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15 December 2007

Tales of the Glories of Christmases Long, Long Ago

If I asked, "When did you lose the 'magic' of Christmas?" I'd be assuming that you, now all grown up, have not retained that intangible "warm fuzzy" that you had as a child during The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. I would also be assuming that you were once in possession of the same. I use the word "magic" in this post often and of course very figuratively.

But I'm curious... when did you lose that special childhood "magic" of Christmas, or do you still have it? If it's the latter, your comments will not be of much use to those of us on a quest to recapture the glories of Christmases long, long ago. (By the way, has any of you ever told "scary ghost stories" at Christmas??)

I remember the first Christmas season during which I expected to be hit by that magical holiday cheer, and instead became little worried when it never hit me. I think I was around 10 years old. I remember talking with my dad about it, and in those brainstorming sessions one difference stuck out to me that could potentially explain the reason for the non-magical Christmas: the prior year we'd had to throw away the poorly-aging paper nativity scene (exactly like the one in the photo, only with a whole lot more Scotch tape) that we'd had ever since I was old enough to know what paper was.

I was really dejected that year. It wasn't a matter of degrees for me; it was like a light switch had simply been turned off (or a Christmas tree had been unplugged) some time since the last Christmas season. I had believed that Santa Claus was real when I was a smaller boy, but I don't believe that this was the reason for my loss of Christmas cheer -- that had happened a few years ealier, as I recollect.

And so now, each Christmas, I find myself psychoanalyzing myself, examining Christmassy things, and investigating to understand what exactly it was that ripped that fantastic state of happiness from my soul those many years ago. That sounds a little melodramatic, but it's pretty accurate. Every year I try to find the culprit under every rock, ornament, nutcracker, and paper nativity scene. Usually I wind up with the same answer: "We're just too busy! It's no fun being an adult!" But you know what? I'm beginning to think that being busy isn't really to blame. However, if I do get the chance to spend any time in a non-busy fashion this season, I will post the results here.

By the way, a few years after the less-wonderful Christmases set in, I found the paper nativity scene at Walgreens or some now-defunct drugstore chain, and my parents bought it for me (in an effort to get me to stop whining, maybe?). No luck -- there was no magic in the old silk hat I found.


Cecily said...

This was kind of sad. I'm sorry for you, that Christmas has lost its magic. Yes, I'm busy at Christmas, and some Christmases have been "better" than others, for sure... but I've never lost my excitement over this magical time of year.

In just a bit of over-psychoanalyzing myself, I would venture to guess that it's because my memories of Christmas past are the happiest memories I have. I had a loving family, but my childhood was not one you'd call happy, and I don't have a lot of fond memories of anything except the times I spent on the farm with my grandparents. That includes just about every Christmas I can remember. (If we weren't on the farm, then the grandparents were with us.)

Even the stress of the teen musical hasn't dampened my love of this most wonderful time of the year! :) I wish I could give a more spiritual reason for my joy during this season (ha! not an intentional rhyme there), but in all honesty, I think my love for all things Christmas really has to do with the fact that these are my best childhood memories.

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