Christmas time is here, Happiness and Cheer
Fun for all that children call,
their favorite time of year
Wait, what? I was stuck in a Vince Guaraldi loop there for a second. I’m better now.
Ah, Christmas, that cat-torturingly wonderful time of the year. Wait, that’s not right.
Okay, I’ll admit it, I was flipping through my parent’s photo albums and found that picture. I was looking for an excuse to use it on this blog.
Being unemployed this Christmas season robbed me of my excuse to stay away longer gave me the opportunity to come to my parents house a few days earlier than I normally would.
I shouldn’t make jokes like that. I only have about four readers, and two of them are my parents. Yes, Mom, it was a joke. I was really excited to come down. Really. I was.
Anyway, when I walked in the door carrying all my stuff, it felt like Christmas to me for the first time this year. I’ve been trying to keep my spirits up, but dangit, it’s seemed especially hard this year.
Growing up, Christmas was always my favorite time of the year. I dare you to find any kid who grew up in a house that celebrated Christmas that would say otherwise. Go on, find one. I’ll wait.
Oh, you’re back? Couldn’t find one, could you.
For me, Christmas is about family, and remembering the past. Yes, it’s the time of year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, but, unfortunately the reality is, that’s just a backdrop. I once took a folklore class in which we talked about how every culture has a big festival or celebration when the winter is coldest, and, had the climate of Western Europe been more like that of Utah, we’d be celebrating Christmas nearer to Valentines Day. When Constantine decided to create the Holy Roman Empire, he usurped the local festivals and slapped a Christian theme on them, and that’s how we got Christmas and Easter. And Halloween, for that matter.
Wow, I’m really on one today, enough with the detours already!
Like I was saying, for me, Christmas is all about family and children. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the middle of nowhere, away from the crowded malls and angry shoppers and drivers, but the Christmases I remember, even into my teens, center around family and being together.
I can only remember one gift of my childhood Christmases, and that was a fish tank shaped like a bubble gum machine–I don’t even think that was my ‘big’ gift that year.
I do remember the love, and the excitement, the fun of searching for the perfect tree, either up in the mountains or at the local tree lot. I remember the smells and the lights, the fun of the family parties. And Santa Claus coming IN PERSON to our house on Christmas Eve, and giving us TWO bags of candy EACH, and telling us he’d be back later with the rest of our gifts.My best Christmas, though, happened after I was an adult and had moved away to college. I had taken a job at the soul sucking factory Convergys in Logan as a collections agent. I had been hired on as a customer service rep, but, between my hire date and the day I started training, they decided to switch that call center only to collections. Well, asking people for money is apparently easier than trouble shooting their phone problems, so my training was cut short by a week, and my first day on the call floor was Christmas Eve.
I called my parents in tears to tell them that I wouldn’t be able to come home for Christmas, and explained the situation. My parents and sister, being the wonderful people that they are, loaded their car with all the gifts, and drove four hours to take a room in a hotel, all so we could spend Christmas as a family.
While I was working on Christmas Day, feeling sorry for myself (I remember one caller getting mad at me for not turning her phone back on without payment by snapping “It’s Christmas!” to which I snapped back “Yeah, and I’m at work instead of with my family!” Okay, not really, but I wanted to.) My mom prepared a dinner of cornish game hens in my crappy little apartment kitchen. Convergys, probably not wanting to pay holiday wages to someone who had really only been working for two days, sent me home after half a day.
I’ll never forget the love I felt from my family that day. That day, more than ever, is when I first realized what Christmas is all about–loving your family and your fellow men. That is why we celebrate Christ’s birth. That was his mission, and that is why he did what he did for us.