Anne Eller offers this week’s Advent reflections as she shares her memories of Christmas when she was a child and her hopes for Christmas at this stage in her life.
Once upon a time, Christmas was magical.
It was full of hope and wonder and possibilities. When I was a child, the time was a grand mixture of events that included being out of school, visiting my cousins in a far-away town, waiting for Santa Claus, sending Christmas cards, making cookies and decorating the Christmas tree. Now I sit wearily with the Christmas tree that I laboriously put up and decorated, and realize that any magic I once felt is buried in my unconscious by an endless to-do list of decorating, buying and wrapping presents, travelling and visiting, and helping my Dad and stepmother prepare for the family gathering. The emotional and physical toll leaves me exhausted. I wonder, was the childhood magic real? And if so, why did I lose it and is there any way to find it again?
I remember my childhood excitement when the Sears Roebuck catalog arrived during the fall. I eagerly looked at all the newest toys and clothes that were possible, picking out things to ask Santa Claus to bring. My sister and I looked endlessly at dolls with beautiful clothes—velour and satin and lace—and my brothers looked at Tonka trucks and plastic army men. Eventually the pictures of ladies and men modeling their finery became paper dolls, but that was long after Christmas had come and gone.
We chose a White Pine tree from somewhere on the small mountain farm and brought it home to decorate with big colored lights—red, blue and green. Mom put fake candles in all the windows and Dad decorated the outside of the house with more lights. We had a stuffed Santa Claus on the bookcase, and an angel with mistletoe that hung in the doorway leading to the living room. My Dad still has that Santa Claus and Christmas Angel, and brings them out as he is pulling out decorations in December. And the fake candles too.
Ann’s memories will continue tomorrow…
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