Ruminations on Christmas and Christmas’ Past

It’s officially December, and do you know that means for all the gentiles, materialists, and people who simply listen to the radio or watch television? That’s right, the Christmas season started over a month ago.

When I was younger, Christmas was probably my favorite time of year. I suppose, like every other kid my age, I was simply materialistic, and really liked getting all those presents (the dollar went a lot farther back then and there would always be a big stack of presents under the trees). It’s not really the same any more, to be honest. I’m still materialistic, I won’t lie, but there are also fewer items for me to covet. My Christmas list, or lack thereof, isn’t really the focus of this post, however.

Back in the day, Christmas had a clear feeling. I can’t really describe it, I can barely even remember the feeling itself, to be honest. But, I do recall the feeling being there. A type of awe, or jubilation perhaps, in the pit of my stomach, exemplified with everything else that comes with the Christmas season: lights, the tree, music (sing it with me, everyone: “Grandma got run over by a reindeer…”), the cold and the snow. Making snowmen, playing outside, shoveling snow and making tunnels out of the huge piles of snow that would accumulate on the side of the drive (we may have only done that one year, but it’s a fond memory) all helped. All of that led up to the day itself.

I remember waking up at ungodly hours of the morning on Christmas day (times where I would probably still be awake recently) and having to wait until the stroke of… I think it was 7… to wake up anybody else. It would still be dark and we would open our presents after eating a quick breakfast of cinnamon rolls. All of that in my pajamas.

All that changed, however, when I hit high school and started working at the family jewelry store during the holiday season. I’m not sure if it was work or the “maturity” I reached in high school that did it, or some other factor.

Now, that feeling is gone. Like I said, I’m up until 2 a.m. even on the 24, and sleep in until around 11-12 on Christmas, shower and then join my family, waiting for my brother to finally wake up.

Being a sucker for nostalgia, I tried desperately last year to rekindle that feeling I had as a kid. The best way I thought of doing this, was to watch the old video tape we have with all the Christmas specials on it (Garfield, Rudolph, probably the Grinch, etc.). I found the tape I thought it was (clearly labeled “X-mas cartoons)… it was the wrong tape. It still had a couple of the specials from the old Nicktoons that I loved as a child (I recall Doug and Rugrats… don’t think there was anything else). The thought had crossed my mind to borrow my friend’s DVDs of the specials I was looking for, but the vintage commercials on the tape had as much to do with the memories/feelings as the program itself. Needless to say, I don’t think I ever really got that feeling back.

All things change, sometimes for the better, sometimes not. I’m still undecided on which this is.

I no longer have the same feeling I had as a child, but Christmas has a new feeling, now. Again, it’s hard to describe (can you ever really describe a feeling exactly?). It now has to do with all that comes along with Christmas in this time. Working until dark, the cold and the snow (still in Ohio, still have the cold, and occassionally some snow), coming home and playing video games with just the light from the television and Christmas lights.

The world always changes, and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. But it’s not so bad. A quote from Escape from L.A. comes to mind:

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

4 Replies to “Ruminations on Christmas and Christmas’ Past”

  1. I can feel that nostalgia and you're right, it is hard to describe the feeling Christmas brings with it.

    Being on the opposite side of the world, there is absolutely no snow associated with Christmas here in Oz.

    We still eat all the traditional foods consumed in the northern hemisphere, even on a sweltering hot day.

    Thanks for evoking some of my own childhood memories. 🙂

  2. I use that ending quote all the time. It's as bittersweet as your piece because I'm sad by mankind's unchanging ways and yet find comfort in it at the same time. The species continues, for better or worse. o_O Wow! Look at me ramble. That had nothing to do with what you wrote. I enjoyed the image of you playing video games by the glow of Christmas lights. 🙂 Thank you for sharing.

  3. I agree about the nostalgia. It's a strange holiday, because each year we seem to get more focused on the money side of it: how will shoppers behave, will the economy recover, etc. Instead, my family tries to keep the focus here, on the home and each other. It's not the same as when I was a child, but it works for us. ~hugs~

  4. Your post made me think a lot about our family traditions now compared to what they were as a child. I was strongly attached to the traditions themselves – especially the entire family getting together Christmas Eve.

    I spent a long time really focused on the idea that everything had to be the way it was, but that just doesn't work anymore. It took a lot of growing pains to get to the point where I could accept that things just weren't ever going to be exactly the same, and be happy with what we had.

    We have a tree party now, in part because I love having company while I decorate and in part because I'm the only one of my immediate family that puts up a tree now.

    I have an aunt and uncle, and cousins who live in Washington and do their own thing on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so we arrange a get together with the whole family the weekend before or after Christmas.

    We always have Christmas Eve dinner at my house, and Christmas breakfast at my mom's before we go to our annual Christmas movie (about the only movie my mom will see in a theater all year).

    It isn't he same as it was when I was a kid. It can't be. I feel very lucky, though, that the *feel* of it all is very much the same. I wake up early now because I need to cook or clean rather than because I get to open presents, but that's just details. Sitting around the table or around the Christmas tree with my family – that will always be the best part of the year.

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