1. Receiving presents meant developing premature carpal tunnel from writing an abundance of thank you notes.
Xbox? Thank you note. $50? Thank you note. $5? Thank you note. Crocodile onesie? Thank you note. Obnoxious card that lights up and plays “Jingle Bells” when opened? Thank you note. Casserole? Return the dish promptly and write a thank you note. Thank you note? Thank you note in response to their thank you note.
2. “Tender Tennessee Christmas” was played on repeat in your house from the second Santa passed by in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to when the ball dropped on New Year’s.
Over and over and over and over. So much, in fact, that Amy Grant was practically your holiday spirit animal.
3. You know that beans n’ greens are the only way to make sure the following year isn’t going to totally suck.
Because without a plate of black-eyed peas and greens on New Year’s Day, how else do you expect to have twelve bangin’ months of wealth, prosperity, and luck? Stuff yourself silly — your future will thank you.
4. Going tree shopping meant scoping out a cedar on I-40 with the whole family.
Bonus points if your dad also appointed you as the official “Blue Lights Lookout.”
5. It’s not the holiday season without a little nativity scene controversy.
Baby Jesus carved by chainsaw. Joseph rocking a santa hat. A manger standing in as a symbol for gun violence. It’s like watching a holiday special of Maury in your own neighborhood — just with more community caroling and a hell of a lot more eggnog.
6. Your mom always had the best arguments for leaving the Christmas lights up all year-round.
“Why take them down when I’ll just have to put them back up next year?” *sips wine*
7. Your living room table was like a bottomless pit of nuts n’ bolts.
Who cares if you’re on your twenty-second handful of rye crisps, chex, pretzels, peanuts, and pecans all soaked in butter and Worcestershire sauce and toasted in the oven? Keep ‘em coming — it’s like Christmas crack.
8. Dolly Parton was basically your eccentric aunt who only visited during the holidays.
The aunt who strings up four million holiday lights and lets you throw fake snow into the Abominable Snowman’s mouth and owns a giant toy shop? Y’know, the aunt with really big boobs? Yeah, that aunt.
9. You patiently waited for someone to send your family a tin of Christie Cookies before stuffing yourself into an oblivion of buttery white chocolate macadamia nut crumbs.
Of course, leading to the inevitable outcome of someone in your family bitching you out for only leaving behind a mess of oatmeal raisin.
10. Getting a casserole from your neighbors meant you had a 48-hour timespan to lick the pan clean and return it in perfect condition.
Think you’d never break a sweat from gobbling up green bean casserole? Think again. And think if the pan doesn’t sparkle when you return it that you’ll ever see another broccoli cheddar baked chicken dish? You are so sadly mistaken.
11. You hopped over the state line to experience some sensory overload at Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights.
Because what’s the holiday season without blacklight depictions of grim and grisly fairytales in a damp cave with some hot cocoa in hand?
12. The closest thing you got to a white Christmas was some fake snow your mom decorated the top of the television with.
Treetops glistening and children listening to hear sleigh bells in the snow? Only in your distant, unrealistic, and 45° dreams.
13. Most of your presents probably came from the Cracker Barrel.
“Wow! Another Sparkling Cinnamon Jar Yankee Candle? Thanks everyone!”
14. You know the best Jack Daniel’s drinking games to keep you sane when dealing with the side of the family you only see once a year.
Take one sip for every “Where are you going to church?” Two sips for every “Now, you’re not living with this boy premarriage, are you?” And a shot every time Uncle Steve makes a comment about “making America great again.”
God bless the holidays.