HOLY TINSEL - The Gift of Memory
It was idyllic. The tracks were shiny and the landscape perfection. A covered bridge led to a town where there was the close encounter of “if onlys.” If only I was small enough to walk around this miniscule creation and experience the contentment of the fixed gazes and smiles of the little people figurines. This was my promised land of Christmas morning. Despite the fact that I was never able to wish myself small enough to enter the elaborate train display, my Father permitted my Sisters and me to take over the controls and engineer the direction and timing of our prized Lionel locomotives. He had no gender bias in encouraging our interest and appreciation of our annual Holiday presentation. This was a ritual to be enjoyed.
The family Christmas tree demanded careful execution of decoration. At a young age I don’t remember anyone referring to an artificial tree. My Mother said that my childhood was before the inception of deception with regard to Christmas trees. The real deal always graced our living room. Allergies be damned! You were not sneezing or coughing from evergreen sap. You just had a cold. And when it came time to transition from tinsel to garland on our Christmas tree, my Father had a couple difficult Holiday seasons. It wasn’t easy to let go of his tinsel addiction. He was never one to let his family just throw tinsel randomly on the tree. He insisted that one strand at a time presented the right effect to family, friends, and neighbors. It was our serious collaboration to bring joy to the world through “creative disciplined imagery.” Honestly, that is how he explained and focused on the tree trimming.
But one of my favorite gifts of Christmas memory is one that I remember and treasure every year. It was a personal visit from the jolly man himself. I was approximately 4 or 5 years old and lying in my bed in anticipation of the morning to come. Lo and behold and very quietly, Santa Claus looked down over me and gave me a huge smile. It was a peaceful and happy moment with absolutely no fear. Over the years this memory resurfaced, but I kept quiet about it The best description and reasoning (I guess) behind this explanation is that I enjoyed keeping a secret with such a privileged celebrity as Santa Claus. However, the best part about this gift came years later when I complimented my Parents on what I considered a great idea in the art of convincing and reinforcing my belief in Santa. They looked at each with astonished disbelief. They swore that they had no connections to my occurrence with Santa Claus….And that is why I believe !