An epiphany hit me a few years back that will forever enable me to value Christmas even more than I already do. It dawned on me that if you’re lucky you’ll enjoy about 80 Christmas’ in a lifetime. Eighty! That’s all. Obviously some will enjoy 100, and sadly some will only be present to enjoy an extraordinary few. So I’m averaging.
It seemed to me that 80 wasn’t much. I mean, if you packed them all back to back you don’t even get three months worth. Then when you subtract the first 3-5 years that you will never remember, and subtract the holidays when you have to work, and subtract the times when circumstances keep you from your loved ones the number diminishes more and more.
So for a celebration I have already always enjoyed, I vowed to really cherish each Christmas, and to remember them.
My childhood Christmas celebrations were usually fabulous. For this I can thank my father. Dad was really big on Christmas. He always decorated the house with the most lights of any other on our middle class block. And he spoiled my brother and I with everything we wanted every year and a few things we didn’t know we wanted. I distinctly remember one shopping season when I went out of my way to ask my Dad NOT to buy me the increasingly popular plaid shirts that every department store seemed to have. I didn’t like them. I got two that Christmas. I didn’t wear them for months…but then gave in to the fad and wore them all the time.
When The Fonz was real popular on the TV show “Happy Days” in the late 70s I asked for a leather jacket as a gift. I wanted to look like Arthur Fonzerelli. I guess I wasn’t specific enough. Because my Dad did buy me a leather coat. But it was a bomber’s style coat. The kind with the furry collar lapel. Again, I didn’t like it at first. But like my Dad somehow always knew…I came to love it. I wore it religiously from age 13 well into my 30s when my added 20 pounds didn’t make it a good look any more. I gave it to my son about 5 years ago. Like me he didn’t like it or ever wear it…until recently. In the past 2 months he doesn’t go anywhere without it. You better believe I love that.
I was working on Christmas Day 1985 as a DJ at a small country music station. But before working the night shift and after visiting my Mom’s home and then my Dad’s, I managed to squeeze in a short 10 minute visit at my girlfriend’s house. There, at the age of 21, I asked my girlfriend to be my wife. I gave her a humble diamond ring; black hills gold leafs with a small diamond laying between them. My wife deserved so much more. So on Christmas morning 2007 after our kids excitedly woke us up to tell us that Santa had come, before getting out of bed, I rolled over, reached into my nightstand and pulled out the ring’s replacement. The much larger stone and white gold looked beautiful on her finger. And still does.
But easily my all time favorite Christmas was 1998. Our house was full with visiting family from California, and as usual we hosted the Christmas dinner. All our loved ones were there. My pregnant wife went into labor right after we’d all enjoyed our desserts, and around 8:30pm Christmas night we waved goodbye to all those people in our house and drove to Overlake Hospital in Bellevue, WA where we were presented at 6:03 am December 26th, 1998 with our all-time best Christmas gift. We gave our daughter the name Micah Noel. Micah being the Biblical prophet who foretold the birth of a savior in the City of David, Bethlehem. And, of course, Noel the 14th Century English word for Christmas.
I’ve been blessed with many great Christmas’; but these are the highlights. May your day be special and most important may it be a memory representative of how few of these holy days we get to enjoy in our very short lives.
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