Then there's the excitement of Christmas when you are parents of small children: my son, always an early riser, made his second Christmas memorable for us: He was eighteen months old; he'd come walking out of his room each morning rubbing his eyes, head straight to the tree, and say, "'ights on" (asking me to plug in the lights).
When children are babies and toddlers, as yet uninfluenced by TV commercials, there's no need to spend a lot of money. Everything makes them happy, even the empty boxes the gifts come in.
After that, it pretty much goes south until you have grandchildren: and once again, for a few brief years until they start school, you get a glimpse of the magic again. Then they start getting picky; you can't buy them clothes they'd like, they're too big for toys, they want expensive games for Playstations and Wii's. So you start giving them cash. But it isn't the same, and you know they would have liked to have more. (disclaimer: This isn't a direct slam at my wonderful grandchildren; it's just how things seem to be everywhere.)
The big holiday dinners of yesteryear are pretty much impossible: family members are scattered far and wide, so it's hit-and-miss. You never know who is going to show up and who isn't.
The patter of rain outside my window isn't helping my mood, but I've said all that to say this:
Two days ago the mailman brought a heavy box to my door, something I hadn't ordered; I tore into it with gusto. It was from a person who had no reason to give me anything, so it was totally unexpected.
For an hour or so, Santa Claus showed up and I was a kid again.
To make it even better, there were gifts in this box for me to pass on to others.
Isn't that just like Santa?
Thank you, Santa Claus. I'm so glad to know you're still around; I love you.