For me, Christmas hasn’t really changed over my entire life, it takes place on different days (my parents divorced when I was 18) but in general the theme has stayed the same. The most important thing to me around the holidays is getting together with the people I love, whether it be on December the 12th or sometime in the middle of January when everyone can get organized. I like the food the drinks and the parties. I look forward to watching the World Junior hockey tournament that starts on Boxing Day every year and seeing people that I haven’t seen since Thanksgiving.
My favourite memory from when I was young (probably 10 or 12 years old) was sitting around the kitchen table by the roaring fire-place playing a board game (The Farming Game) and listening to a play on the stereo (Letters From Wingfield Farm) with my family – eating snacks and just relaxing, having a quiet day at home with nothing to do. I couldn’t tell you what I got for Christmas for presents that year, in fact I can’t remember what I got last year either, but I can remember that afternoon (and many like it) from almost 20 years ago.
I think about how easy that afternoon was to organize (no organization at all) those afternoons and contrast that to the people I see roaring around the mall with three to five page lists of presents to buy for friends and family and wonder how much enjoyment these people are going to get from spending all the money they are going to spend. Everyone has seen the VISA television commercials where people’s credit card bills magically disappear – what the credit card companies won’t show are the people paying for Christmas until next spring because they decided someone needed a special “thing” that was not affordable to them at all.
It seems that the holidays have become much more commercialized in the past 10 or so years, with the introduction of such things as super-expensive video game systems and fancy electronic toys. “When I was younger there was no such thing as fancy electronics” (In the words of an old curmudgeon) – I didn’t own a video game system until I was 13 or 14 (which I bought for myself) and at most got a few toys that probably cost around $10-$15 each. Fast forward to today when even cheap toys cost around $30 and I can understand why people go broke over the holidays.
I recently had a discussion with my wife and was talking to her about the cost of toys and how many toys we were giving to kids and how they wouldn’t even realize that we bought them this awesome “thing” because they are getting 20 awesome “things” to go along with it. Remembering my favourite Christmases, it definitely wasn’t the forgotten toys that made it special – it was family, food, and laughter. If more time was spent thinking about that then running around to malls, maybe people would be a little less stressed (and broke) at the end of the season – putting a little less emphasis on presents and a little more on visiting and fun.
Do you have any special memories/ideas for Christmas fun? Can you remember any awesome toys you got when you were younger(maybe jog my memory)?