AMBIENT THOUGHT – Christmas Edition 2016

The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get use to the latter.

CHRISTMAS EDITION – Is Christmas Magic Gone?

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(This is about Christmas.
You can read this even if you don’t celebrate that particular holiday.
I’m not passing judgement, I’m just stating my thoughts and feelings.
And my beliefs…)

 

When I was a kid (yes, I start out a lot of my blog posts like that), I LOVED Christmas. I mean, of course I did. I loved everything about it. The build-up was wonderful. I’m from that generation that waited for the huge JCPenney and Sears catalogs to come in the mail (those poor mail deliverers). I would look at them from page one all the way to the end. I would bend down the pages where there was something I wanted and put a circle around them with a pen. I would mark a lot of things so my parents (and Santa) would have lots of choices. But the things I wanted the most got extra circles or big stars next to them.
As Christmas crept up, my mom would make fudge and occasionally make Christmas cookies. I would watch Christmas specials on TV like Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas, Rich Little’s A Christmas Carol, not to mention all the classic Christmas movies. All the Scrooge movies (my favorite being the one that stars Albert Finney), It’s a Wonderful Life and the best of the best, A Charlie Brown Christmas. That was special. Every time Linus would explain what Christmas was all about, I’d cry. Weepy child tears.
And I still do. Weepy adult tears.
And I’d think about all the things I might get from Santa that will be under the tree.
And oranges. We never actually had stockings. We had our dad’s all white tube socks and on Christmas morning, they were filled with apples and walnuts and those wonderful oranges. I can’t smell an orange or eat an orange without thinking of those gift filled mornings.
(By the way, the socks were clean.)
And being a boy who liked boy things, I cherished the Christmas morning I got a train set. A real electric train set. It was just a basic set-up but I didn’t care. I would run it for hours, round and round. And I LOVED the smell of the electricity going through the tracks.
And how I loved climbing under the tree, pushing presents out of the way and laying there looking up into the tree at the lights. The smell of the warm incandescent colored bulbs and the plastic tree would waft into my nose. I even fell asleep doing that a couple of times.

I even enjoyed going to stores with my parents during the holidays. The Christmas music that was piped in over the speakers and the crowds in the stores. I didn’t understand then why my mom and dad got so frustrated as they fought their way through crowds with a dreamy eyed sensitive child in tow who wanted to look at everything and wanted everything.
(Trust me, I know now……. I know now.)

For me as a child, EVERYTHING was magical at Christmas time.
EVERYTHING!!!!

As you get older, though, the magic seems to go away. We don’t want it to but life happens. You are given more or forced to take on more responsibilities. Jobs must be maintained to support yourself. Money must be paid to the bank, the power company, the water company, the gas company….and on…..and on.
Christmas just isn’t as grand as it once was.

Then you might have a child. All of a sudden, the magic comes back for a few years. Not so much for the things YOU get but the things you want your child to have. You want to see the look in their eyes on Christmas morning (or Christmas Eve, if you had that tradition). You want to see the joy that comes with opening a wrapped present and seeing what wonders lie inside. You hope they like what you got them, or what Santa brought them, and hope you see that magic grow inside them like it did in you.
You try and let them have a bit of what you experienced as a child. You want to share moments that you loved with them and hope it becomes part of their magic.

Then they get older and the things they want becomes more expensive and the magic for you subsides as you struggle to get them what they want to keep the magic alive for them as long as possible.
Then…one horrible moment happens. They find out the truth, what is myth and real.
As a parent, part of your soul dies. Just a little bit. You don’t want their magic to fade but you know it will in time.

The magic of Christmas is very hard to hold onto. We’ve become technologically dependent. We order most things online now or we become Black Friday warriors, fighting tooth and nail to get that $100 TV or that toy that is ‘in’ this year. We knock people out of the way and hit and curse at others.
Fists are raised, tempers flare, enemies are made, all in the name of Christmas.

There is no magic in that. None.

I wonder what it’s like for my daughter, who is knocking on the door of sixteen. Did the magic fade away for her? If so, when did it?
It breaks my heart.

Here I am at mid-life. As I write this, Christmas is a few short weeks away. Most things have been bought with just a few more things to go. Present wise, I’m sitting pretty well. The tree is up and the lights are strung. I’m thinking of having some time off and spending it with family. I might even try and find or make some fudge like the kind my mom made.
And I’m hoping to re-light that flame of some of that Christmas magic I once knew a long time ago.
Is it possible?
Some will think it is. Some won’t. The magic for them is long gone.

I believe you can have some of that magic.

Look. Christmas can be very stressful. You want to get people things they want but money can only be stretched so far. Some things might have to wait for later. Maybe even next year. Crowds are in the stores in full force. It’s enough for to drive one to drink.

But I believe the magic is still there. I have to believe that it is. If I believed that is was impossible to get back, I think I’d just give people gift cards or some cash and then go blow my brains out. Nighty-night.
The magic is still possible to be had. It’s there to be tapped into.
You just have to look.

And I figured out where the magic starts. It’s getting something that you didn’t expect.
And I know how to keep the magic going. It’s giving to those that didn’t expect anything from you.

What they said is true. Christmas is about the giving.
It’s ALWAYS about the giving.

It’s about giving of yourself. It’s not just in the big, expensive gifts, it’s about the ones that come from the love in your heart. Maybe it’s made with your own hands or it’s some little knick-knack you saw that cost  a buck but it made you think of somebody and how wonderful they are. The biggest part of the gift isn’t just the dollar priced present, it’s the story that goes with it and why it made you think of them.
That’s the biggest part of the gift. And the best part.

Of course, I have to practice what I preach. I want to give my loved ones everything they want. I get sad and frustrated when I know I’m not going to have the money to cover it all.
I promise to give them, whatever I give them, love included.

Love is the real present that Christmas brings.

Love is where the magic starts.

Love IS the magic.

 

I hope your Christmas, or whatever holidays you are celebrating, is filled with love and magic. And I hope you give others love and magic.

Merry Christmas.

I’m going to go crawl under the tree, look at the LED lights and take a nap.

-Loyd Elmore
Dec. 22rd 2016

 

I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.

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