As of Tuesday, December 20, 2016
I pretty much lived an idyllic childhood. Every holiday, every milestone, every event was special. I have to be careful, as an adult, that I don’t let my childhood ruin Christmas for me.
We weren’t rich, but I also never really wanted for anything. We lived on seven acres in the country and Christmastime was literally what you see in those sugary Hallmark movies.
We lived in the trees, and snow-covered evergreens at Christmastime are magical. Add in an empty field across from our ranch-style house, two older brothers, and an old car hood chained to the neighbor’s tractor, and sledding was a blast.
Church (15 miles away) on Christmas Eve and then the whole family over for taco salad.
School Christmas pageants were reminiscent of what Sts. Peter and Paul School does now: skits, Christmas trees and other décor, a nativity and songs about both Jesus and Santa Claus.
The church Christmas program sometimes brought a little bit of anxiety with memorized parts and solos, but ended with joy as everyone enjoyed the moments even if there were mistakes or memory lapses.
Late evening Christmas tree hunts with Dad, Great-Grandma’s peanut brittle and Mom’s great dinners (where she managed to burn the green beans several times – something I have now taken over).
Dad calling on our five-party line from Blaine Air Force Base pretending he was Santa Claus. At 9, I was pretty sure it was Dad, but one can never be too sure ….
My brothers buying me Super Star Barbie when I was 10 – Mom had said “No!” because she had – gasp! – pierced ears!
Stockings that sometimes didn’t get filled until Christmas afternoon.
Curling my dad’s hair while he napped with my new purple steam curling wand.
Listening to Burl Ives and Bing Crosby on the record player. Bending the rabbit ears to make one of the three channels we received come in a little bit more clearly so we could all gather around for Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Growing older, life sometimes … well, it sometimes stinks. Lack of finances, death, family relationship and school and work issues. It can be overwhelming. Not everything can be as it was when I was a child. I like those sappy Hallmark movies and watching them reminds me of why I want a “perfect” Christmas.
Because at least once a year, we want magic for our kids, our families, our friends. We want snow and sledding and the smell of sugar cookies throughout the house. We want the light shining on the Baby Jesus in the crèche and we want to hear the excitement when the stockings suddenly appear full overnight. We want to give the pets a treat, turn on the Christmas tunes and cook the best meal.
So we make it happen. And we add new traditions, such as filling shoeboxes for children halfway around the world, donning ugly sweaters, or dancing at the local nursing home.
And for a few moments in time, we believe.
Lorie Palmer is the community editor for the Idaho County Free Press.