I love Christmas. The decorations and the lights. The gifts, the traditions, the family gathering all put me in a happy place. Remembering it is Christ’s birthday we share as we open presents Christmas morning puts me in very happy place.
With fondness I look back on my Christmases pasts. My first experience happened when I was three years old. I came out of my bedroom holding my fuzzy teddy bear, and utter astonishment swept through me. So many shinny, colorful ‘dingy bobs’ hung from the tree my dad had brought into our house the previous evening. I don’t remember what goodies were under the boughs for me, only the amazing tree in the corner of the living room.
With grade school came Christmas concerts in our one-roomed school house. We rehearsed for days. Finally, the big night arrived. Dad would hitch Bud and Darky to a sleigh full of fragrant, prickly hay and thick blankets then take us to the concert. My sister, brother and I would snuggle under the blankets to keep warm. All around, drifted snow became a field of diamonds in the flickering lantern light. Jack Frost bit at our cheeks and noses, but we paid no attention.
As the horses trudged along our two and one half mile journey, the jingle of their harness was music to our ears and we sang along with it. Our childish voices seemed to reach the stars as we practiced Away in a Manger and Silent Night.
My children have a different Christmas experience. There’s no cabin-like home where lamps were lit at sun down and running water meant running from the well to the house with a bucket of water in each hand. Electric lights and tinsel replaced much of the colorful dingy bobs. Concerts were held in the church rather than school. Christmas was now spent at Grammy and Grampy’s house instead of home, and Atari replaced dolls and board games. Still, when we opened gifts, we never forgot it was Jesus’ birthday we where celebrating.
Now, as a grandmother I see so many changes in the way we all celebrate Christmas. It is much quieter. My children have their own homes and families, and they now host Christmas, which I’m happy to pass down to the next generation. Trees are far more beautiful, and gift cards have replaced toys and games. I still put up my own tree even if it’s far more difficult. Once it is up I love to sit in front of it, and muse over my Christmases past. Traditions, decorations and gifts are so different, but regardless of all the visible changes, celebrating Christ’s birthday is always the centre of our Christmas.