Guest Author #4
I remember when Christmas was a fuzzy feeling that started around the beginning of December and warmed its’ way through all the days of the holiday season. I looked so forward to Christmas, not for the presents, but for the chance to be outside in the snow. I could barely wait for the last day of classes when we got to exchange small gifts and bring our lunch to school and then freedom for about ten days. Where I am from, there was always snow and all of the kids would head down to the park and toboggan all day and half the night. No fancy waterproof clothing then, you just layered on what you had and went home soaking wet. Sometimes we skated on the rink the neighbour had made and there was always a game of hockey being played on the street. The Christmas tree in those days was a real one that had been freshly cut. I loved the bubble lights and the angel on top and all the pretty balls and tinsel. The tree smelled wonderful. Whenever I heard the song “You better watch out, you better not cry…..Santa Claus is coming to town” I took that to be a warning and I would never want to be on Santa’s naughty list. I am sure I believed in the magic of Santa Claus till I was about ten or eleven years old, and even then I was very careful about not believing, just in case he was real.
My mother was from Scotland where Christmas took a back seat to First Night. She did not celebrate Christmas with fancy foods and cookies. The recollections I have are of seeing chocolates in the crystal dish, and the scintillating smell of Japanese mandarin Oranges. Those, in themselves, meant Christmas to me and still do even if they are available year round. Christmas dinner was a turkey and Grandma came down for that as she lived only a few miles away. No other family close and no company so we were always free to be outside with the neighbourhood kids and we took advantage of that.
I do not remember specific gifts that I got for Christmas except for the one year I got a bride doll, but we had only a few gifts and were thankful for what we got. They really were not that important and we never presented our parents with long, greedy lists. It would never have occurred to us to do that. We were always excited about the time we got to spend outside with our friends and free from having to go to school.
Christmas now seems to start about the end of August with the arrival of the first Christmas catalogues. By mid October the commercials are starting and the day after American Thanksgiving all hell breaks loose and we are bombarded with ads and pleas to buy this or that for our loved ones. People run around in a frenzy driving themselves into the poor house trying to keep up with what their children have on their Christmas wish list. It has become commercial insanity and the meaning has been so diluted as to render it meaningless. Somewhere in there was a message that a baby was born in a manger, but that barely rates a mention these days.
Now Christmas can be a sad time thinking of friends and family who are no longer here to celebrate with us and makes the lonely feel even more lonely. For many years I worked on Christmas Day, and another time when I had the day off, I had one of the nicest Christmases ever all by myself.
I do think more of the Winter Solstice and the celebration of Yule. The longest night of the year in deepest, darkest December. I enjoy hearing about the pagan rituals from which many of our Christmas traditions are founded. I do enjoy the lights and the special displays. A million Christmas lights can illuminate the December darkness so beautifully.
I used to enjoy the warm blanket of Christmas spirit that wrapped itself around us and when people always seemed to be a little nicer to one another. Not so easy to come by today and the holiday season does not always bring out the best in us. Christmas seems to have changed from a season of fun and festivity to one of obligation and dread and a nightmare to weary people already too busy trying to keep up with life.
It has been said that nothing is sadder in this world than waking up Christmas morning and not being a child. Sometimes we have to find the child within us to rediscover the magic and spirit of Christmas.
My wish for you is that you can find the magic and spirit of the holiday season and that we can all be of good cheer to one another.
This is an invitation for anyone and everyone to post a entry of their own on my journal, Vagabond Journeys http://vagabondjourneys.blogspot.com/.
The end of the year holidays are soon upon us and since it is a time for celebrations, remembrances, resolutions and plans for the future I know that people have a lot to say.
Not to take away from the postings on your journals, but to add to the joy of my own celebrations is why I invite you to write for mine.
I want to read what your thoughts are about this magical time of the year. This invitation is open to everyone: Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Pagans, Agnostics, Atheists and the Uncertain.
Tell me your thoughts on Chanukah, Christmas, Ashura, Kwanzaa, the Winter Solstice, New Years Eve. or any subject you associate with this holiday season.
There are no limits in regard to length. The only limitation is that, for reasons so far unexplained to me, my blog does not take photographs, animations, videos or pictures of any kind. I deal in words.
Please accept my invitation. Send your entry to my email address firstname.lastname@example.org I will copy and paste it into my journal and it will be displayed promptly. You may sign your name or not as you wish, and you may leave a link to your blog or your email or not, as you wish. I will do NO editing or censoring. Eloquence is not necessary, mind or heart or both is all.
All are welcome. Admission is free.