The hubster and I were talking about how much we love Christmas. How it's exciting to see Sarah finally at an age where she's anticipating, counting down, losing sleep from the thrill of "Santa" arriving.
We talked about what Christmas meant to us, as children. For me, there was a lot of hussle and bussle. But it was good hussle and bussle.
There was hunting down a real Christmas tree, cutting it down, and dragging it through the snow to your basement, where it had to be left for a day or so to dry off. But it wasn't a nice tree, it always had a crook in the trunk, a few bare spots, or was tilted so far to one side that it had to be tied to the wall.
There was the school program, the "Old Fashioned Christmas Tree" at the recreation hall, and carols sung loudly at church and by carolers outside in the snow. There was the Town parade where we waited - often in the bitter cold - at the side of the road just to get a goodie bag with a package of potato chips, a can of pop, and a candy cane. It was the best gift a kid could ever get.
There were presents hidden in closets and under staircases, found, sometimes unwrapped and quietly wrapped up again. Very. Carefully. And then you showed your younger siblings and friends how to do it successfully.
There were visits from family, from neighbours, and from people you saw at your house only once a year. Visitors didn't call. They just showed up. And if they were dressed as mummers, they didn't take off their snowy boots. And they felt welcome to do so.
There were family dinners - with turkey and all the trimmings - in Nan's house, which was far too tiny to possibly hold everyone.
There were chocolates and candies you'd never see at other times of the year.
There were lights and tinsel and garlands hung from one corner of the ceiling to the other.
To me, it was magical. It was pure joy.
But something has happened. We have fake trees and fake money buying way too many gifts, and are far too busy for our family or anyone else. (and yes, I'm guilty of all that!) Now, we can't help but hear it over and over again.
"I hate Christmas!"
"Nothin' but a grab for money."
I wonder if the people who say these things have happy memories of Christmas? Do they know what Christmas really means? Do they know that Christmas is about giving, whether it's a hot meal, a warm hug, or a gift wrapped in a bow? Do they know about the baby Jesus, Mary & Joseph, the shining star, the angels, and the shepherds?
They must not know. Otherwise, they would know the joy that is Christmas. Wouldn't they?
And so to you, my dear blog readers, I wish you Christmas joy. I wish you the joy the season can bring. I wish you the joy you once knew but have now lost. I wish you joy found for the first time.
Most of all, I wish you joy that lasts the whole year round. Merry Christmas!