I remember as a kid, Christmas being my favorite time of the year. The anticipation of the big dude with the beard breaking into my house to leave me awesome gifts under the Christmas tree never failed to bring the anticipated excitement that came with the holiday. Winter break meant days I could spend with my cousins and friends. We would compare our Christmas lists and cross our fingers that we were just nice enough to not be on the naughty list. The crispness of the cold in the air, hot chocolate and A Muppet’s Christmas Carol. My favorite treat every Christmas was when my mom gave me oranges with peppermint stick straws. The kids in the neighborhood were normally outside playing by 8 am; showing off their fresh new clothes or new toys (sometimes both). Traditionally on Christmas Eve, all the kids at our family gatherings were allowed to open at least one gift before we went to bed at night. It was normally a set of pajamas or something that would be useful for that evening. We would watch “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer”, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and any other celebratory show that would allow us to stay up a little later in anticipation of Santa’s arrival.. Don’t forget the cookies and milk that we left for Santa in effort to show our appreciation for all the gifts he would bring: and the reindeer monitor that shared hourly updates of Santa’s trek across the globe on the local news intensified the excitement. It was such a magical time. A true age of innocence. Even after my Uncle Ronnie debunked the myth of Santa for me in the 3rd grade, I still anticipated the excitement of the Holiday Season and carried this over into my motherhood.
As time would pass and my generation would mature into a cultural explosion of discovery and began to questions the myths, tales and subsequent origins of the holiday we call Christmas; the fantasy would fade. I myself began to question the extent of which I would celebrate with my kids. I struggled with revealing the identity of Santa Claus at a very early age not because I wanted to perpetuate a lie but because I think there is something magical about a child’s innocence that we diminish when we stifle their imagination and who as a kid didn’t imagine what it would be like if you encountered Santa in the middle of his gift giving excursions. I enjoyed the gleam in my children’s eyes as they recited all the gifts they wanted for Christmas. I never raised my kids on an exorbitant budget so I was always confident even as a struggling single mother that if they behaved I could afford everything on their list and a little extra. However, children mature and grow into their own beliefs.
The evolution of Christmas has become sort of sore topic in this modern age of technology. With so many elements of information, the exposure to what is truth and what is fantasy has been overwhelming. It has its pros and its cons. I was watching “Elf” with Will Ferrell and the last scenes of the movie made a big impression on me. The end of the movie although ended happily initially showed how the lack of Christmas spirit prohibited Santa’s sleigh from flying and delivering his gifts. This metaphorically has happened over the last couple of decades. We have devalued the magic of Christmas with the retail value. We have become vulnerable to the non-fictional finds that we no longer entertain the fantastic fabrication that is Christmas.
Over the years Christmas has become a challenge. Having two adult children and one minor there was always the potential of a fine line being crossed when faced on what to expose to my youngest who is now 11 and has grown to only know Christmas as some day of gift getting. Isn’t this the common perception for most kids today? We have dismissed charitable efforts, family gatherings and great food being cooked. If Christmas is nothing more it is all of those things.
. The Holiday Season is the only time of year in which families go out of their way to make time for one another to share and bond. Christmas has evolved into more than just a commemorative day in which we acknowledge the birth of Christ. Christmas is bigger than the fable of Santa and all his good deeds. It exceeds the boundaries of what we believe is culturally acceptable. Christmas is more than just long hours at the mall trying to get a gift to make an impression on that one relative that seems to have everything. We could easily forego all the religious, pagan and mystical associations with this day and acknowledge it for what it is.
I put up a Christmas tree every year in celebration of the season. I love the glimmer of lights as they reflect off the assortment of bulbs on the tree. I buy gifts, not out of some commercial obligation but as gesture to my loved of ones of how much I love them. We cook great food as a family. We have decided that we won’t make the traditional Christmas day dinners just as a way of affirming our own family traditions and each year we create a menu that allows us to explore new ways of celebrating. Each year I not only encourage but participate in many charitable efforts to assist the less fortunate as I know what it is to walk in their shoes.
No matter what your convictions are in regards to the origins or manifestation of Christmas it is the perfect time of the year to display your humanitarian and charitable spirit regardless of anything else. Let’s restore the magic of Christmas that was. Create your own traditions or restore some old ones if you want. But don’t let anyone make you feel bad or uncomfortable about how you revere such a day.
If we strip all of the cosmetic applications that surround this very sacred day in American, we will realize the essence of its existence. As a grandmother now, I look forward to the gleam in my grand kid’s eyes when they begin to understand the mystical magic of Christmas and all the joy it will bring to their imagination. Christmas comes but once a year, so don’t mess it up with all these bullshit ideologies and theories and celebrate however you want.
Have a Glamma-rous Holiday and a festive New Year!