Memories much better than gifts
December 19, 2018
In terms of pure economics, our biggest national holiday is, of course, Christmas. I read somewhere that Halloween comes in as a strong second, but I’d be surprised if it’s anywhere close to the money we Americans spend for the yuletide.
Perhaps that makes me a little out of the ordinary, because I don’t remember much about the Christmas presents I’ve acquired in years past. Instead, I recall the experiences, and I’ll bet that’s true for a lot of you, too.
When I was growing up as a preacher’s kid, Christmas caroling was one of my favorite holiday activities. We’d pile into cars and drive around town, from one elderly church member’s home to another, and sing Christmas songs in their front yards.
They’d come to the door, listen and smile, and sometimes sing along, before we wrapped it up with “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” — with us kids always belting out the “figgy pudding” verse like we actually knew what figgy pudding was.
When my youngest brother Mark was born (my parents brought six boys into this world), I started getting into the Christmas spirit in a different way.
I was 10 years old when Mark was born, and by the time I was a teenager I was sneaking outside our parsonage to tromp around on the roof like Santa, just to add to his excitement. Then I’d help Santa with scavenger hunts so that, on Christmas morning, Mark would have to search the house for a present or two. Watching him dash all over the house is one of my best Christmas memories.
Years later, my daughters brought me a new kind of holiday joy. Especially in those early years, when we didn’t have much money, I — er, Santa — would go to a dollar store on a $20 budget to buy cheap little stocking stuffers. It may sound silly, but that’s always been my favorite seasonal shopping spree.
Now, Amy and Maya are taking on the world as young adults, while my parents have departed this world and my brothers have their own families to celebrate with.
Christmas this year will be a modest occasion for me, but it’ll still be filled with memories of Christmases past. And more than anything else that comes my way, I’ll be thankful for the gift of family fun — and the spirit of giving and generosity that surrounds this beautiful holiday. That’s what puts the “Christ” in my Christmas, and I hope it’ll be there for you too.
Tom McDonald is editor of the New Mexico Community News Exchange. Contact him at: