I remember Christmas. It was a time, not too long ago, when the Holiday Season was a happy and joyous time. Most Americans understood that the Thanksgiving celebration was simply a rehearsal or practice for the “real” holiday, which was, of course, Christmas. Parents and children, alike, were full of excitement and curiosity. Parents were excited to see their children’s eyes light up after opening the Christmas gifts that were so graciously left by old St. Nick. The closer we approached Christmas Day, the harder it was for children to fall asleep because the excitement and curiosity of wanting to know if Santa Claus had remembered to deliver our favorite action figure or race track set was nearly unbearable.
I remember Christmas. It was a time that rewarded the early bird and chastised the tardy. By the time a child was five years old, his or her parents mastered the art of shopping early. No parent wanted his or her child to be left out due to Christmas shopping at the last minute. No, sir. The Christmas that Johnny didn’t get the G.I. Joe with the Kung Fu grip was not going to be replicated if Johnny’s parents had anything to do about it. Even at the cost of enduring the infinitely long toy store lines, parents understood that the joy of Christmas came with some degree of sacrifice.
I remember Christmas. Many people’s parents worked a lot of overtime during the Holiday Season, which I didn’t understand at the time. “If Santa Claus and his elves make all the toys for Christmas, why did my mom and dad always work so many overtime hours this time of the year? Maybe they work for that guy, Ebenezer Scrooge. What the heck”, I thought. “I’m a kid, and they’re grown ups. They know what they’re doing.”
Back then, mom and dad were willing and able to work overtime in order to pay for the cost of celebrating Christmas, and they didn’t have to charge any of the expenses on a credit card. Mom and dad had good paying middle-class jobs that allowed all of us a comfortable way of life. Mom and dad weren’t stressed by rising food prices, rising gas prices, and rising unemployment. Mom and dad weren’t worried about spending a little extra during the holidays at the expense of not being able to pay next month’s mortgage or rent. Mom and dad didn’t have to occupy Wall Street or any street to demand that the 1% make the American Dream obtainable for the 99%. Mom and dad could enjoy Christmas because they were living the American Dream.
I remember Christmas. Yes, I remember Christmas. However, as we enter, yet, another Holiday Season and approach a new and extremely uncertain year, what will the next generation of children remember about Christmas? That’s something I’d really like to know, and I hope and pray that it will be a time that the children would like to remember.