Here's an exercise for you - Come up with the one definitive Christmas moment or day?
Here's the problem - Is it possible?
If you've gone through a large share of Christmas Days, you have one or two moments on each day that stands out in your mind. Some have sentimental value, others have the surprise factor and one or two are so surreal, there's no way you can forget it or downplay it.
That's why it is impossible to really, really find that one moment that defines Christmas. They're like snowflakes - every Christmas Day is different from the others. No one snowflake or Christmas Day is better than another, just different and unique.
This is what I remember from Christmas Day:
- My daughter's first Christmas she was able to participate in, where she tore through everyone's presents - because she believed they were all for her and all of them were from Santa. No one told her any different. She still has my new Nike driver in her room, because Santa wanted her to be a golfer like Daddy.
- I gathered my two younger brothers in my room when I was 9 and waiting for my Dad to set up the stage light and the camera to tape everyone opening their presents. It took him hours and two trips to the one hardware store that was open on Christmas morning to get another light bulb. We fell back asleep and opened presents after lunch.
- A few years later, on Christmas morning, the three of us marched in step into the living room and sat down in spots to hide from the camera to open presents.
- The first Christmas away from home was my first Christmas in the Northwest. I tried to just play off the day like it was any other day - a day off without work - and it failed miserably. My family, aunts, uncles and cousins sent me box after box of gifts, decorations and candy to help me celebrate the day.
- My first Christmas with my future wife started with Midnight Mass and ended with me, her uncle and her sister's boyfriend watching pro wrestling tapes and yelling Christmas caroling lines to highlight the matches.
- Every Christmas back home includes playing of the Christmas tapes of past, including the afternoon "morning" opening and the march in. All of them have enough cringe-worthy moments for everyone and I usually stay out of the room when they play. The one year when my Mom didn't put in the tapes, no one missed them and she never let us forget it. A transfer DVD of those tapes are on my desk right now.
- Yesterday, my daughter, now 4, told Mommy what Daddy bought for Christmas. How did she know? She found the receipt from the store that didn't make it into the trash can and gave it to her. She was cleaning up the kitchen with Mommy, throwing away trash and found it. Now Mommy is mad at me for spoiling (as in giving gifts early/forgetting to put them away) Christmas again.
Snowflakes, each and every one of them and none of them involved any actual present received. That would be an entirely different and much longer list. And, in all honesty, it isn't as much fun as this one.
Have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone.