Finding Christmas

Since my youth, I have noticed that Christmas is not a one size fits all.


The classic depiction of a loving…and happy…family…surrounding the Christmas table; with joy in their eyes and rosy cheeks is not always the condition that you find yourself in.


I, vividly, recall Christmas, 1989, when I identified with the premier movie, Christmas Vacation, much more than the, Turner Classic Movies, White Christmas or Holiday Inn…or even, Christmas in Connecticut.


At times, it takes, concerted, effort to find the Christmas that you are looking for; as you push through the marketing and the Black Fridays and the Cyber Mondays.

The commercialization and purchasing frenzy that is associated with the holiday often drives people to spend much more than they have…for Christmas gifts.

In 1989 just after we had an especially difficult, extended family encounter, we stopped in a Carbondale theatre to see Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase.  The film seemed to be, almost, exactly what we had just experienced…and we laughed until we cried!


Christmas Vacation…was Christmas for me in 1989!

Christmases in Elkville…in our four room house…and twenty or more guests…were memorable.  We had a, majestic, Christmas tree…and Aaron and Jonathon were full of Christmas wonder and excitement.


One December 25th, I received a, used portable television and a Texas Instrument personal computer…that hooked up to the TV….and it fascinated my desire to enter the computer age!

There was the holiday season that we attended a performance depicting the birth of Jesus.  At one point, the actors that were the shepherds, entered from the back of Shryock Auditorium, singing.  One of them sang in a resonate bass voice…and…I discovered Christmas again.


For a few years, we had the tradition of traveling to Gatlinburg, Tennessee on Christmas day to join our, good friends, the LaBriers, and to stay together in a condo in the neighboring town of Pigeon Forge.  I remember standing on the balcony with Steve and Aaron and Jonathon…and finding Christmas as I peered at the, splendid, Smokey Mountains.


Mom and I were going it alone after my dad left us.  There was little money for gifts.  Mom saved and scrimped to purchase me a Big Swinger Polaroid Camera.  Thus began my, life long love of photography.


Steve and I traveled to Eldorado, in his 1952 Chevrolet and played, Country Christmas, on his radio.  I had purchased, for my Mom, a lovely scenic picture, and I was paying for it at the, princely sum, of five dollars per week.  The painting hung in the, new room, until the death of my step father and the sale of their home.


Several holiday seasons, we traveled to the headquarters of Famous Barr department store in St. Louis, Missouri.  Aaron and Jonathon were both small…and it was our mission to observe the Christmas Bears and their Yuletide frivolity, on the seventh floor of the massive store.  When I witnessed the joy in the eyes of my sons…that was Christmas!


On more than one occasion…the Christmas Eve service at our church…is where I find Christmas…once again!

I, so enjoyed, speaking with the wonderful people that comprised the housekeeping operations at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.  Each year the Union would invite me, and other managers, to their Christmas Luncheon.  As I walked from table to table and exchanged holiday greetings with, my friends, I felt a, profound, sense of love and caring and camaraderie.

Each year I watch on television the Christmas Eve Service from St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome…and I enjoy it, even, more, since we have had the opportunity to visit the Vatican.

Finding Christmas…may be a song that touches your heart…or a friendly greeting from a stranger…or a feeling of peace that emanates from, what may seem to be, an insignificant act.


This Autumn has included many tests and a health issue for a beloved member of my family.  All tests turned out good and including a major surgery that has been successful!

That is Christmas…for me!


Note: The downloadable Norman Rockwell photos are courtesy of Google search.

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