Now that Thanksgiving is over, the kids are gearing up for Christmas. Most kids here don’t have satellite, cable, or even over the air antennas, so they don’t have to endure the bombardment of Christmas adds on TV. They get to gear up for Christmas like the pilgrims did or the Amish do. Or how I did. They remind me every morning of how many sleeps they have until Christmas.
Being around the kids at Christmas time always makes me think about my childhood Christmases. I think our Christmases are very similar. Most kids out here don’t live in families that can afford the newest and best toys. Like my Christmases. Christmas is for practical gifts. Underwear. Socks. Mittens. Boots. They don’t go to the mall to see Santa. They don’t dream about getting the biggest Barbie Doll house. Or a new computer. They get a new jacket and boots. They get a new snow-suit. And they love it because that’s what they got. It is always difficult to recognize the kids after Christmas because they are all bundled up in new jackets and you can’t see their faces.
It also reminds me of what I had to watch on TV for the holidays. Charlie Brown Christmas. Nostalgia is the only way I can get through it now. It is god-awful. Rudolph is god-awful. But it was all we had, so we loved it. The kids here are the same. We watch Mr. Bean put the turkey on his head every year. And we laugh like it was the funniest thing on YouTube. (It just might be.)
I am also reminded of the Christmas Eve that I saw what must have been an airplane with a red blinking light and was convinced it was Santa. I guess FAA rules apply to all aircraft. We knew that he would visit our house while Dad had my brothers and me out finishing chores in the barn. When we got back in the house, the stockings were full and presents were under the tree. As a kid, I was surprised how controlled my Mom was after meeting Santa. But she was just nonchalant about the deal. I would have thought she would be all celebrity struck. But no, she just told us to eat dinner. While we looked at the presents and tree. That was always the most difficult meal to finish.
And then there is the after Christmas letdown. After weeks of anticipation, it’s all gone in one day. The decorations just look like the sad, drunk people who won’t leave at the end of the party. Monica always takes them down (the decorations, not the drunks) the day after, much like a crime scene cleanup crew. All reminders of the day are put back in their boxes. I take down the Christmas drawings we hang in our classroom and on our boards in the hall.
So, to sum it up: Christmas has a very exciting build up but a mighty fall. I am glad the kids here don’t have to participate in what Christmas has become, retailers hyping up their wares for revenue. Our kids get to appreciate Christmas for what it is about; them. They are not made to feel envious about what they didn’t get. They get to be thankful for what they got. And that makes a Grinch like me excited about Christmas. Happy Holidays!