As an adult, I have realized that Christmas just isn’t as good as it used to be.
Every store gleamed with the hopes of what Santa might bring. Every aisle littered with toys, books, new clothes and shoes. In a family where gifts were limited to holidays only, the anticipation of, the perception of unlimited possibilities, was sheer joy and excitement. What would Santa bring?
The fun of picking out a gift for Grandma, for Grandpa, and wanting it to be perfect, was thrilling. The baking, the ability to eat Christmas goodies for a month without gaining an ounce of fat was amazing, even if I didn’t realize it at the time. And Mom baked, and both grandmas baked, my aunts baked, and I ate. I ate and ate and ate. And it was good.
In school we practiced for concerts, and we sang our hearts out. We sang at church and practiced for our programs there. And the moms and grandmas baked, and we all ate.
Christmas Eve was always spent at Grandma’s house. Santa even knew it, and dropped our gifts off there. The stench of lutefisk permeated the whole apartment building, but I knew there was always a turkey for those of us unwilling to partake.
I used try to get my kids to clean out their toy boxes and closets so they will be able to fit all their new things inside. I baked, and they baked, and we ate. My son, the baker, baked the most, and probably ate the most too. We had fun. We wrapped and packed and shopped and argued, and it was good.
We all run. We run from one thing to the next. We drive to the store, and try to find a gift for someone who doesn’t need anything. We wrap, we pack, we order online because the stores are too packed with people. We cuss at the person who took our parking spot. It can be stressful.
We stress over trying to make everything fun, for the kids. Because the magic of Christmas works best for those who believe in magic. And Christmas, the material commercial Christmas, is for kids.