Tuesday, December 24, 2013

#178. or, Christmas Eve

  I'd have to say I'm ready. Well, as ready as I'll ever be. Other than a little wrapping that I'll finish up today.

  I did manage to get some of my outside lights up, and even if most of my cords and displays are still in boxes, the yard does have a decidedly festive feel to it. There's been shows on TV, the last few weeks, about the Christmas Light Wars and people who go all out with bigger and brighter displays every year. One of the things I've noticed is, the majority of those displays are where most of the light stringing is done in t-shirts and sandals. I didn't have that luxury, so I'm taking a pass.

  My shopping was done last week. Earlier than usual, so I'm ahead of the game in that regard. I like to do my own wrapping, but I responded too quickly to one purchase, when I thought the girl behind the counter was going to ask if I wanted a bag, but asked if I'd like that wrapped instead. I didn't have the heart to stop her from finishing the job, so I guess I'll just add some ribbon and a bow, and call it an effort of cooperation.

  Last night my wife received simultaneous texts from the 2 older boys asking what we wanted for Christmas, so I'm not sure what's going to happen there. Some people thrive under pressure. Last day Christmas shopping is something completely different.

  Nobody's sick! That's nice. Last Christmas was the Christmas of the vomit, but as we went to bed last night, we were all in good health. It's always nice when you're able to actually taste Christmas dinner. Looking forward to that this year.

  The thing I wanted to mention was, I watched A Christmas Story last night. I didn't get to see it last year, and for me, there's just something about that movie that makes it Christmas. I know it took place in the 40's and I grew up in the 70's, but so much of it reminds me of being a kid. The coal furnace in the basement, the heavy wool winter jackets and pants, the wringer washer in the corner of the kitchen. Things that aren't integral to the movie, but still catch my eye. 30 years before I was a kid, but I know all of that stuff.

  I remember there just being toys under the tree. Nothing electronic. We had a TV. It got 2, then 3 channels. And as I sit here writing this, a memory just tripped that the TV always worked better when the tree was up. It brought the humidity up in the living room up enough that my dad didn't have to get up out of his spot, walk across the living room, and smack the top of it, open handed, to stop the vertical hold from rolling across the screen so he could watch the CBC news.

  Sometimes, I wonder if my kids have a memory like that, buried deep in their brains. Just sitting there, waiting to be triggered by some nostalgic show. Some distant thought or event, that will remind them that their mother and I did our best to make their Christmas's as good as we could. I hope that those spots in their brains aren't used up memorizing patterns on how to navigate their way through virtual worlds on some game console.

  Hopefully those memories are there. Because Christmas is a time for memories. Old ones as well as new ones. And for what it's worth, along with the hustle and bustle of the season and trying to make everything perfect, it's the time of year that I remember my childhood more than any other. My childhood, my kids childhoods, and hopefully one day, the childhoods of my kids children.

  Because to me, that's what Christmas is all about.

 

22 comments:

  1. We're close in age so I probably remember many of the same things you did. I hope you and your family have a wonderful and very Merry Christmas.

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    1. Thank you Stephen!

      I wish the same for you and your family as well.

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  2. Merry Christmas to you and your family, Ken! We recorded "A Christmas Story" last night and intend to watch it tonight -- we love it too! Be careful about what Triple Dog Dares you take!

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    1. Thanks Debra!

      If I take any triple dog dares, it certainly won't be to put anything warm onto a frozen pole! Been a Canadian far too long to fall for that one! Merry Christmas! :)

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  3. Merry Christmas Eve, Dear friend Ken,

    I know I announced on FB that I was going screenless for this time the week of Christmas, but my two kids are bonding over a rockin' game of Guitar Hero and Hubs is examining the underside of the eyelids...and I breathe out slowly - yeeeees...it is Christmas Eve.

    In an earlier run for the milk I forgot earlier in the day, I said aloud in the car, 'I LOVE Christmas Eve.' I do. It just feels different from all other nights of the year. They change with time, but remain timeless. I sit here now, kept company by the Mag-mutt and Sarah McLaughlan's Christmas cd, content to know my two (grown) children are upstairs hanging out. Bonding. Being friends. It is a gift I waited all their lives for. It is truly all I need.

    I know the feeling of getting all nostalgic and thinking back to Christmases past - both my own and those of my babies when they were wide-eyed with sugar-plum wonder and dreams of that special something under the tree. I am doing that same thing lately, more than ever. I want to turn off the clamor of the world, and just revel in memories, like an old reel-to-reel movie.

