The Davis children assemble and decorate a gingerbread house a few years ago. A fair amount of tasting the decor took place, as well. This year, Christmas seems to have come upon the family faster than ever.
The Davis children assemble and decorate a gingerbread house a few years ago. A fair amount of tasting the decor took place, as well. This year, Christmas seems to have come upon the family faster than ever.

First draft of a Christmas letter (should I be so inclined to write one):

Dear friends,


I am writing this end-of-year holiday letter just a few weeks before Christmas, hoping the act of discussing the big day will usher in the yuletide spirit that has been conspicuously absent in our house this season.

Despite the shopping days left before Christmas dwindling down, I still have pumpkins sitting on my front porch and a bat-adorned wreath on the door. I have yet to switch the satellite radio to the Christmas-tunes station. Most surprisingly, the children have not penciled in even one page of gift requests, much less their usual Manifesto of Must-Haves (that changes daily).

Yes, we are suffering from a case of the Christmas mehs around here. We just can’t conjure up the merry!

I know it’s only a matter of time before the holiday buzz kicks in and we’ll rush madly around pulling bins of wreaths, lights and bulbs from the garage, searching for the perfect tree, and adding to Jeff Bezos’ net worth many times over.

But for now, the Davis family has not yet fallen victim to the month of mass consumption.

For one thing, we traveled over the Thanksgiving holiday. Internationally. With the children! So, I’m frankly just happy to have figured out what time it actually is, and to have finally finished unpacking the suitcases full of our stuff. I honestly cannot think about accumulating yet more stuff.

(Also, we spent every dollar, pound and Euro we had — and some we didn’t — so even if I wanted to start on a shopping list, the only thing I could do is think about it.)

I suppose if I think about it, the spirit of Christmas is about much more than shopping and gifts. And it’s really those parts I love the most:

-The smell of pine in our living room when we come home, in the dark, exhausted from school and work.

-How a fire in the fireplace draws the children to play Uno or Monopoly together nearby — and the glow of the fire’s light on their faces.

-Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas” played so many times we can hear it in our sleep.

-Holiday gatherings with friends and family.

-Writing letters to Santa. (Though I think we’re nearing the end of this gravy train, at least where the boys are concerned. They already know the real deal and are just waiting for us to confirm it. Thoughts on whether we should put an end to the mystery??)

-The quiet after the children are in bed for the night, as my husband and I sit on the sofa and watch the tree lights softly twinkle.


-Pajama-rolling at Casey Cares.

-Our next-door neighbor’s annual in-person delivery of homemade chocolate-and-toffee “holiday bark.” Our other next-door neighbor’s annual delivery of homemade vasilopita (Greek New Year’s) bread.

-The children in Christmas pajamas.

-Trying (and failing) to put together a gingerbread house kit. (Unless consuming copious amounts of icing and gumdrops counts as success, in which case, #winning.)

-The way picking green beans for Christmas dinner reminds me of my beautiful grandmother who died in 2008.

-Opening Christmas cards from the few people who still send them — and swearing that next year I’ll be more on the ball and send some of our own.

-Hot chocolate and Bailey’s. Egg nog and rum. Or egg nog and bourbon. Or egg nog and rum and bourbon. Mmmmmm.

I digress!

The point is, as I sit and think about all the non-Amazon-Prime-related reasons to love this season, I’m starting to feel a tiny toastiness brewing in my belly, a wee urge to deck the halls, do a jingle bell rock and take the kids a-wassailing (whatever that means).

You see? I knew writing this letter would spark some Christmas spirit!

I don’t quite hear angels singing, nor have I spotted any partridges in our backyard pear tree.

But I did just add a gingerbread house kit and three sets of adorable Christmas pajamas to my Amazon cart. (Curse you, Jeff Bezos!!) And while I’ve been typing, I’ve been humming “This Christmas.”

So ho-ho-ho, friends and loved ones. Thank you for reminding me why this truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

Tanika Davis is a former Baltimore Sun reporter who works in communications at Constellation. She and her husband have twin 9-year-old sons, a 7-year-old daughter, a perpetually messy house and rapidly appearing gray hairs. She also needs a nap. She can be reached at tanikawhite@gmail.com. Her column appears monthly.