Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas - 2017

I've been telling Cheri this every year for the last few years...

Christmas Time is magical. When I was a child, it was serious magic. As in: I believed in Santa Claus. not only did I believe that a fat man in a red suit fit rode reinder and dove down chimmneys -- I was a little crapper who wanted to trick Santa and steal his sack of toys. (I have a vague memory of feeling very distrustful of the lyric "He sees you when you're sleeping." How dare he?)

How could anyone fall asleep on Christmas Eve when you are seven years old and convinced that some omniscient Saint of the North Pole is flying around the world, headed to your house?

Eventually, of course, my views changed on the existence of Santa. But even so, Christmas was still magical -- if only for its celebration of consumerism. I got a lot of cool toys on Christmas morning, and toys made me unbelivably happy. My favorites included: A Lester Ventrilloquist Doll, the Guns of Navarone Army Men set, tns of GI Joes and Star Wars action figures, and -- of course -- an Atari 2600. Oh man, that was awesome.

Aside from toys, some of my favorite gifts were gifts of culture. It was Christmas when I recieved the cassett soundtrack to the works of John Williams (E.T. And Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.) Records such as Chipmunk Punk. Books such as Stephen King's IT, which might not seem very Christmassy, but it was one of my favorite presents, nonetheless. And, celebrating Bavarian culture: a huge baby of Gummi Bears. (God Bless you, Costco!)

When I was a kid, Family and Christmas Magic weren't in my mental mathematics. I didn't spend enough time appreciating how wonderful it was to soend time with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins -- some of whom I would see only once a year. It wasn't until I became a teenager with a part time job at a movie theater that I understood how family time and Christmas time went hand in hand. I was seventeen the first time I had to work on Christmas. That was the first (but not the last) time I would be away from my Grandparents condo on Christmas morning when everyone else was over there socializing and exchanging gifts. At the time it seemed like a mild bummer. I liked working at the Grand Cinemas, and I was close friends with just about everybody there. But now that my Grandparents are both gone, I regret not spending more Christmasses with Grandma snd Grandpa.

Christmas memories also include recollections of illness. I think I was six years old when I had scarlet fever on Christmas. I remember looking out the window at my brothers and sisters who were outside, tossing a ball back and forth, and flying a remote control airplane. All the while, I was stuck inside, sick and contagious. As an adult, there have been a couple of Christmasses in which I have been way laid by a cold or flu virus. This year, my daughter Mackenzie is the one who is incapacitated by a bug. She is currently napping on this Dec. 25th afternoon. Hopefully she'll feel better when she wakes up. It's no fun being sick on Christmas.

But as I was saying, this tme of year is still magical for many reasons. Mainly, I have spent almost two decades as a parent, so I've been able to reexperience the sense of wonder through the eyes of my children. And I've spent twenty two years as Cheri's husband, trying to impress her with the lighting decorations adorning our house. We love the lights, the music, the festivities. The kinship. The kindness. Oh, and the coldness! The chilly temperatures of Washington state are one of my favorite aspects of the season.

By the time Christmas Day arrives, as it has done so today, I feel a little bit melancholy. Once this days ends, we've got months and months until Christmas time returns.

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