I still remember the joy of sitting on Santa’s knee telling him what I wanted for Christmas. My siblings and I would be out shopping with mom at The Mall, and there before us would be the most magnificent theatrical throne wrapped in sparkling – though admittedly gaudy – garland. Wonderful stuff! But things were about to get a whole lot sweeter. Beyond the red bigger-than-all-get-out chair that sat perched in the middle of Da Mall was the oh-so-recognizable velvety suit, that fluffy beard and those twinkling, friendly eyes. Ladies and gentleman Santa Claus, in the flesh.
There’s magic in those memories. Seeing a snapshot of your seven year-old self perched on Santa’s knee can bring up all kinds of reflections.
The year my baby sister opened every gift that went unguarded for more than a millisecond sitting under the tinsel loaded tree – no care for the name on the gift tag. Or that Christmas morning I opened my very first set of am/fm headphones. It didn’t matter that each ear piece was like having a two-sliced toaster on either side of my head, or that it took two ton of fry-your-brain-cell batteries to run the thing, it was way cool for the 80s, and I had the very first one in my peer group.
Totally tubular! My first record player. My first boom box. That special Mrs. Beasley doll. The year I got my Barbie camper. Oh! The memories! But while there’s so much magic in awakening those ghosts of Christmastimes past, growing older doesn’t mean we ever need to lose that glow we felt as children.
As young adults set free in the world, we start creating our own holiday traditions, gathering bulbs and trinkets along our life journey, things we can add to our tree through each passing year. From Disney trips with siblings to craft fair finds with friends, we uncover and gather little bits of our present to add to our future.
Then, the next stage. Kids. A time when collecting handmade treasures like Popsicle stick googly-eyed reindeer and tin-foil covered bells, all hung on the tree with tiny hand-glued-with-love brightly coloured pipe-cleaners, becomes the most important thing in our lives.
Then, if we’re blessed, grandchildren. Someone to dress up and parade through the church pews throughout Advent. An excuse for making gingerbread cookies or for rolling chocolaty snowballs in coconut. A reason to once again wander through the Barbie and Tonka isles at the stores, reliving our own childhood.
From Santa’s knee to Santa’s helper; our life’s journey told through the mystical changing tides of Christmases through the decades. Seeing the beauty in all those little moments makes sure we keep believing in, and passing on to others, the magic and wonder of Christmas.
Pam Pardy Ghent, The Herald’s Managing Editor, can be reached by emailing [email protected]