Christmas is an extraordinarily sensual holiday:
Hearing the whoops, screams, squeals and AWESOME's that accompany the receiving of gifts; hearing the treasured, familiar hymns about angels, bells, and Baby Jesus; hearing the happy sounds of love and fellowship around the tree and table; hearing the hooves of eitht tiny reindeer on the roof and a "ho-ho-ho" going up the chimney (courtesy of Clement Moore); hearing the silence of a still winter's night wrapped in white; hearing children sing "Happy Birthday, Jesus" in the church Christmas program; hearing Maddie read the Christmas story from Luke and Ella read "The Night Before Christmas".
Tasting apple cider, turkey and dressing, pecan pie, eggnog, candy canes, fudge and cranberry sauce; tasting familiar (cheese balls) and unfamiliar hors d'oeuvres (bacon-wrapped water chestnuts); tasting decorated sugar cookies and fruit cake.
Smelling cookies and gingerbread baking, evergreen trees and wreaths, Christmas candles; smelling Aunt Flora's perfume as she squeezes the breath out of you; smelling the potpourri simmering on the stove; smelling the crisp winter air full of wood smoke, fallen leaves and the promise of snow.
Touching the green waxy sprigs of evergreen as the ornaments are placed on the tree; touching and shaking the shiny gifts around the tree; touching the white cotton as you arrange the Dickens Village on the kitchen bar; touching the icy snow as you hurl your first snowball.
Seeing the first Christmas decoration go up in the mall, seeing the dripping white icicle lights on neighborhood houses and faux deer on the lawns; seeing the glow of Christmas lights through living room windows; seeing children seated on Santa's lap reciting their lists; seeing the first wobbly rides on new bikes.
And finally gathering in all the beauty, warmth and love of Christmas in one large package that almost overwhelms the heart.
Perhaps that is why I hate letting go of Christmas each year.