My tale is one that encompasses all four elements: past, present, future, and "bah humbug." But because its heart is in the past, I requested the Goblin of Yuletide Past to visit me. And because I really like it, I am posting it here.
Here is my tale:
Christmas is most magical when there are children in the family. For many years now, it's just been us adults: my parents, my grandmother, my husband and me, my brother, and now his wife. And I have to admit that I had started to get sour on the whole holiday. Everyone in my family owns large stock in Visa and MasterCard (read: mondo credit card debts, yikes!), and yet there we were, blowing hundreds of dollars on cameras and calendars, sweaters and scarves, books and baubles and all sorts of things that no one really needed—or even wanted, when it really came down to it. The stress of figuring out what to buy, of braving December crowds in the mall, of making sure everyone had about the same number of gifts—it all got to be too much for us, and we eventually just called the whole thing off. Instead of sitting around the tree and trading hastily wrapped packages, we went to the movies one year. Another year, we just got together for dinner and a video from Blockbuster.
And although our checking accounts were probably thanking us for it, we had become jaded adults, and I think our souls mourned the loss of the holiday spirit.
But now I have a daughter, a beautiful, bright little eight-month-old, and she has not only filled an empty space in my heart I did not even know I had to the point of overflowing, but she has also brought back the holidays
This year, there will be decorations and presents, wreaths and holly, and, just like in my own childhood, a Christmas tree and a menorah, so that my daughter will grow up knowing her roots, even if those roots no longer dictate our beliefs. I wish for her the same holiday joys I had as a child: giggling with my brother as we unwrapped Christmas ornaments from their paper-towel nests and worked together to arrange them on the tree in just the right way, waking up early on Christmas morning and begging my parents to get up so we could unwrap presents, sliding down the stairs in our footie pajamas after we got bored with our new toys, drinking hot chocolate with mini-marshmallows from a mug as we ate freshly roasted chestnuts (oddly enough, one of the few foods my dad knew how to prepare), eagerly gazing out the car windows during evening drives to find the houses with the best holiday lights, sniffing the waxy scent of the Chanukah candles as we chose the colors we would put in the menorah that night, listening to John Denver's Muppet Christmas album as the family gathered around the fireplace, breathing in the crisp air and then exhaling it in a warm cloud as we stomped around in the snow during those several occasions that we had a white Christmas….
I look towards the present holiday season with my heart in the past, and I hope that in thirty years, when my daughter has a daughter or son of her own, she has nothing but fond, warm, deliciously happy memories of her girlhood holidays and wishes for the same for her child.