More than any other holiday, it seems Christmas is expectation. We were raised with it, we cleaved to it. Our Advent calendars count down the days; retailers relentlessly remind of us of the time we have left to shop. Our early Christmases set the stage; our Christmas movies set the tone. Ask just about anyone—even someone who doesn’t observe the holiday—what Christmas is “supposed” to be like, and they can probably tell you, in meticulous detail.
But here’s the thing. Nothing, not even Christmas, can possibly live up to the vision in our imaginations, or the sentimental bar set so high by the media and our own childhoods.