Christmas Traditions and Memories
This post is brought to you by Grandpa Points, though the sentiment of it absolutely rings true for me, too! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all.
Christmas is a big deal in our family, A REALLY BIG DEAL. We like lights, a lot of lights. Twinkling lights, big lights, mini lights, red and green lights, white lights, lights on things and lights by themselves.
Our tree each year is a ceiling scraper. We have permanent streaks and scrapes etched in our white popcorn finished ceiling from trees gone by that have left their mark when they were raised into place. We like contemporary decorations but we have nostalgic homages to our Christmases past prominently placed here and there for both effect and affect and for the sake of keeping yesterday's beautiful memories fresh.
Old catalogues share space with the new and the books from our youth co-exist with the books of today.
Each room is touched by The Season. Each heart is filled with The Spirit. Each day is full of anticipation and more Christmasy than the day before.
From Thanksgiving on, our car satellite radio is set to the SiriusXM Holly and Christmas Traditions channels and we join the chorus as we sing-a-long to the nonstop Christmas music. We all know "the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud so all can hear." At home, we play our seasonal favorites from our collection on our Bose CD player. Yes, Virginia there really are those of us who still use CDs. We even have a pecking order of importance as to when in the season certain albums are played. It is sort of a least favorite to most favorite kind of thing. The last 5, our most revered, are The Carpenter's CHRISTMAS PORTRAIT, the 1996 and 97 CHRISTMAS WITH THE STARS compilations, Barry Manilow's A CHRISTMAS GIFT OF LOVE and Steve Lawrence and Edie Gorme's THAT HOLIDAY FEELING.
And if the songs on those CDs don't get you in the mood, you might just need a Christmas hug.
We scan TV, Netflix, our own DVD collection and On Demand for the classic Christmas movies that we have virtually and delightfully memorized from years of annual viewing. Lines from the movies permeate our conversations throughout the year and serve almost like a secret familial code that are certain to elicit smiles, laughter and an affirming nod each and every time they are referenced. ELF, CHRISTMAS VACATION, CHRISTMAS WITH THE KRANKS, THE SANTA CLAUSE, HOME ALONE and WHITE CHRISTMAS are must-sees for our family.
While we are certainly guilty of using the convenience of online shopping and for sending our Christmas Wish List to Santa Amazon, we also look forward to going to the malls for some good ol' fashioned hand to hand combat shopping. We have an intrinsic need to be in the middle of some human hustle and bustle that is at the heart of the Christmas Rush. My wife shops early and I shop late. I wrap early and she wraps late. I am a big believer in big packages and gifts that are disguised. Even the smallest of gifts, like jewelry or lottery tickets, will likely end up in a box 2 feet by 3 feet.
I feel this adds to the suspense and wonder as the physical size opens up an almost endless array of possibilities as to what might be wrapped inside. And don't be surprised if there are a series of wrapped boxes to go through before the actual gift is found.
The area below our tree is like restricted airspace before midnight on Christmas Eve. No gifts are allowed. It is not that we are suggesting that all the gifts are Santa delivered but rather it is for the dramatic impact that all the gifts make when they simultaneously and magically appear. Where none existed, overnight the floor explodes with gifts like a super bloom in the desert. While a by-product of this is that we preclude the temptations that available gifts offer the curious minds and busy hands of our children and now our grandchildren, the biggest reason is the production value WOW factor.
We store many boxes from one Christmas to the next. We do this recycling because some of them are really good boxes, because we always need more boxes during the gift wrapping season and because of the history that some of the boxes hold for us. The big square box the original I-Mac came in makes an annual appearance under the tree and we all know the backstory that comes with it. Other boxes are from favorite stores that no longer exist, like Foleys, that had special significance in our past.
The boxes are littered with scraps of wrapping paper and tape from previous Christmas lives and it is great fun trying to remember, or guess?, what was hidden in these cardboard confines in 2016, 2012,1994 or.....
My favorite part of the season is between December 10 - 23rd. By December 10, all the lights are up and running, the decor is finished and I am in full holiday mode with the excitement and anticipation running at full RPMs. These are the days I am in my Christmas prime. I milk each day for all they are worth. As the days melt away, the countdown continues, all systems are green and eventually Christmas is given a "go" for launch.
We are not sad or depressed on Christmas Day as it is always a grand day, but there is something very final and finite when the last gift is opened. It is sort of like the last out of The World Series or the final curtain of a great performance. We just enjoy it all so much and it was so much fun that we hate to see it come to an end.
But, if the good Lord is willing and the creek don't rise, sometime around Labor Day next year, we will hear that there are only 100, then 50, then 30 shopping days left till Christmas. Our eyebrows will raise, our pulse will quicken and a smile will creep across our face and we will know, without any doubt, that IT'S CHRISTMASTIME AGAIN!! Yippee!
MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HOLIDAYS, SAFE TRAVELS and GREAT HEALTH AND CONTENTMENT TO ALL!