This is actually a winter thing, not just a Christmas thing, but Christmas falls in winter, so I had to cheat.
Who had such a horrible childhood that they didn’t enjoy the falling of snow? Little white flakes cascading through the air, building up and threatening to cancel school. True, now that I’m older, snow is more of an inconvenience than a joy, but there’s still a great amount of wonder, the flickers of a childhood flame.
I have my wife to thank for this one. She still sits by the window and watches the snow fall, makes snow angels, and builds snowmen. Every year, there’s a great wonder and awe in her eyes that is far too contagious for my own good. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Yes, I sound like a girl, but you sound like shut up. I like the atmosphere of Christmas. People dressed up for the winter, the Christmas carols playing on the speakers, the green and red wreathes and ornaments dappled everywhere, and Cinnabons never smell sweeter. To me, the mall is a conglomeration of the Christmas “aura.” Yes, it’s also the scene of rampant materialism, but you take the good with the bad, you know?
#9–Ornamental Coke Bottles
I know it’s stupid, okay? I know they don’t hold any more Coke than a can, and I know they cost a dollar when you can get 12 cans for $4. But darn it, they’re shaped like ornaments and they have cute polar bears on them! What am I supposed to do?!
#8–Captain Crunch’s Christmas Crunch
I hadn’t actually eaten this in years, but my wife and I got a box this week and man, oh, man, I may as well have had onesie pajamas with feet. It doesn’t really taste any different from regular Crunch Berries, but it LOOKS like it tastes different, and psychology is half the battle.
My only complaint is that they used to have this powdery stuff that turned your milk red. Where’d that go?
I’m not referring to K-Mart’s “Jingle Balls” commercial (snicker), but some of the old commercials that have gained a kind of timelessness. For example, Coca-cola always has polar bears, and they’re awesome. M&M’s have that commercial where both Red and Santa faint because they see that the other really does exist. And does anyone remember the commercial where Santa stopped by KFC because you got a Giga Pet with each meal? Or the snowman that melted into a real boy because he had some Campbell’s soup?
But my all-time favorite Christmas Commercial is the Hershey’s kisses playing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” Dinga-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling-a-liiiiiiiiing! *Phew!* Don’t get it? Okay, here’s a link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HtSLF4vlrk
I think this year, I finally crossed the line into “cynic” with Christmas music. New songs suck, new renditions of old songs have the possiblity of sucking, and the radio not only plays the same songs over and over, but they play the same VERSIONS of the songs over and over.
But honestly, I’m more into carols than Christmas songs. Old-school classics that knew how to tell a story to a lovely melody that anyone could sing. I love when my church plays Christmas carols set to modern instruments. When done right, this is a lot of fun.
But when they do a crappy version of a great song, I want to excommunicate myself. Please, carol responsibly.
I’ve pretty much outgrown the Rankin/Bass specials, but there are some that I still cannot go a year without, and others I watch at least every other year. Here’s my list of favorite Christmas movies:
How the Grinch stole Christmas
The Muppet Christmas Carol
Charlie Brown Christmas
Claymation Christmas (5 points if you remember it)
It’s a Wonderful Life (not quite a Christmas movie, but still…)
I’ve also become a fan of the motion-capture Christmas Carol. And I know Home Alone 2 was a shameless copycat of the first movie, but I have an old VHS taped copy from the TV, so it has old Christmas Commercials, which goes back to number 7. Besides…Tim Curry.
I’m very food-oriented, so this is a special one to me. Red-and-Green M&M’s, Hershey’s Kisses with colored foil, candy canes, peppermint bark, White Chocolate shakes at Steak ‘n’ Shake, fudge, pudding, and every variety of Christmas cookie imaginable.
But my favorite is the miniature Reese’s wrapped in red, green, and gold foil. Every year since I was a kid, my mom put one of those big candy canes full of little Reese’s in my stocking. I’m 25 now. Am I going to tell her to stop because I’m a grown man now? No I am not!
#3–Seeing a present with my name on it.
Whine about Christmas commericalism and greed all you want–I know I have–but when you see your name on the tag of a package under the tree, something inside you ignites with glee. Someone thought of me! I’m special! What is it, what is it?! And you begin the fun game of guess-that-gift. Measuring it, shaking it, judging the weight. Nothing like a good surprise, eh?
#2–Time with my Parents
I know a lot of people just put up with their relatives on the holidays, or at worst, absolutely dread going to see family. That was never the case with me. I have a good relationship with my parents, and if you don’t, I’m very sorry to hear that and I don’t want to rub my joys in your face, but this really is one of the fondest memories I have surrounding Christmas.
We always celebrate on Christmas Eve. It used to be in the evening, then we switched to a chicken lunch with all the fixings. We eat a good meal, open presents, and sometimes sing songs or watch movies, but before all of that, Dad always cracks open the Bible and reads out of Luke, the Christmas story. Once or twice he read out of Isaiah about the prophecy concerning Bethlehem. The point is, we always remember that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, not stuff, not even family, but about “unto you is born…a savior.”
This year, we’re going back to evenings and our family is getting bigger. My little brother just announced his engagement, and we’re hoping our new sister can make it this year. If not, they’ll come together next year as man and wife. I can’t wait!
I wish I could say that this was my number 1, but it’s not, and there’s a very good reason why.
Why is a material thing like a tree higher than family? Because this isn’t about what’s best, but about what makes me feel like a little kid, and the Christmas tree trumps all.
It’s the tree that brings back every other thing on this list. It makes me think of cozy living rooms with roaring fireplaces. It makes me think of Christmas goodies on every counter and the smell of something savory in the oven. It makes me think of exchanging gifts and time with family. It makes me think of silly things like ornamental Coke bottles and novelty cereals.
The tree itself is really not that important. Sure, I like the decorations and lights, but what’s truly important to me is the symbol. A symbol of love and joy, of a cold quiet that brings us all together, of the anticipation of a Savior.
But most of all, it’s a reminder that there’s a child inside of me, still very much alive.
Merry Christmas to all the children whose hearts still beat inside their grown-up shells.