My whole life I have heard that line every Christmas season. The famous Virginia of a Christmas past who wrote to the NY Sun newspaper asking whether there was a Santa Claus. While the response was historic, the line I love is "Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias".
This year, this Virginia is looking at Christmas past, present and future. The past spent in the home of my parents born of another country in simpler times, unaccustomed to the frivolity and commercialism of the Christmas season of today. My brother and I were given one gift each (not one from each person, just one gift) and were forced by my father to wait until 5 pm on Christmas day before we were allowed to open it. I suppose it was to teach us to be patient. It didn't.
The Christmas past with my own family was much different with lots of decorations and new traditions. For years, we would started the season on the Saturday by driving to a farm after Thanksgiving to cut down our own Christmas tree. My husband and I would have this make-believe argument about what size tree we should have (I envisioned one comparable to that of Rock Center while Tony favored the love starved, Charlie Brown tree). Sometime during December, we would invite friends for a traditional white elephant gift exchange holiday party giving me the chance to cook hopefully dazzle my friends with homemade Armenian specialties. It seemed to work because they cam back every year and with the same junky gift they got the year before. Then on Christmas day, the kids would get up at some ungodly early morning hour to open gifts.
Christmas today is with a fake tree that comes out of a box and decorations that are from Crate and Barrel. The Christmas morning sound of kids running through the house with excitement has been replaced by their sleep deprived grunts of dragging them out of bed sometime around 9 am to open gifts. After which, they would go back to bed for another few hours of rest while I cooked. It is different from the past but it is the evolution.
Who knows what the Christmas of the future will be like or where we will be. Every year, the friends who made up our Christmas day either change or relocate to another place. The street I live on is comprised of multi-ethnic families that do not decorate. Our Santa and snowman figurines on the lawn are reminders of Christmases when the kids were little and still believed in miracles. Times have changed and we have too. My mother in law reaching 84 years old this year is not coming Christmas nor does she want anyone to pick her up. She is not upset, just more afraid of travel. I remember as my aunts’ aged, they also passed up holidays to be alone within the quiet comfort of their home rather than in the hustle of the day. It seemed strange to me then, but not anymore.
I hope I always want to be in the hustle of the day, but if I don’t, I hope my kids will understand. I hope I always want to be among friends but if I can’t go to their house, I hope they come to mine. I hope my kids will always be happy throughout their lives and love Christmas. If one year they don't, I hope they remember the Christmas’ of the past and look to make changes for a better one next year.
Merry Christmas, Love, Ginny