The Christmas tree is lit and trimmed to perfection. Wreaths have been placed in a delicate display of artistry. The stockings hung by the chimney with nutcrackers at full attention.
Saying I love Christmas, well, is an understatement. Christmas means more than a cherished holiday full of traditions. For me, Christmas is about second chances.
The Sting of Christmas
My childhood Christmases were not bad – they were just unusual. Many were spent with a mix of hippie families and sometimes strangers who were rotating through our communal-style home. We usually had some type of casual meal, and then opened a present or two.
During one of my earliest Christmas memories,
Santa my mom, left the price tag on my prized Darci doll. I remember the disappointment when I learned Santa was not…dare I say it aloud?
But the grand poo-bah of all gifts – the one toy that made my little heart go pitter patter was the Barbie Dream House.
This two-story hunk of shiny plastic was my dream gift, which never exactly came to fruition. The $65 price tag in the 1970s was too much for our working-class family to afford at that time.
My ultimate toy: the Barbie Dream House in the mid-1970s, which cost $65 back then. Depressingly worth a whopping $5 on eBay now.
A few years later, I remember when Santa brought my younger sister the Barbie Dream House.
By then, I was too old for Barbie, but the sting of jealous disappointment hurt.
Of course, I know Christmas is not all about gifts, but for children there is a certain magical wonderment of Christmas.
I recently considered the importance we place on Christmas traditions when reading a magazine article that featured actress Drew Barrymore with her new baby girl.
Barrymore grew up as a childhood star in the fast lane battling the pressures of being a celebrity. Revived and refreshed with her new family, she said something that struck a chord: “I really wanted a wonderful, traditional home for my kids. For people who didn’t have the strongest families or traditional families, if you can create that, you can have a second chance. It just makes me so emotional because it’s a miracle.”
Now as an adult, I feel like I am getting a second chance to experience and create my own family Christmas traditions…of holiday cookies and milk left out for Santa, fudge making and the reading of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
A few years ago, my older daughter asked Santa for THE Barbie Dream House (quite an upgrade compared to my 1970s version – complete with an elevator, flat screen TV and penthouse Jacuzzi).
Santa worked hard at delivering her gift on Christmas morning. The look of joy and excitement when she spotted the toy on the fireplace was priceless.
Not only was I excited that my daughter would have the opportunity to enjoy the toy I had pined over all those years ago, I secretly couldn’t wait to play Barbies in that mack daddy mansion.
I believe in second chances.
I believe in miracles.
I believe in Santa.
Do you have fond or not-so-fond Christmas traditions as a child? What was one of your most memorable traditions? Did you have an ultimate favorite gift you wanted as a kid? What was it? As an adult, are there any new traditions that you’ve started with your own family? Do you believe?