Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Past

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

This is a year of transition; I have been minimizing it as 'not that big of a change', but the truth is, as I am finally acknowledging, we have a major transition in the family and I think some of my holiday apathy is directly related to that change.

But as I reflected on that, I realized that the 'traditional Christmas' is something of a myth.

The first Christmas I remember was 1962.  I was 3 years old; my little sister was 1 1/2.    Mom didn't even put up a Christmas tree; our gifts were all on the round coffee table.  In fact, it was years before I realized that memory was actually Christmas.

I remember bits and pieces of the next few Christmases up until the year I was nine, when I figured out that Santa was a story and was mortified, as I had VEHEMENTLY defended Santa to my classmates.  A carelessly hidden gift that year was evidence I couldn't refute. Santa died to me that year.

Christmas magic came back the year I shopped for my siblings and found a perfect top for my sister.  I was in 8th grade when I discovered the joy of giving.

My freshman year of college I was away from home and suffering acutely from homesickness during the Advent season. It was a real joy to come home and see the tree, short and squatty, with GE Lighted Ice Snowball lights and strings of tinsel.  I spent a lot of time sitting in the living room just looking at it.

  (BTW, I wish I could find these lights in some kind of reproduction!  Hint, Hint, Christmas light manufacturers...)

The next year I was home but working full time and not around much; the following year My Future Sweet Baboo and I split Christmas  between our parents (literally; we drove the 3.5 hours from my folks to his on Christmas day; that was a split day any way you look at it) and the following year we instituted the holiday pilgrimage from Alabama to Indiana; 5 years later we actually missed the Hoosier Christmas and stayed home with our week old firstborn but the next year we added the first kid to the holiday pilgrimage and made the trek again, 2 years later we altered our gift giving (because it was STUPID to haul our kids' gifts to Indiana and back just so they could open them on Christmas day).   Through the years we actually stayed in Alabama for Christmas a couple of more times; missing family but enjoying a relaxing break.

I know this is lengthy, but it illustrates my point just a little...Christmas celebrations have always been evolving. There really is no 'Christmas as it used to be', there's only 'Christmas as it was for a few years back in the day'.

I believed in Santa for about 5 years.  That's all.  And I believed longer than most kids.   We had a  marvelous family caroling event for about the first 10  years or so we were married, then it got to be too difficult to coordinate w/far-flung families and their kids.  We actually had 'all ' the family only about 3 times during that period.  We bought gifts for everyone, then we drew names, now we're stuffing each other's stockings.

There are a few elements that have not changed from one Christmas to the next, but it's also true that each Christmas celebration has been unique.  Something has adapted to changes every year.

This year is no different.  We will adapt.  We are moving to a new stage; from kids to married kids to kids with kids to the new stage: inlaws who host kids.  The Parents. 

And, I'll be honest, this year I'm trying to find the things that don't change to give us the foundation for the big changes that have happened.

Because what we do this year will likely set the tone for the way our progeny will look back on Christmas when our grandkids are moving out and they are wishing for Christmas 'the way it used to be.'

Maybe I should hop over to ebay and buy those vintage snowball lights...nah...


  1. keep the old bulbs, burn out, cut off the bottom, try using a wet tile saw, and slde them over a mini light, not as bright but better than nothing. I donw to my last box of GE iced lights. I picked up 20 boxes after Christmas at Builder Square years ago.

    have a good new year and God bless

  2. 20 boxes! Wow...that was foresight! I don't have any; not sure my mom even has her old string anymore. They can be found on Ebay from time to time, but they are expensive and the wires aren't up to today's codes. Surely they wouldn't be that hard to reproduce for modern wiring??
    Maybe someday... ;-)