What would Christmas be like without memories of past Christmases?
Think about it. What if you suddenly lost your memory? You knew that it was the Christmas season, but it was like the first one you had ever experienced.
I would feel cheated. So much of what I love about Christmas involves celebrations in years past.
I remember the aluminum tree we had when I was a child. We had a multi-colored wheel that would shine light upon the tree. It would turn from red to orange to blue to green. I would sit in the dark, mesmerized by the peaceful sense that Christmas was coming.
We went to see my paternal grandparents on Christmas Day. All the aunts and uncles and cousins were there. Grandmother always had a pine tree and she sewed popcorn on a string to decorate the tree. As her gas heater hissed and the smell of fresh cookies wafted through the room, we handed out gifts.
The day after Christmas, we drove to middle Florida to visit my mother’s parents. Lots of times the weather was hot. Occasionally, it was cold and the orange trees were frozen. Either way, we had the family touch football game, a vicious rivalry with a year of bragging rights on the line.
I remember the Christmas play that the first grade students put on every year. I was a Wise Man, if you can imagine that.
I remember the Pink Pig, a ride that children enjoyed at Rich’s in Atlanta.
And, of course, there was Santa. One year I got a telescope. Another year a bicycle. When I was five, I got a soldier’s helmet, toy M-1 carbine rifle, a uniform and a back pack. Santa had even put sardines in the back pack.
There were all those Christmas celebrations when my children were little. By the way, it takes forever to put together a Barbi dollhouse with all its decals and moving parts to assemble.
When I close my eyes and think of Christmas I remember loved ones long departed. Candlelight church services. Busy shopping malls. Plates brimming with food. Office parties. Bell choirs. The Hallalujah Chorus. Sparkling lights on every house. Wreaths. Poinsettias.
I remember the mistletoe my roommate at Georgia and I dragged into our dorm room. And how bad it stank when we came back after Christmas break.
I remember watching the TV specials. Rudolph. Charlie Brown. The Grinch. Frosty. And my brother’s favorite, Mr. Magoo’s version of A Christmas Carol.
I saw a little girl the other day. She was about two years old. Her mother said she didn’t yet understand about Christmas. I guess she is like we would all be if we lost our memories of Christmas.
I wouldn’t swap places with her for the world.
Merry Christmas as you mull over your own special memories of the season.