As we unpacked Christmas decorations the other day, I remembered back to when I was a kid and what a magical time it was every year when my folks put up their tree and decorations.
I remember how exciting it was when dad brought the boxes down from our attic, it seemed like I hadn’t seen the Christmas decorations in ages. Because when you’re a child, a year seems like forever, opposed to being an adult and they just seem to fly-by.
I usually left the stringing of Christmas tree lights up to my folks, since it usually involved my dad becoming frustrated by the process and erupting in some choice words. But once the tree was up and the lights were on it, I took charge of the decorations. I loved the ornaments, the garland and “cool stuff” like my mom’s ceramic Christmas tree and her Santa Claus cookie jar.
Don’t get me wrong, decorating is still fun, but it comes along with the adult realization that all this stuff must come down in a month and get packed away again until next year.
Christmas gatherings are also way different today than they were when I was a kid. It’s sort of sad because while the get-togethers are still fun, there are so many family members no longer with us. I’d give anything to have another Christmas with my parents. Those were some of the best holidays I can recall.
Things change as we grow older, our parents pass on and the family goes in different directions as people’s lives change. They have families of their own and some move too far away to make it back at the holidays.
I would love to have one more, good old-fashioned, homestyle Christmas like I remember as a kid.
Watching the Christmas specials on TV like Rudolph, Frosty and Charlie Brown Christmas. Or hearing the best Christmas music sung by the likes of Bing Crosby, Burl Ives, Dean Martin and Nat King Cole (before there was an Internet to pick the shows and songs apart and make you feel bad for enjoying them).
The massive Christmas Eve party my parents hosted every year (later hosted by other family members, but always on Christmas Eve). A room full of kids ripping open presents, tossing the torn paper in the air until it littered every visible inch of carpet.
The huge spread of food put on by my mom, complete with ham, deviled-eggs, potato salad (mine made special, without onions), my aunt’s BBQ baked beans and my sister-in-law’s famous spaghetti salad. Thanksgiving, back in those days, was just a warm-up for the food intake over Christmas.
Christmas Day, for me growing up, was always a day where we stayed home, mom made a spectacular turkey or ham dinner, and we had my aunt and uncle over. The adults would converse, have a few drinks and play cards while I squirreled my Christmas haul off into my room where I holed up for hours and had a blast.
I’m in no way saying Christmas isn’t fun anymore. It is and I wouldn’t give it up for anything. But I would, just once, like to experience Christmas the way I did as a child.
Gary Gould is the managing editor of the View Newspapers. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.