Recently we were sitting in the kitchen and having a family talk with my wife, son and his girlfriend. I forget what we were talking about but I absentmindedly picked up a new Christmas catalogue that had landed on the table from the mailbox.
As we were talking about whatever it was, I opened the catalogue of shiny hopes and dreams, closed my eyes and stuck it up to my nose and I inhaled Christmas as a kid.
For a moment, just a moment, I went back again. I went back to lying on the living room floor wearing my Peanuts pyjamas. I was out for Christmas from elementary school and I had my face close to the freshly printed pages of firetrucks and Hotwheels. When I was fixated with big eyes on the Hotwheels garage with the rotating floors that I hoped I had been good enough to get. When Snoopy danced an absolutely careless Christmas jig on the TV in the background to the piano music. The smell of the fake snow sprayed in the living room windows mixed with the heated smell of mom cooking.
I went back to the school bus filled with Christmas oranges that I wrote about last year. I never forget the gut-wiggling excitement of Christmas when we only celebrated Easter, Halloween, and Christmas.
Holidays were special because they were rare. We didn’t bring finger foods for a party every time Cindy made an A like parents do now.
It recalled when we went to school regardless of the weather. If the bus slid off in a snowbank, we all just extrapolated ourselves out of the broken bus windows and drug our bleeding and tattered little bodies the rest of the way to school; uphill.
Not really, but you get my point.
Nothing would keep us from the necessary 3 Rs, a warm bowl of soup and a pimento and cheese sandwich. We didn’t turn out for everything that COULD happen like schools do nowadays. So time out at Christmas was a special and savoured time.
Yes, it grew into an amazing time in the Frank and Rebecca Bedwell house when all of the kids, grandkids, and others came into that steamy home that smelled of chicken and dressing, turkey and rolls. The yard was crowded with cars and trucks that snuggled themselves around the glowing plastic yard decorations that mom and dad put out and staked into the zoysia.
But back at the 2017 table, I withdrew the catalogue away from my face and my son and his girlfriend looked at me like I had lobsters crawling out of my ears (here we insert Christmas movie quote). Realizing how bizarre that had to look to them, I had to explain how amazing it was to smell Christmas in a book as a kid. Of course, I also thought that gas smelled good when I was a kid and learned the hard way about that smell.
Today, it’s reassuring to see those fun memories are still being made but just in different and new ways. These beautiful new memories are shared on social media now and read on blogs just like this one here.
I see parents labouring over where the kids are going to wake up and find that naughty elf. Santa is still sitting around and either scaring the poo out of screaming children or getting his beard touched by wide-eyed and smiling toddlers that will never forget that moment. Ubers are hustling people about this world to get them to the people that loved them.
Today, brown cardboard boxes with black sideways smiles dot our landscape. Amazon has replaced the Sears catalogue. Even though the smell of ink on catalogue pages is absent on orders from screens as computers, unless they are on fire, each of these Amazonian boxes contains equally as wonderful of gifts.
Our daughter introduced something new to our Christmas-scape this year. She wants us to all wear pyjamas when we’re having Christmas at our house. She said it would help recreate the excitement, as an adult, of being a child and opening presents on Christmas morning. Full disclosure here, it would be more comfortable too. To that request, I said ‘yes, yes and YES!’. The wife and I used to host adult pyjama parties. But that was before kids and we were less wholesome adults. 🙂
So this Christmas, make yourself some memories. Start a new tradition with the old ones. But whatever you do, sit down with your family and friends and let the world wait awhile. The memories that we make today will be our best Christmas presents.
Just like the indelible memory/scar that I’ve left on my Lexington family of the year that I brought the uncooked sweet potato casserole to a Christmas dinner.
Accidentally bring your family uncooked food to eat just ONE Time…..
Merry Christmas and enjoy your family and friends because, my friends, life happens very quickly.
And always cook your sweet potato casserole.
That’s the best that I can tell about it,
What wonderful memories you shared! You are right that families are also making wonderful memories and I am glad you pointed that out. It is so easy to fall into the line of thinking that “our way” was/is best. Some people have “Elf” and some, like a young lady in our PAT Dept., have a little Daniel that they wake up to who gives various Biblical messages. I have been enjoying following her Daniel ventures! Christmas has always been an exciting time for me – probably in part to, as you stated, not celebrating many “special occasions” growing up! May you, your wife and family have a joy-filled Christmas!
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Thank you!! And the same to you and your family as well!
I’m a bit older than you Mark but we all have Christmas memories, some a bit more dated. It was fun reading of yours and knowing that your family made many more good ones this year. Happy New Year to you all !!!!!
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Right on – Touchdown!