“Do you remember me; I sat upon your knee. I wrote to you with childhood fantasies. Well, I’m all grown up now and still need help somehow. I’m not a child but my heart still can dream…. So here’s my lifelong wish, my grown-up Christmas list…. “ —David Foster/Linda Thompson
It’s time to let the blame lie where it should. When it comes to my love of the holiday season, it’s obvious whose fault it is.
Where the fault always lies, I supposed. (No matter how old we get.) I blame my parents for encouraging me to write letters to Santa, wrapping tempting gifts and filling me with an excited sense of “what’s in the boxes?”
I blame them for helping me look for Rudolph’s light in the sky on the way back from Midnight mass, after singing “Silent Night” by candlelight.
It’s their fault I hang old and homemade ornaments along with the news ones on the tree.
I blame them when I crave chocolate in ridiculous amounts and feel a little let down if I don’t see chocolate stars somewhere between the peanut butter balls and pound cake.”
It’s their fault, right? After all, my childhood taught me every single year that Christmas as a whole was the sum of these parts.
Remember the tickets punched on “The Polar Express?” Learn. Lead. Rely On. Count On. Believe. My Christmas memories can best be described as the entire magical concept of that movie. But especially the word believe. What a beautiful, significant and adaptable word.
I know my kids won’t have the exact same experiences and memories as I did, but I’m trying. For example, the Charlie Brown and Rudolph Christmas specials just don’t mean the same thing to either of them as they did (and still do) to me.
I’ll be honest, it ticks me off. How can something so momentous to me not resonate with them in the same way? The first time my daughter questioned the terror of the Bumble in Rudolph, I was speechless. How dare she?
I may take myself and my experiences a little too seriously. I can be protective of my memories. They are as much a part of me as my internal organs, which I also kind of need.
More than anything, I want my kids, as adults with some years to back them up, one day be able to say “I get it.” In the middle of the chaos and overanalyzing-that will no doubt still be happening-of this special time of year, I want them to know, without a doubt, as I do, that they never have to feel guilty for believing in any of it.
I want, one day, for my daughters to help their children, if it happens that way, search for Rudolph’s light in the sky.
I want them to all sing Silent Night by candle light in the dark.
I want them to hang old and worn ornaments along with one brand new one every single year.
I want them to crave chocolate in ridiculous amounts, including, but not limited to, a handful of chocolate stars.
Just for fun, I also would love for the Bumble to make an appearance now and again. And if it’s not too much trouble, I want them to blame me for it one day.
Original version published in the Free Press Dec. 23, 2013