Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Some Thoughts on Christmas

This will be my 84th Christmas, so I feel that I am entitled to expound a few words of wisdom(?) on the subject. When I compare the celebrations of today with those we had when I lived on the farm, it does not appear to be the same holiday, at least on the surface.
Of course I was rather young; I was not quite four years old when I moved there, so Santa Claus was still a pretty big deal for me. This was before the days of Xboxes, iPhones and Tablets – even television was 15 years in the future – and even if today’s gadgets had been available, it would have been impossible to show them on the radio. As a result, the variety of “goods” available was limited. Generally I got to choose one major toy, such as a Hoot Nanny, or a cowboy outfit complete with six-shooters, and the rest of my presents consisted of socks, pants and other articles of clothing. (In those days one could buy a pair of jeans for two or three dollars, not $50+.)
After I learned to write I sent letters to Santa, and it was with great satisfaction that I heard him read them on the radio.
But the climax of the holiday was the family dinner on the big day itself. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins – everyone gathered around the big table for the feast.
Now I know that families still get together on the holiday, but often it’s at a restaurant. Because today’s families are spread all over the map, it is usually impossible to get them all around one table.
Many families celebrated the holiday by attending church services on Christmas Eve or on Christmas morning. With a few exceptions, the members of my family were not particularly religious, although when I was very young I did attend Sunday school; thus I did participate in a few Christmas Eve programs.
Over the years the advances in communications have led to the celebration of such as events as Black Friday, which starts on Thanksgiving Day, and huge discounts on everything from Barbie Dolls to Toyotas. Although some families still go to the requisite church services, the accent is on reverse giving. (What are you giving to me?)
Of course, as I demonstrated above, post-youths such as myself sometimes indulge in prolonged flights of nostalgia. Please forgive me.
And have the merriest Christmas ever.
 My books, “There Are Only Seven Jokes” and “The Spirit Runs Through It” are available in paperback or Kindle at Amazon.

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