Merry Christmas! This greeting is from the News Journal and all the businesses that have chosen to send you their special greeting in this issue of our newspaper.
Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. I revert to my childhood. It was then when it was so special to me.
When I was a child we didn’t have television or a mall Santa Claus. We had Montgomery Ward and Sears catalogues. Me and my sisters would turn through the pages looking at the toys and the delicious looking boxes of candy.
Primarily the only store bought kind of candy we had were chocolate drops and chocolate covered cherries. We also had peppermint sticks too. They usually came in our stocking with an orange, an apple and some nuts we had to crack open.
I believe Christmas meant more to us than it does to many children today. At our house we didn’t already have enough toys to fill a Toys R Us store. It was at Christmas when Santa would bring that one big special toy we wanted.
On Christmas Eve we were filled with anxiety. We had mostly been told about Santa bringing toys. We didn’t see him in a million places and daily on television.
When it was bedtime I laid there until nature put me to sleep. I kept listening for Santa and his reindeers to land on our roof. Every time I heard a noise I knew it was him.
We arose early on Christmas mornings and rushed to see if our dream had come true.
I hadn’t asked Santa for multiple toys, as I said, usually just one. The last ones I remember were an electric train and later a scooter.
What a thrill. There it was, just like Ralphie in A Christmas Story and his Red Ryder BB gun. Santa delivered!
Christmas then began the day school let out for the Christmas break. My sisters and I would get a live tree from a local stand and start decorating it.
That usually turned into a fiasco. After we strung those big colored lights, which would burn your hand because they were so hot, the balls and individual strands of ice cycles were placed so the tree would glisten.
This is when the fiasco started.
I would grab a bunch of them and throw them at the tree. My sisters would then get mad at me and the fun began.
I’ve always decorated the house at Christmas. Even when my mother was living at home at age 99 I would make sure she had a Christmas tree, small yes, but she had one.
After Thanksgiving this year I was on our front porch when a neighbor stopped by and asked, “Are you going to decorate the columns again this year on your porch?” I answered, probably not unless the mood hits me. The next day was warm and the mood hit me.
As I age, I threaten to not do all the work it takes to put up the decorations. But then the child in me comes back and I labor to make it happen.
I love it. And as my neighbor said they decorate a tree for their own enjoyment. I do too. Especially late at night with all the lights turned off except those on the tree and with Christmas music playing I drift into fantasy land.
After Judy and I went through the years with our children getting excited about Santa, we now have that wonderful experience with our grandchildren.
But as an adult the most meaningful part of the season is the time spent at our church. I love the music, the plays and the friendly atmosphere.
For several years I was the narrator of the Christmas pageant at our church. I cherish the time we experienced when I was the host of dinner musicals that ran several nights at our church.
God gave me a voice that I could use for these events. I am very grateful. But now those days are just memories.
This is why this season of the year can be hard on many people who only have memories of loved ones being there to enjoy the Christmas season.
This years will be especially hard for the many who have lost loved ones to coronavirus.
That is why I never want to let go of my desire to decorate and spend time listening to Christmas music.
I want to remember the times when up to 40 or more family members would gather on Christmas Eve.
With this said I hope you can reflect on the good times and have a wonderful Christmas. Again Merry Christmas to all!