    Speaking of movies...A Christmas Story...that has become our Christmas Eve Tradition. After all the gatherings have scattered, and everyone goes home to set their own traditions in motion, we settle in to watch that. There is something about that movie! Just love it. I was born in the 70's too, but recall glimmers from the movie too. I love the Christmas tree - it reminds me of my grandparents. It harkens back to old-school parenting. It speaks of a time of simple innocence. My Dad adores that movie, and collects artifacts from it, especially the leg lamp - the 'glow of electric sex, gleaming in the window'. :)

    We sat around after the movie tonight, and asked the kids about their favorite Christmas memories. We hoped to stir, and then solidify those treasured moments they had, growing up, in our home, where we tried to make it magical and wonderful. I do all I can to evoke all senses - certain candles burn only at Christmas. I make this orange/clove/all-spice/cinnamon mixture to burn over the stove throughout. I cook certain things. We decorate pretty full-on - lights and displays from every space to wrap them in cozy. Traditions we started - unique to our little family.

    Anyway, long response....
    Merriest of Christmas to you, dear friend, and to your precious family. This time of year and always, blessings to you.

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    1. Merry Christmas, my friend.

      Memories. I have so many of Christmas, growing up as a kid. Something I miss most, is the smell of a real tree in the house. I have never been able to find a candle to replace that smell since we made the switch. I miss that sometimes.

      And I would have to agree with you about the tree on the movie. They have those bubbling lights on theirs. We never had those, but I recall some neighbour of ours with them on their tree. It was fascinating stuff for a little kid, back in the day.

      I think I need to try to ask our boys about their memories. I have mine with them, but have never really asked them about theirs. I suspect they may be completely different.

      Hopefully your family had the most enjoyable of holidays and you were able to get some time for relaxing in. I know it can be a pretty hectic holiday. :)

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  4. Merry Christmas Ken! I finally got my tree up. Last night. Better late then never right?

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    1. Merry Christmas Holly!

      Absolutely! If fact, my mom always tells me that when she was a kid, they would wake up on Christmas morning to the freshly decorated tree. Also, I think they were forced to have breakfast before being able to see it or open any presents.

      It was a darker time.

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  5. Vertical roll - I remember that. And test patterns! LOL

    Merry Christmas to you and yours, Ken! P.S. Thanks for following. :o)

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    1. We had a TV with a screwdriver permanently stuck through a hole in the back because the knob had been broken off from too many adjustments. I think if I were to whack our TV today, as hard as my dad used to, it would be in pieces!

      Merry Christmas, and it was my pleasure! :)

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  6. Merry Christmas to you & your family!

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    1. Merry Christmas McGuffy Ann!

      Hopefully everybody was home. :)

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  7. Merry Christmas, Ken. Next year, if you want to do outdo the neighbours, just put lights on your tractor. Beat that, Joneses!

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    1. Hi Suzanne,

      Merry Christmas to you as well! All of the Joneses around here have tractors. But none with Christmas lights. I'll look into that. Might need a ton of extension cord though? :)

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  8. My husband is one of those crazy folks who thrive during Christmas Eve shopping. Me? I'd like to think I am more practical and do my shopping in advance. We were early with our lights. Many didn't get up because of the cold weather. Our hands were freezing before we got the first strand across the gutter. The weekend before was in the 50's but it was Thanksgiving and I refuse to put lights up before turkey day. =)

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    1. Merry Christmas Tami,

      I used to revel in last minute shopping. Not so much any more. But I still like being there, watching the hustle and bustle of the crowds.

      Now it's time to move on to that other December holiday tradition. Watching the World Juniors. I have a feeling you may be watching that as well, although the jerseys you cheer for are a different colour. :)

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  9. Merry Christmas! I think it's sweet that you like doing your own wrapping. And even sweeter that you let the store clerk go ahead so you wouldn't hurt her feelings! I am not a huge fan of wrapping, but did much better this year as I tried to wrap as I bought the presents, rather than waiting to do them all at once, which is most definitely NOT FUN!

    I didn't get to see a Christmas Story this year...will have to do that before New Year's, I think. It reminds me of my dad, because he loved that movie. And I can relate to some of the things, like the ridiculous, unwieldy snow suit and, sadly, the tongue on the frozen metal!

    Merry Christmas!

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    1. Hey Kianwi!

      My wrapping used to be way more meticulous than it is now. If I have an edge that isn't quite straight these days, I'll just add a bigger bow to draw your attention away from it. However, I did end up wrapping everything in the final hours again, because the kids showed up with their bags of gifts and my time slot with the wrapping paper and tape got pushed to the end of the lot.

      I'd like to hear that story about your tongue! You must have been double dog dared? :)

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  10. I hope for the same thing bud.

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    1. I think we all do.

      Merry Christmas!

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  11. "Ken - inatractor" has been included in the A Sunday Drive for this week. Be assured that I hope this helps to point even more new visitors in your direction.

    http://asthecrackerheadcrumbles.blogspot.com/2013/12/a-sunday-drive_29.html

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    1. Thanks so much! I'll check it out!

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