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Christmas Nostalgia

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. – Merry Christmas!!!

Nostalgia – a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time.

Christmas is fast approaching or should I say racing toward us. As I get older, I realize how quickly the hours, days, weeks, months and even years pass and things change. The reason for the celebration of Christmas is still the same – the birth of the Christ Child, but the anticipation and preparation for that day has changed over the years.

Christmas would officially start the day after Thanksgiving. Santa would make his grand appearance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Christmas trees in town centers would be lit the following day and the shopping would begin. Today, Christmas decorations could be seen in the stores just about the same time that the Halloween candy is put on display. Stores are now open Thanksgiving Day and sometimes for 24 hours through Black Friday and the shopping frenzy continues until Cyber Monday and beyond.

Our Christmas shopping was done “downtown” in department and five & dimes stores The stores in our “downtown” are now all gone the way of the Mall, where Santa is in residence 2 weeks before Thanksgiving – he was just there – no parade or fanfare, waiting for good little boys and girls. Our Green would have a huge, beautifully decorated Christmas tree and a large Nativity scene—it still does, and it now has been joined by a Menorah.

Picking out our Christmas tree was an adventure – getting bundled up and heading out to the lot that sold the trees – and trying to pick out the perfect one. It was difficult to say the least, because we always went on the coldest night and the lot was only lit by a few strings of Christmas lights. – but we did find one – it might have been a bit sparse in places when we put it up -- but it was our tree – and it was Beautiful. And I can still remember the smell of the pine tree to this day – the smell of Christmas.

Growing up, our house did not have a fireplace, but come Christmas we did have one for Santa to come down. . My parents had purchased a red cardboard fireplace with “real” logs and a red light bulb that when lit, made it seem like the logs were burning. To us, it was the real thing and we hung up our stockings on it every Christmas Eve. And magically, Santa was able to come down our fireplace placing gifts such as Tiny Tears and Ginny dolls for me under the tree.

A child’s Christmas wonder can never be expressed in words – the awe, the sparkling eyes, the excitement -- and the belief in Santa. (Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus)

I really do miss those days, my parents and grandparents who made every moment of the Christmas season special and all my siblings and family and friends.

But I have a confession to make --- the years have changed and so have I. Our children are grown now and have families of their own. How different Christmas is without little ones around. I no longer bake the dozens of cookies and goodies that I had in the past (our waistlines and cholesterol levels suffer if we do)

I do most of my Christmas shopping online; have a pre-lit Christmas tree and the bakers at Costco prepare many of my holiday desserts.

What a wonderful stroll down memory lane for me as I write this.

But, what better time of the year for Nostalgia than Christmas