opportunity to say, “Here I am again,” with gifts that last. Like the leather-bound journal that I promise to write in daily, but still come around to weekly as I get to relive my days and past holidays two years later.
When I’m chopping into a plate of veggies or a nice loaf of bread, I get to reflect on how sharp of a gift knives really are.
At night, when I’m falling asleep to a cacophonous Seward windstorm sending slight chills through my window frames, it’s wonderful being wrapped up in the blankets from my parents each gifted at different ends of the decade.