As I was browsing through a magazine this morning I couldn’t help noticing how Christmas then and now are so different from what I remember. For one thing, preparations start so early these days. Back in the day when I was a child, the Christmas season began the day after Thanksgiving. Now it is common to see Christmas decorations right next to Halloween costumes. What next, Christmas in July?
As a child growing up in Atlanta, the big thing then was going downtown to watch the lighting of the Christmas tree at Richs Department store. Such sweet memories. My favorite store no longer even exists having been gobbled up by a mega conglomerate of stores that don’t have that special hometown feel.
Whatever the generation, though, Christmas entices traditions. With my kids, they couldn’t wait until the TOYS R US mini catalog came out in the local newspaper. They would go over that supplement until it was practically in shreds. I used to think they knew every toy TOYS R US had in stock! And another anticipated treat was to go riding in neighborhoods to see the beautifully decorated houses and yards.
Today my grandkids eagerly await Christmas, too. My 10-year-old grandson is following the same tradition as his mom and uncles–he can’t wait to get his hands on that beloved toy store catalog that seems to go everywhere with him. Both he and my granddaughter have more choices to spend hours dreaming about the toys they want than their parents had. There are now multiple popular catalogs available to whet kids’ appetites.
There are also more activities and ways for families to celebrate Christmas today than what was available to me when I was young. For the past few years, we have gone to watch the Parade of Lights festival of Boats in the local harbor. I have also started buying my grandkids Chocolate Advent Calendars. They get to have a chocolate treat each day for the 24 days leading up to Christmas.
It’s such a joy to watch the excitement of the Christmas season in the eyes of a child through whatever tradition families form. Christmas is a such a magical time if the year. And it is also the season of the best behaved kids on the planet. The threat of Santa Claus not bringing toys if you are naughty worked when I was a kid, it worked when my own kids were growing up and it seem to be working most of the time with my grandkids. And so a special thanks to Santa for keeping it all together.