“In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it ‘Christmas’ and went to church; the Jews called it ‘Hanukkah’ and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say ‘Merry Christmas!’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah!’ or (to the atheists) ‘Look out for the wall!”
― Dave Barry
Today I was thinking back to what these days before Christmas were like when I was a kid. It was so much different in so many ways.
I grew up in a small town and much of our shopping was done through Sears or J.C. Penny catalogs. As soon as Thanksgiving was over, we impatiently waited for those catalogs to show up in the mail so we could shop and create our Christmas lists.
I was going to say I wished I’d saved one of those catalogs. In all honesty, by the time Christmas arrived, the pages that had become everyone’s favorites were in pretty rough shape. If I close my eyes, I can still hear the rustle of the pages as we each took our turn to shop.
Whish…whish..sigh…whish…move in closer…whish…smooth out each and every page so we could see every little part of that toy, doll, or extra special, beautiful dress…whish…
We’d all earmark pages where we’d each found items that became part of our list. Between the catalogs and the ever-increasing TV commercials, we had copious lists–which had to be shared with Mom after each entry to make sure she understood EXACTLY what it was we wanted. Once we had our lists completed, we were instructed to pick out our favorite three things. What an impossible request! With heavy sighs and loud protests, we did as instructed so we could get our letters to Santa written.
Oh, what bittersweet memories fill my mind and heart. I can see myself bent over my letter, a pencil held tightly and pressed firmly into the page, the tip of my tongue angled threw pursed lips, quickly composing my letter. With innocent sincerity, all my wishes and hopes were folded into the creases of that letter as I slowly placed it into a little white envelope addressed to Santa Claus, North Pole.
Under the tree on Christmas morning, we all had presents that resembled the things we had on our lists. In reality, the gifts are not as memorable as the whole process–the waiting, shopping our way through the catalogs, making the final selections, and truly believing.
I’m thinking I could use some of that simplicity today.
Love, peace, and pray for those in need today.