This is a question that has baffled the greatest philosophers for centuries (probably not, this just sounded like a cool first line).
Everybody has specific traditions for their family that make Christmas Christmas for them. I know some families always gather at a specific family member’s house or eat a specific meal, or something special like that. My wife’s wonderful Jamaican family has the tradition of gathering together to eat wonderful Jamaican food every Christmas. Now, I am convinced that you’ve never really had a Christmas meal unless it involved Curry Goat and Festival.
Growing up, my family didn’t really have a tradition like this, per se. Or if we did, I can’t remember. Instead, for me, Christmas is Christmas when I receive a certain, specific gift. Before you write me off as materialistic and selfish, hear me out. Mini York Peppermint Patties. That’s all it takes for me to feel like it’s Christmas. Ever since I can remember celebrating Christmas I can remember having a stocking full of York Peppermint Patties (with an orange in the toe of the stocking… maybe it’s a Florida thing?).
I really don’t know what I would do if I didn’t receive some mini York Peppermint Patties for Christmas. I would probably raise my fists in dramatic gumption and proclaim, “this is not Christmas!” Thankfully, I made sure to tell my wife that I needed these in my stocking and she lovingly obliged.
There’s just something about them. The delicate balance and contrast of dark chocolate with sweet peppermint. The way the chocolate shatters when you bite into it. The way you don’t need to brush your teeth after you eat them because of the mint (jk, I promise). Not only are Yorks my Christmas must have, they’re my favorite candy. And, I just ate a handful for breakfast.
Don’t get me wrong, the grace of God, family, love, and the gift of giving makes Christmas Christmas, but for me, the York Peppermint Patties are the sticky, chocolatey, pepperminty glue that holds it all together.
What makes Christmas Christmas for you? Whatever it is, cherish it and share it with loved ones. Life is short and Christmas only comes once a year.