Some People…
The holidays are a boon for cynical people. They enjoy sweet fantasies of Pinterest-fueled Christmas cookies, lights using as much energy as a third-world country, and gifts paid for with blood money on battlefields better known as Best Buy and Target.

On the other hand, the holidays are also a boon for the warm-spirited among us. They enjoy baking delicious cookies, decorating their homes and trees, buying gifts for their loved ones, and coming together as a family.

Now, there’s one theme that runs together among all Christmas personalities, songs, movies, and stories: You have to be home for Christmas. Mariah says so.

For the first 18 years of my life, I was home for Christmas. As Christmas Eve wound down, everything got a little more magical until it was finally bedtime – the 24 hours I was about to experience were so anticipated I couldn’t even sleep.

Snowstorms, coffee and painkillers, oh my!
After that, the holidays got hectic. When I was 19, I was stranded in Florence, Italy’s airport because of a freak snowstorm that blanketed all of Europe. I mean, obviously. During a crisis like that, when you’re living on the floor of an airport with hundreds of other passengers, you begin to wonder if you’ll be home for Christmas. Basically, “I can’t disappoint Mariah,” was my driving thought. Thankfully, Mimi must have pulled some strings with the man upstairs. My flight eventually slipped through a break in the Florentine storm, and my connection navigated Paris’ icy runways to finally jet home.

When I was 20, I was scheduled to work on Christmas at my job with a national coffee chain. My customers let me know how much of an injustice it was that I had to work and thanked me for my valiant service.

At 21, I went home for Christmas – only a 75 minute drive from my university – but I was recovering from surgery. My stocking stuffer that year was an Oxycontin prescription!

Now, I’m 22, with nothing between me and Christmas besides a few more workdays, and I’m pleased to report I’m feeling like a kid again – no snowstorms, no coffeeshops, and no surgery. Just homemade cookies, festive decorations, unexpected gifts, and of course, Mariah.