File Under ‘Christmas Past’

The holidays came and went this year, and after a big weeks-long build-up, the arrival of the big day was met with a crest of enthusiasm and the ensuing aftermath of whatever follows. For different people that means different things, but disappointment and an anti-climactic let-down are two typical results. I no longer build Christmas up to be much more than a few days or weeks where we try to be better to each other, with the bonus of promised gifts to make it all worth it. Mostly, it’s all about the kids, but as I watched my niece and nephew tear through the gifts I’d selected for them, hastily discarding each one in the hope of something better, I realized that even the children seem to be missing the message of the season.

Of course, I’m sure that as a child I had the same disregard for loftier meaning, but I do recall thinking about things that were measured in more than material goods. I remember being warmed by the love of family, the comfort and thrill of having my Grandma or Uncle or other visiting family members staying overnight in the house. I remember making an earnest effort to be nicer to my brother, and to my friends, and discovering the joy in finding and making gifts for my parents.  I’m hopeful that the twins see those things, or grow to see them.

Surrounded by the excess of gifts and presents, the torn wrapping paper and trampled bows, I consider it all so much carnage and waste, and wonder how many other trinkets – large and small – will go unused, and unloved. Such is the stuff of childhood.

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