Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Christmas Experience

Well, I'm going out tonight to find my dream ornaments and do a little Christmas shopping. Brave soul, aren't I? I could have had it done back in November, but then I'd be missing out on THE EXPERIENCE and I certainly want to be Christmas-politically-correct as I've managed (forced) myself to do over the years.

The experience has come in all sorts of shapes over the years from sheer joy to downright nausea, but I'm happy to say I've lived through fifty of them so far and have come away unscathed. It's a brutal world out there and nothing compares to the Christmas gift-buying season except maybe a nuclear attack. Not that I'd want to find out what that was like.

If I had to narrow it down to which Christmas buying season I liked the best, it would have to be the time when I was living in Ft. Ord, California, and it was Christmas Eve and for some ungodly reason back then it was Christmas-politcally-correct to put the dang tree up on Christmas Eve and not months before like it is custom now.

Well, we're all there, my mother, sister, step-dad and I, and we're putting up the tree in true Americana style and lo and behold my mother shouts, "These lights aren't working!"

She throws the old lights down on the floor and tells me to grab my coat, we're going to the store.

I don't think there were malls back then, and by that time, only one department store was open that late and god help them if they were out of lights.

My step-dad stayed back, watching my sibling, and my mother and I took off on foot across this big field on the way to this store. I'm not sure why we didn't drive; maybe the car was broke down or something. And Lord only help us if someone tried to jump us, but I figure back then it wasn't a problem like it is now.

Well, we take off. The stars are out which helps lead the way. My mother and I trekking across this field of bramble bushes on our way to get these lights before my sibling nodded off.

It was magical.

I'll never forget the peacefulness that overcame me even at seven years old. My mother and I talked about a lot of things, but the one thing that stood up was the fact that she told me I walked like I was pigeon-toed. After she told me that, I made a conscious effort to walk straight, but it didn't work.

But, if you could have been there, it was as if God was leading the way, making sure we accomplished our mission without any harm. It was, after all, Christmas Eve, and even thieves must have been gathered around their own Christmas trees that night because it was only my mother and I. Together. No one else.

I think back to that journey many times over my life. What was it that made that memory stand out and others disappear? Was it the fact it was Christmas Eve and the next day was Christmas, the most joyous of all holidays?

Maybe. But, I think the real answer lies in the fact that on that starry, starry night, the spirits of both my mother and I were in sync. It was a bonding moment and I am so glad I wasn't deprived of this memory.

But, also, I found out when I grew older and had children of my own, most Christmas Eves were spent exhausted, putting together toys, throwing things in stockings and collapsing in bed at 4 a.m. in the morning.

This season I'm going to bring all that back. My kids are older and I don't have to stay up all night putting together toys and stuffing stockings (I buy bags now and have them filled to the brim in appropriate hiding places). Everything is going to be in order and I'm going to take them for a walk under the starry sky and hope I create a memory for them, too.

6 comments:

  1. The Christmas spirit is found in celebration of Him with family and friends, not in gifts. Even though we shop, we can't lose sight of that. :)

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  2. that was a real sweet post, thanks for sharing.

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  3. Such a lovely post of such a lovely memory. Made my Christmas decorating day just that much warmer for having read it.

    Jennifer
    Open Book

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  4. That's such an amazing memory you have with your Mother.

    I'm sure your kids will remember it too for years to come!

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  5. I remember when we would put up the tree on Christmas Eve, and Santa would decorate it when he brought the toys.

    It was so cool to wake up and see the decorated tree for the first time.

    Then I remember when I was about 9, my mom said that Santa was too busy with all the stuff he had to do, and we should decorate the tree for him.

    I think that's when I had my first Santa Doubts.

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  6. Thank you for sharing that. The most priceless moments are often unplanned. Those are the ones that draw us closer together. Lovely memory.

    Thanks for stopping by today. :)

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