I'll Be Home For Christmas

Our style reflects a homey feel that screams comfort and joy.

I’m not going anywhere this holiday season. Like a seal, I’m going to spread myself largely over my pillow-laden couch and bask in the warm glow of the Christmas tree and useless television. With the remote in one hand and a cookie(s) in the other, I’m going to do nothing but relax.

And I’m not buying gifts either. That’s not to say, my wife won’t. I’ve already noticed a few odd-sized brown Office Depot boxes and small cairns of ‘gifty items’ around the house. “Who is that for?” I’ll inquire, one eye peering over the couch, the other never leaving the set. “It’s for the baby…just something simple. You remember how it was.” It’s a gift for my niece and her husband. They have a new baby and it will be their first Christmas together. I do remember those years with our son and they are beautiful remembrances. I thank my wife for being so thoughtful to my side of the family. I should be more like her.

In an attempt to ‘appear festive’, I’ve hauled the tree down from the attic. It’s a 3-parter, which I’d stashed in three large green garbage bags. (Every year I think I may just drag them to the curb.) It’s quite a good tree for a fake one. We’ve had it for five years now and the dark green plastic looks as fresh as ever. Once lit and decorated with newly bought lights, it will look even better. I’ve watched all the ‘Holiday Home’ decorating shows where they propose coming up with a theme for your tree. If you live along the coast, perhaps something Nautical would be fun or if you have little kids who watch a lot of TV, then maybe something Disney or Toys R Us would work. We don’t have a theme for our decorations. Our style reflects a homey feel that screams comfort and joy. We’re happy with the basic lights; a inclusive mix of color and white topped off with a sprinkle of various ornaments we’ve held onto throughout the years; a miniature leather baseball glove from when our son was an infant, a few white doves and small peace signs to show our roots and several handmade things that we still can look at without cringing. A touch of faux berries and ‘almost real’ plastic eucalyptus branch give a nod to the outdoors. Even though these are fakes, they make the tree look less artificial.
There are no nativity or religious themes. That may seem wacky being “Christ”-mas and all but well, in our home; we’re a bunch of pagans and that’s pretty much all year round. It still is a spiritual time for us though, a small moment for reflection and renewal. I’m thankful for what we have and hopeful that others can experience it too in their lives.

It’s quite cozy in front of the fireplace. Nestled here, I can lazily reflect back on some of my best Christmas memories. Most are from my childhood. There was nothing like that childish anticipation, (probably the most magical moment of your existence- ages 3 through11), as you tore down the stairs on Christmas morning to see what Santa had brought you. That initial vision of “stuff piled around the tree” always knocked me out. Sure, I was gullible but boy, did I want to believe! Things with your name on it and officially from Santa! I’d give a passing glimpse at the empty plate of cookies and the glass of milk half gone and wonder, ‘had Santa really touched those things?’ I truly believed he had.

Every Christmas, hockey paraphernalia crowded around our tree; the hockey sticks standing in the corner, a hockey sweater of the team you hated, a tabletop hockey game with interchangeable players. A puck. Cheap skates. Yes, the folks were there too, sitting on the couch yawning and directing traffic around the tree and gifts. It was odd because my two brothers and sister had zero interest in the sport and both my parents knew nothing about it either. I was the only one who religiously watched the NHL games on TV. I hoped that some Christmas, old Santa would maybe change it up a bit and replace the hockey sticks with authentic looking Tommy guns or carbine rifles, gifts that my friends got on a regular gift-getting basis. One year we did get weapons, cheap plastic 22-rifles with cheap plastic barrels that bent at what seemed… a 22-degree angle?
Ah, the magic of gift giving. It was forever a crapshoot; the anticipation of what you secretly expected and deserved and the head-scratcher that you ultimately received and deserved.

These days that magic has all but disappeared. What I cherish now are those small, private gifts of all those past memories. Sure, a few presents will be bought and there will be some effort to have friends over for dinner but I wouldn’t count on much more than that. If relatives and friends want to give us a call and wish us happy holiday tidings, I’ll be right here. I’m all for wishing them the season’s greetings and spreading the good cheer. I will be home for Christmas. You can count on me.

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