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Do You Hear What I Hear?



Christmas Eve. This day has a ton of personal memories. Growing up, it was always the day of a ton of food, then church, followed by a light supper and tons of Mom's awesome Christmas cookies. And a very fitful night of sleep, as I really couldn't wait until the morning to open packages.


My bedroom was right next to the living room, where our tree was. My parents had to walk by my room to get there, and had to do so silently as I always have been a light sleeper. When they woke up in the morning, they'd quietly walk with the hidden gems of presents to the tree, put them down, and then go to the garage or other hiding places to get the rest. My brothers and I would wake up--in my case I'd have been woken up by the rustling in the next room, and who knows about my brothers--and we'd try to open our doors ever so quietly. Maybe we could sneak a peek, just to see what we'd be getting?


My mom would then yell at us to close the doors. Of course, we did that, lest she take away our presents. But I could always hear her and my dad giggling afterwards. They tried every year to get us to stay in our rooms longer and longer--at the very least so that they could put the pot of coffee on, get my grandmother, great-aunt and great-uncle upstairs, and get everything set before the three tornados came in and made a mess. But it never quite worked that way.


Then I'd hear something be placed outside of my bedroom door...ooh, the stocking! Since we didn't have a fireplace, it wasn't very logical to assume that's how Santa got in...and trust me, I asked constantly. So my parents came up with a different explanation: Santa landed on the deck outside of the living room, and used his magic to open the door so quietly that even I didn't hear him. And yet when I looked out on the deck, I didn't see any sleigh marks on the frost...but, of course, that was magic. (Wow, I was seriously too cynical as a kid!)


And, yes, the secret of Santa got spoiled for me, and very early...but my mom asked me to play along, for the sake of my younger brothers. And despite never being an early riser, Christmas morning was always the exception. The anticipation of the stocking, and of the generosity of others, well, it always got me out of bed early. Even this morning, Christmas Eve morning, when I fully expected to sleep well past 8am, I was tossing and turning at 7:15. Seems like I'm eager to get to Mom and Dad's house, and get this show on the road. I mean, you never know what Santa will bring :-)


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I don't ever remember being convinced by this santa claus stuff. I knew early on my parents were putting presents by the tree every year, but to be honest that never detracted from the fun of opening gaudy packages anyway.


Over the holiday The Polar Express was showing on tv. I've not seen the film before, and boy, am I glad I didn't pay to see that in the cinema. I was struck by the idea we should be wowwed with the entire concept of christmas, that it should be 'magical' somehow, as if the adult population was guilty of conspiring to foist this fantasy on their children. I mean, it's bad enough that christianity reivented the festival to suit itself (I do read that the end of year celebration predates roman festivals as a celebration of surving the winter solstice), but now we see both a commercial and cultural reinvention that whilst not absolutely at odds with each other, remain nonetheless two extremes of what was essentially a very simple custom.


Good grief, I managed a rant, at this time of year no less. I haven't been drinking enough. If you'll please excuse me... :D

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