Christmas, When I Was Little

When I was little, Christmas was magic.

Magic that can’t be described by an adult.  Only felt as a child, and carried forever as it’s own gift.

There was the magic of anticipation that only a child can know.   The innocence and expectations of this magic combined for something we seldom, if ever, experience as adults.

When I was little, there was a time, when there was a purity of heart not yet tainted by the world.

There were kids everywhere.  Kids everywhere excited about what was going to happen.  Kids everywhere that felt like me.  Who wished for ‘things’ but were also impressed by the sudden twinkling world around us.  The sudden change of human atmosphere.  Kids who had faith in something they couldn’t touch but knew existed: kindness, generosity, and hope.

Parents spoke together in hushed tones.

Mom baked cookies.

Mom Baked Cookies

Mom tried to hide cookies.

Kids snuck cookies.

Kids Snuck Cookies

Mom could not bake enough, hide enough or store enough cookies, without baking nonstop for a month.

Santa helped my parents by storing gifts in that forbidden room in the basement.  In the back.  Behind the locked, black, wooden door.

It called to me….

Forbidden Room

Treasures were in there….

On Christmas Eve we were sent to our rooms.  Adults world wide had the expectation that children would be able to sleep.  Children world wide – wouldn’t.

No Sleep

The house would fill with friends and family gathering joyfully, waiting for us to be woken up.

After hours of fighting sleep, we would succumb to exhaustion.  Just in time for them to wake us up.

And down the steps we came.  Rubbing eyes in the bright lights.  Embarrassed to have to come down those stairs in front of everyone.   But quickly getting over that embarrassment when the gifts under the tree, and piled into the next room, caught our droopy eyes.   We would try to find a seat as close to the tree as possible.

There would be that moment.  So brief.  Adults settled with adult beverages, children settled with excitement and glee.  No gift yet handed out.  That last, most powerful moment of anticipation, peaks.

And the magic of childhood, Christmas and love, freezes in that moment.

To be a gift of it’s own.

It’s a gift I still carry.

The memory of it is part of my tradition, now.

62 thoughts on “Christmas, When I Was Little

  1. These are some excellent memories.

    My wife and I go back and forth on the Xmas thing. For whatever reason, I just don’t get as into Christmas as she does. She’s helping me create some new and original traditions. Hoping to find the way to celebrate the season in our own way. It’s helping.

    Hearing of your nostalgia helps as well. Merry Christmas!

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  2. i’ve had the privilege of a very similar Christmas experience growing up. I didn’t have as many siblings as you do, Colleen, but I had all of my grandparents, aunts and uncles until well into my teens and we started celebrating on Christmas Eve and it went on from there! It was wonderful! I have such warm and wonderful memories at Christmas, and I hope now to make as many memories for my grandchildren.

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  3. It’s that magic that makes the tradition of Christmas carry on. Parents remember it and want to share it with their children and grandchildren. 🎄

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  4. Ours was simple, one to two gifts and yet, many had been passed out to families my Mom taught a student or heard of from church. In those days, we made a “trek” and we called it a “mission.” We dropped gifts off, backed the car out of those families’ driveways with no lights on and left the gifts 🎀 in a cloth bag Mom sewed out of a nice green corduroy. I believe each child felt the same excitement we did. I hope each one continues some kind of giving to a neighbor or friend. . . anonymously.

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  5. I remember when my Grandmother would bake gingerbread men to leave for Santa and my little brother and I would always sneak them off of the cookie tray when they came out of the oven! She would always get so frustrated! Thank you for writing this and helping me remember a good and funny memory 🙂

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  6. This was such a lovely read 🙂 I believe it was these exact memories as you described that makes Christmas my favorite holiday. I’m just sad I can no longer feel like I did about the holiday as an adult.

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    • It is different as an adult, no doubt about it! But it is a wonderful feeling to be part of creating that for the children. My favorite part of the holiday is sitting alone on Christmas eve. No one else is awake. And just feeling that feeling…. it’s worth staying up late, it’s worth waiting for all year long.

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  7. I can still remember my mum getting cranky at 4am then 4:30am and every half an hour after until we were officially allowed to come out of our rooms at 7am to be greeted with our santa sacks filled to the brim. Those were the best memories, that will stick forever.

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