December 26, 2018
I sincerely hope everyone reading this had a wonderful Christmas. For those of my readers who don’t celebrate the holiday, I hope you enjoyed some peaceful and joyous family time.
And today for those who celebrate it, Happy Kwanza!
For my husband and I, and especially lately, Christmas has become a time to be with loved ones, to remember the past—and with the New Year just a week away—it’s also a time to look ahead. David and I don’t buy each other gifts any more. When we were starting out and were scraping our dollars together as we eked out our living, this was the time of year I looked forward to receiving a few things I not only wanted, but needed.
New slippers, a pair of pantyhose, and before the word processor, a couple of typewriter ribbons topped my list. I loved certain fragrances—Chanel #5, Chloé, and Oscar—but never expected to ever receive them. I was never so delighted as when “imitations” of these scents began to show up on the store shelves. In those days I was certain that was as close as I was going to get to the originals, and I was content with that.
When the kids were small, we poured most of our resources into getting them their gifts, because we didn’t want them ever to know how tight money was. We often ran at least a month behind in the bills in those days, because we had to give our kids a good Christmas. It was who we both were, and I doubt any amount of reasoning could have changed our minds about that in those days.
I am gratified to know that our son and daughter have both told us they never knew a Christmas, when they were kids, that wasn’t plentiful and magical.
Current day, we’re no longer generous to the point of beggaring ourselves. We bought simple gifts for the three great-grandbabies; we gave a very modest sum of money to everyone else in our immediate family (each of our children, grandchildren, and their significant others), and called it good. We’re much happier spending time with family than receiving gifts from them, and our reality reflects that.
When you ask us if we had a good Christmas, we’ll always answer yes, because for us both that is simply a matter of spending time with family. This year is the first Christmas for our youngest great-grandchild, born in May. He is the grandson of my oldest son and his wife, a little baby who is loved and adored by all.
His paternal grandmother—my daughter-in-law—is over the moon in love with him. I know for a fact she cherishes every moment she can spend with her grandson. We had supper with them on the 23rd. The look on my daughter-in-law’s face as she reached for that baby when he arrived was pure love.
That one moment, to me, is what Christmas is all about.
Thinking of my association of children and childhood with the best of Christmas, I’m not at all puzzled by that mental connection. We generally associate magic and wonder with this day of the year, if we think of them at all. That’s been reflected in popular culture all my lifetime at least, having been encapsulated by two of the most beloved holiday movies ever—It’s A Wonderful Life, and Miracle on 34th Street.
Children are the ones most susceptible to magic and wonder. They’re the fortunate ones among us, able to feel and appreciate those two elements full measure. They can believe easily in miracles and magic. And that is the second major connection, between children and Christmas.
The first is simple, and cuts to the heart of it all. Because at the very heart of this special day is the reason we celebrate it to begin with. A child was the very first gift of Christmas—a gift given to us all.
I truly hope your Christmas gave you at least a small taste—as it did me—of magic and wonder. And, of course, I hope there was love.