Christmas really isn't much fun these days. I know, lots of people absolutely live for Christmas. Not me.
My favorite thing about this season is the memories, and the magic that Christmas used to be.
I want to be five years old again.
Santa Claus was real. He didn't always bring me every single thing I wanted, but I could count on him to deliver most of it. The only time he really let me down was when he failed to deliver that pony, but of course he probably couldn't fit it in his sleigh.
When he came bursting through the door at the back of the one-room schoolhouse at the end of our Christmas program, ringing a bell and saying "Ho ho ho", I had no doubt he was the real deal. I never even noticed the bell he was ringing was the same one the teacher rang every day to signal the end of recess.
I didn't know about calories. I could eat all the brown sugar candy and nuts and fruit cake I desired without any guilt, and my mother provided plenty of goodies for my consumption. Not only that, she let me eat all of it I wanted, at any time.
Oh, I wish you could have seen the Christmas trees we had. Artificial trees hadn't been invented yet, and the piney fragrance of our real Christmas trees affected me in the same way that catnip affects a cat. I still demand a real Christmas tree, mainly for the memories. The smell only seems to last a few days, but it's good while it lasts. We don't have huge piles of presents like the old days, but we do have the tree.
I remember magazines people gave my mom for Christmas called "Christmas Ideals". I could look at the pictures and stories in those magazines for hours. A few years ago I got on Ebay and ordered a couple of the issues I remembered from my childhood. For the memories.
There was a special magic about the simple Christmas programs in country churches, so that when little kids wearing their mom's bathrobes walked down the aisle toward the front, I saw them as real shepherds and wise men. And that doll in the manger? I almost expected him to cry.
I wish I could be five years old again, young enough to sit on my momma's lap and enjoy it, back before I developed that attitude that drove a wedge between the two of us for most of the rest of our lives.
I want to wake up Christmas morning and see my stocking stuffed with all kinds of fun stuff, an orange bulging in its toe.
When you're five years old there are no worries, because you're perfectly taken care of. You don't know about politics or wars or "these tough economic times".
Momma and Daddy will take care of all that.
And what they don't provide, Santa will.