All I Want for Christmas
Merry Christmas everyone! Or Happy Holidays for whichever holiday you prefer.
I have to admit that during Christmas, I sometimes wish that I had a niece or a nephew. Not my own kids, but someone else’s to buy presents for and catch their contagious excitement. I remember how magical Christmas was as a kid. My sister was four years older than me – and so much wiser of course. I asked her once why Santa’s handwriting was similar to Dad’s and she said simply that all men write that way.
I bought it back then.
I asked for Superman figures for Christmas two years in a row. It was because I lost his little red cape. He was a small plastic figure with his outfit permanently drawn over his muscular body. I also got the usual girlie things too – Barbie dolls, a Newborn Cabbage Patch Kid, Sunshine Care Bear and Strawberry Shortcake. Another year it was a Pound Puppy or a charm bracelet.
I never knew how long my parents would stand in line for those toys or how many stores they had to scout. Their main reward was drinking the milk and eating the sugar cookies we made for Santa every year.
The main tradition was going to church every Christmas Eve. I wore a velvety or itchy dress and standing up for the long baptismal sessions or the live nativity recreation where Mary and Joseph are in the second grade. They carefully swaddle their Newborn Cabbage Patch Kid while they wait for the Three Wise Men.
Afterwards we would go to McDonald’s (not feeling sorry for the poor teenage kids who had to work late on Christmas Eve) and order 20 pieces of Chicken McNuggets, along with greasy fries and some Cokes. We would drive around the neighborhood and ooh and ahh at the lights. Then we’d come home for some Christmas pictures, sometimes positioning the camera on cereal boxes to capture the moment.
Christmas is a little different now that I am an adult. This year I sent my family holiday cards with gift cards tucked away inside. I sometimes wish I could go back to that magic, but it means something else now. As a grown up, it’s so easy to forget that there are always special things happening everywhere around us. It’s easy to get lost in responsibility.
At least we have our neighbor’s kids to visit tonight, to see their shining eyes, when December 25th still has a different vibe. Sometimes I feel sad that we don’t have a house full of vibrant kids roaming around and weird traditions to pass along, but there’s also a sense of quiet here that I’m savoring and a chance to have our own celebration. Those memories live on, transformed into something else.
And then suddenly a new year is born.
Image Credit: dmmalva via Flickr Creative Commons