I was born on a snowy Christmas eve. Perhaps because of this, as a child I always embraced the Christmas season with unfettered enthusiasm. Lights, cameras, presents! And my birthday!
It was many years before I realized that not many people had any interest in my birth. But the enchantment of Christmas traditions remained with me into adulthood, and gained a booster rocket of momentum after I had children of my own. However, it was that shift in perspective, from being the recipient of Christmas glee to the provider of same, that let the air out of my festive mood.
It’s easy to be a good Santa when the kids are young. A teddy bear, a doll, a set of blocks elicit happy shrieks of surprise. But expectations grow with each passing year, even as the wide-eyed willingness of children to believe outlandish tales of elves and chimneys and stockings diminishes, and the scale of the gifts seems to reflect the doomed desire of every parent to protect children from the inevitable truth that lasting happiness never comes gift-wrapped.
Once the kids get to the age where they want cars and computers, it’s safe to say that Santa is out of the picture. But even after he’s slipped back into the pages of a children’s book, the Santa inside every parent lives on, hoping to bring a moment of joy to someone.
And that’s about where I am now. Kind of fed up with the whole marketing of Christmas, but still believing in the essential product. It’s not as easy as buying diamond earrings or iPods or whatever the trendy toy of the moment may be. But, if the true goal of the holiday is for us all to lay down our arms and live in harmony for one day, well, I can still sing along with that.
And to all a good night. Pa-rom-pa-pom-pom.