Have you ever known a person for whom Christmas lasts the whole year round? How about someone who sings Christmas carols in July? Or indeed a person who enjoys seeing the first Christmas trees and the other holiday revelry in the merchants windows before Halloween. That would be me and thus it has always been. For some reason or reasons Christmas has always elicited the warmest and fuzziest emotions in me. I am transported to a more peaceful and happier world where peace on earth and good will toward men seems possible.
As a child I recall a stuffed toy Santa Claus that had a wind up crank protruding out of his back and the most joyful of smiles permanently affixed to his face. When I turned the crank…peal after peal of side splitting laughter emerged somewhere from his belly. We called him laughing Santa. Another memory was of Santa Claus visiting my house. There he was in his red suit, his long white beard and his red cap! It was simply incredible and I could not believe my good fortune! Finally I recall fondly the temporary pervasive happiness that filled my childhood home in Chicago on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It seemed that there was a special dispensation for these two days…a time out…for trouble and strife…and uncertainty.
I later discovered that Santa was really one of my Dad’s friends dressed up in an impressive red suit and beard. Also, my Mom and Dad went on to separate and then divorce…and it was terribly sad…and caused uncertainty…fear…and the rapid acceleration of maturity for one small boy…and laughing Santa.
When Aaron and Jonathon came along Christmas took on its’ former significance once again. We decorated our little four room house with a seven foot Christmas tree that dominated the small living room that its’ majesty was contained in. We traveled to St. Louis to the headquarters of Famous Barr and then to the seventh floor to see the magnificent Christmas village that took up a large area of the entire floor. The boys eyes were always wide with awe and wonder…all three of us. The gifts were always purchased with great care and aplomb. In those early days we still had the Sears catalogue or wish book and much perusing of that occurred.
During the latter part of the nineteen nineties we began attending First Presbyterian Church just before Thanksgiving. I could not help but notice shortly after our arrival the emergence of a beautiful Christmas tree in the narthex. That year we began attending the Christmas Eve Service at the church and have done so for almost every year since. Presbyterians do Christmas right.
When we moved to the New House…although we have now been here over thirteen years…we were overcome with the additional room we had. We discovered that our basement was larger than our former home. Thus when Christmas time arrived… not one tree but two.
We enjoyed a Christmas Season gift exchange with some special friends for many years…and marveled at the splendor of their Christmas tree…and the rich holiday appropriateness of Irish Coffee.
This year is good. My sons are employed. Mary Jane and I are retired…health reports are good…and travel is in our future. However…I do miss laughing Santa.