Saturday, November 19, 2005

It's Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas

I have always loved Christmas. I love the decorations, the lights, the carols, the music, the pagentry of it all, the holiday clothes, the smells, the excitement and anticipation most everybody feels, the generosity of total strangers, the Christmas cards and annual newsletters, the packages received in the mail, being with family and friends, eating Christmas dinner, the purchasing and wrapping of gifts, the delight seen on the children's and the adults' faces when they see the decorated tree and all the presents piled under it, the reading of The Night Before Christmas, The Nutcracker Suite, the snow (if we're lucky), and the annual Christmas movies.

When I was a kid, we didn't celebrate this holiday in our house because we are Jewish. My parents didn't believe in celebrating Christian holidays so all of the above was strictly forbidden. My parents also didn't celebrate any of the Jewish holidays, so I felt doubly cheated. One year, I can remember laying out a couple of socks on a chair in the hopes that Santa really would visit us in the night and leave a little something in our "stockings." When I awoke, I had to hide my extreme disappointment and tears because there was nothing there but a pair of yesterday's empty socks.

At school, in preparation for the holidays, the teachers would orchestrate Christmas pageants, decorate the classrooms and hallways, and everyone had an air of eager anticipation. During annual holiday programs, we sang the carols along with the rest of the kids. We felt it was okay to sing Christmas carols in public, just as long as you mouthed the words Jesus Christ and didn't tell your parents that you participated.

After the holidays, when we returned to school, the teacher would ask each child to step up to the front of the class and tell what they got for Christmas. When it came my turn to stand up there, knees trembling and knowing that God would surely strike me down, I deliberately lied anyway and recited a list of "pretend" gifts that I had received. I was humiliated and I always felt terrible about lying, but I would never have been able to look any of my classmates in the eye if I got up there and admitted that I had not received anything at all. Reminds me of little Charlie Bucket in Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory when he was forced to admit to his teacher in front of the class that he had only eaten two chocolate bars.

Our family celebrates big during this holiday and we enjoy it. Those who are religious are free to worship as they please. Those who are not, are free to enjoy all the other good things about Christmas. In fact, I'm probably the most enthusiastic person around when it comes to celebrating. I'm the one who reads "'Twas The Night Before Christmas" to the kids, young and old, every year.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Ev'rywhere you go;
Take a look in the five-and-ten, glistening once again
With candy canes and silver lanes aglow.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas,
Toys in ev'ry store,
But the prettiest sight to see is the holly that will be
On your own front door.

A pair of hopalong boots and a pistol that shoots
Is the wish of Barney and Ben;
Dolls that will talk and will go for a walk
Is the hope of Janice and Jen;
And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Ev'rywhere you go;
There's a tree in the Grand Hotel, one in the park as well,
The sturdy kind that doesn't mind the snow.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas;
Soon the bells will start,
And the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing
Right within your heart.

Christmas is great fun, and besides Thanksgiving, it's my favorite holiday of the year.


At November 19, 2005 3:50 PM, Blogger Alipurr said...

Hey, what about those sleds? I wasn't kidding, you know. Just ask Dad if he's seen them. thanks.

At November 19, 2005 4:56 PM, Blogger Motherkitty said...

I will look in the garage. I don't remember seeing them lately, but I will ask dad since he's been the one cleaning out there.

At November 19, 2005 10:32 PM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

I love Christmas too. I'll be pulling all the decorations out of the attic next weekend.

At November 20, 2005 7:33 AM, Blogger Tomas Dennis said...

Mom I think you shocked a lot a folks with this last note. It is well done and I love it.
Love Pop

At December 19, 2005 7:05 PM, Blogger Sender-Barayon-Morningstar said...

Great posting, Laurel! I began to avoid Xmas around mid-teens... ALl I can remember from earlier years was how my American step-father disposed of the Xmas tree -- he three it out the third-floor apartment window into the indoor courtyard. I later years, I just never went East during the winter. Of course my kids needed Xmas, but somehow that felt different -- I guess like you feel now.
Happy Festivus - for the Rest of Us!


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