It's Christmas Eve! Christmas Eve is the day for celebrating with glittering lights and dancing in the snow with the person most dear to you. Exchanging gifts, going out, sipping hot chocolate are all characteristics of this pre-holiday.
But easily overlooked is the fact that Christmas Eve is also the most romantic day in December, the day when romance runs wild underneath arches adorned with mistletoe.
Perhaps it is all the commercialism that makes the anticipation for Christmas Day leak into Christmas Eve, and gets teens and adults excited and in the romantic mood of the holidays. But the romance of Christmas is really expressed in two ways: the romantic chemistry between couples and then the romance of loving the ideals of Christmas, of being together with people we care about, doing something awesome for someone else we love, and showing appreciation for what they do for us.
Sometimes, these two romantic themes come together as we found when we talked with some Top of Utah teens about their thoughts on this love-filled holiday.
"I would have to say one of the most romantic things about Christmas Eve is the traditions you invite someone into," said Dennica Fifield, a sophomore at Davis High School. "It's one of those amazing, sort of magical moments you could say."
An old tradition associated with Christmas is that of hanging mistletoe. Mistletoe is a parasitical plant that grows on oak trees and when hung from the ceiling, is recognized as a sign for giving someone standing beneath it an innocent kiss.
The hanging of mistletoe is an age-old tradition; ancient Europeans considered mistletoe to have magical powers because it remained alive during the winter, even though all of the leaves on the oak tree had died, according to the article, "What Does Mistletoe Have To Do With Christmas?" by Frank H. Tainter on www.apsnet.org.
Mistletoe is unique to the winter holiday season, and helps add to the air of romanticism. As Dallin Warner, a sophomore from Weber High School, explains, "Mistletoe -- the reasons are self-explanatory."
One unnamed Davis High student was overheard to say that the best first kiss had to be either under the mistletoe or becoming a "true" Davis Dart, getting a kiss through the "D" at the Davis High football field.
Glimmering lights of the season add to the romance of Christmas Eve as well. Lights aglow, as fat snowflakes fall softly to the hard ground, is the ideal setup for a romantic holiday experience.
As Jasminy Duarte, a senior at Ogden High School, put it, "A nice walk in the snow with your significant other looking at Christmas lights is romantic."
Yet lights aren't the only thing about Christmas Eve that warms the heart in otherwise frigid air.
"When it's snowy and you're outside under the Christmas lights, huddled together, because it's cold, (it) is pretty romantic," said Jessica Erikson, a Weber High sophomore.
Room for Scrooge?
Not all high school students find Christmas Eve to be so full of physical romance.
Michael Adkins, a sophomore at Davis High School, said, "nothing whatsoever" is romantic about Christmas Eve.
This day isn't romantic for Karlee Baugh, a sophomore at Weber High School, either -- "Not unless a hot guy shows up under your Christmas tree," she said.
Even if Santa doesn't bring a hot guy, there is always the magic of sharing traditions with others.
"The most romantic part of Christmas Eve is when the kids go to bed and you're putting presents under the tree. And all the lights are off except for the tree," said Ellika Palmer a sophomore at Davis High.
Christmas music, stories and movies -- like "White Christmas" -- also provide a romantic atmosphere to Christmas Eve. Classics like "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens and "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King" by Ernst Hoffmann, on which the "Nutcracker" ballet is based, show how to capture the romance of the season by showing us how we connect with each other.
Kenzie Day, a sophomore at Davis High, said a more modern version of this sentiment, including the element of emotional romance, is the human movie version of the Grinch story, starring Jim Carrey.
The day before the, arguably, most anticipated day in the entire year is great for sitting back and taking in the view of all those twinkling lights complementing the natural sky's complexion.
Whether you are with a special someone, with your family or friends, or spending time by yourself at this time of year, Christmas Eve only comes once a year, so let yourself get caught up in the romance.
Sarah Stratford is a junior at Davis High School. Email her at email@example.com.