Searching for Christmas

I could be wrong, probably am, but don’t we spend a lot of time, whether we realize it or not, trying to re-create Christmas feelings from years ago?

When you think about Christmas, which one is it? Try it right now. Think about Christmas. Does your mind go to that one perfect Christmas? Maybe when you got that new bike? Or a beautiful dress? Or tickets to Disneyworld? Or maybe a surprise arrival of a family member you hadn’t seen in many years?

Does your family eat the same food every year on Christmas day? You do? Why? You’re wondering if we do, and the answer is, obviously, yes. Sometimes we have cranberry pork, sometimes turkey, but we always have potatoes, gravy, stuffing, (which isn’t really stuffing because it’s not stuffed in the turkey anymore, so we need to come up with a different name for it,) cranberry jello, cranberry relish, coffee cake, lots of veggies and dip, cheese and crackers, and pie with cool whip. I love every bit of it!

Who decided turkey would be the official meat of Christmas? Don’t misunderstand, I love turkey. It’s a wonder anyone was left alive in our family. According to modern standards, we should have all died from salmonella, E.coli, and trichinosis, because my mom always stuffed the real, raw, turkey with real stuffing, then baked it all night, at 325 degrees. On Christmas morning, the house smelled absolutely wonderful.

I just thought of something. In Dr. Seuss’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” the grinch had an epiphany when all the whos in Whoville came out of their homes on Christmas morning and sang happily even though all their presents and food were gone. Could we celebrate Christmas without the food and presents? We’re not going to try it, and I’m not suggesting you should.

When does Christmas start? Is Christmas just the day to you, or is it the season? What gives you the feeling of Christmas? Is it music? Like the first time you hear the intro to Nat King Cole’s rendition of The Christmas Song? Or Crosby’s White Christmas? Is it lights? Putting the tree up in your home? Does Christmas start the moment you see the stores stocking the shelves with decorations? (If so, Christmas starts in September for you and me.)

Does Christmas happen when you bake and decorate the sugar cookies? Do you eat fruit cake? Are there treats you bake or buy only at Christmas?

Does your family have “the big one” every year? You’ve never heard of “the big one?” It’s the present saved until the very end, and then, whammo! It’s the big surprise that thrills everyone. In Christmas Vacation, Clark Griswold finally gets the bonus check he’s been waiting for. He tells his family he’s putting in a pool with the money, and he says, “That’s it! That’s the big one!” Everyone cheers and then Clark goes crazy when he discovers the bonus is a membership in the “Jelly of the Month Club.”

When does your family open presents? Christmas Day? Christmas Eve? Does everyone open presents all at once, or does someone pass them out one by one and everyone has to watch each person open their gift? Does everyone eat breakfast together and then open presents, or are presents opened as soon as the little ones wake up?

We use Christmas movies as a kind of Advent Calendar. We’ve seen Home Alone, Four Christmases, Christmas Vacation, half of Home Alone 2, Mixed Nuts, Planes Trains and Automobiles, Funny Farm, and a few of the Hallmark movies. We still need to watch Muppets Christmas Carol, Scrooge with Alistair Sim, Scrooge with George C. Scott, and Scrooge with Jim Carrey. We haven’t seen It’s a Wonderful Life, or Les Miserables. Do you have favorite Christmas movies?

Do you love green and red Peanut M&Ms? Do you like eggnog? Do you have a bowl of nuts sitting on a table? Do you have Christmas stockings for everyone? Do you have ornaments you or the kids made in school?

Find those Christmas feelings, whatever it takes. Cherish the traditions, eat that turkey, make that jello, bake those pies, decorate those cookies!

Merry Christmas everyone!

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