I love Christmas, and I like to think I have Christmas magic. From where does the magic come? Everywhere, of course. Popcorn strung on the tree with my homemade paper rings as a child, giant 9 foot trees, homemade ornaments crafted by Grandmother Eleanor, the peace in my usually violent and scary home, the selflessness of my normally self-absorbed parents, the cocoa by the wood burning stove, the beautiful sparkling tree at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, the delicious desserts at Aunt Jeanette’s, the love I felt from parents who more often made me wish I was not on this earth, all of these things and more make Christmas magical.
My birthday is Christmas Eve and my mother always made it separate and wonderful from the Christmas holiday. I remember when I was 10 and she gave me Chipmunk Punk for my birthday, it was the best album ever. Those high-pitched vermin singing “Call Me” by Blondie is priceless. My house was normally a scary, walk on eggshells so as not to be broken by them environment, but we always had a détente at Christmas; we had peace and love just once a year, and it was wonderful. I remember baking cookies every year. My parents absolutely should not have had custody of me, but they did, and I’ve continued wonderful Christmas memories of fresh trees and baking cookies in our home.
Even our secular version of Christmas at the Kingdom Hall with the Jehovah Witnesses in our family on my Dad’s side with everyone else on that side of the family was huge fun; everyone got together, didn’t exchange presents, hung out, listened to music and ate food; so many great memories. I remember making pumpkin squares with my Aunt Sheila and chocolate chip cookie bars too, lots of memories tied up in food. Right or wrong, mostly wrong, food is love, in my mind. I cannot get through the holidays without some of my favorite comfort foods, but that just makes me a typical American.
I don’t hesitate anymore to tell the truth about my childhood and my parents, but today, on my birthday, I can remember all of the awesome celebrations and beautiful moments we had as a family. Today, for Christmas, I can relive the magic of childhood Christmases with my own children and make wonderful memories for them. The magic of Christmas, of course, if you didn’t already figure it out, is love. Love is the greatest gift of all.