I recently wrote about lack of a total family photo together but this comes close. From Photos That Make You Think December 2006 a photo probably taken by Mom in the early eighties or closer to the last year in Whitman street.
I am grateful that our Christmas’s were magical. Mom and Dad made sure of that. I am sure that we too, as adults and parents have also made sure that we provided magical holidays for our children too. I know personally for me, there was no bigger day, no bigger anticipation then waking up Christmas morning. For most of my childhood I shared a bunk bed with my brother Gregory. I always slept on the top and he on the bottom. Although we couldn’t see each other, we talked, laughed and even sang songs long into the dark night. There were many times we were visited by Mom or Dad with a stern warning to “Shut up and go to sleep!” and this warning usually required several revisits. We never took Mom seriously, she was a lightweight with discipline. But if the heavy footsteps of dad started coming up the stairs we were under the covers and pretending to sleep in seconds.
Christmas time was the Sears “Wish Book” which made the rounds to everyone with a clean sheet of loose leaf paper and a pen. We would scribble our “wishes” and pass the book on. We were generously entitled to “One BIG thing and two SMALL things” and besides that, there were always extras thrown about under the tree. Dad and mom would be up all night Christmas eve assembling, arranging and trying their best to be quiet. I remember one Christmas arriving at the top of the stairs at probably 5AM and the sight below was absolutely amazing. There was not one open space. The entire living room was just covered with toys and games. It is one of those childhood visions that remain embedded in my memory.
In true holiday spirit, Mom carried on the expensive Christmas tradition after Dad died and we never really lost the “magic” A tip of the hat to Gene Kaufmann and Danny Braza for helping out in the hard work on Christmas eve’s long nights.
So looking back, I wonder about this “magic”. Was it pure materialism? Was it the TV shows, music and decorations (we always had a real tree) that smothered us for a month? Was it just being part of a huge family filled with hope and love? Was it all of the above? Did we lose focus, like most of the world on what the birth of Jesus Christ really means? As we get older we change. We become a little less selfish when we become parents. Always a source for inspiration, I read something on Facebook that many people agree with today: “I think that as you get older your Christmas list gets smaller and the things you really want for the holidays can’t be bought.”