Saturday, December 28, 2002

I constantly waffle back and forth between hating the commercialism of Christmas and loving the traditions that are more ceremony than purpose.

In early December, we haul a dusty, heavy, unwieldy duct-taped box out of the storage room to unpack, unfold and assemble a bushy replica of a lovely scotch pine. We force the children to take part in the hanging of ornaments, even though we don't trust them with the delicate ones or to evenly place them on the tree. We play the same old music that we hear and get tired of every single year. On Christmas Eve, we make our regular pilgrimage to the local United church only to have the children fidget, question the purpose for most of the standard ceremonies (clearly pointing out our lack of attendance for the last few months) and then bug us for the last half hour about when it's going to end. Then, after months of us pumping them up about the upcoming feeding frenzy of consumerism, we send them to bed to try and sleep and then, the next morning, force them to wait for all the relatives to arrive before they are allowed to open their gifts one at a time, in a p-a-i-n-f-u-l-l-y slow fashion.

Sounds like fun, huh?

This is probably what happened to me, too, but I don't have any bad memories of Christmas. Christmas was going to church and hearing the choir at their best. Christmas was getting to eat the stuff you wanted - candy and finger food - for three or four days straight. Christmas was sneaking away from your relatives on Christmas afternoon and calling your best buddy to compare the best toys you'd each received. Christmas was being home with both your parents so they could give you a ride to the local pool or roller rink. I remember watching cartoons and assembling models and seeing cousins that I hadn't seen for ages and ages. I hope my kids have the same like of untainted memories.

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