December 26th. The saddest day of the year for me. Isn’t it? Good thing Hanukkah is still going on. Our tree is still up, too, although its needles are dropping off by the hour. For a few more days, then, we’ll have Christmas.
For us it was a great holiday, and our girls certainly had a fun time. There were no toddler naps, but I didn’t really expect them. Running full-tilt during the holidays is what it’s about, right?! She could barely fall asleep on Christmas Eve, actually.
But today I thought I’d remember a few Christmas memories from my childhood – just to extend the holiday a bit more (because there’s no way in hell I’m going out to the stores today to do post-holiday shopping).
We had two fantastic vinyls when I was a kid: The Nutcracker Suite and The Swan Lake Ballet. Later we got a CD version, but to either I would dance around our living room for hours. First I would be doing ballet, and then when I was older I devised choreography for a gymnastics routine to a particularly lively number from Swan Lake. I can’t really recall the steps anymore, but I remember the feeling of that dancing being the only thing on my mind.
Isn’t it a wonderful feeling to have nothing to do but dance around? No responsibilities? Just snow falling outside the windows and quiet all around except a lovely Tchaikovsky song playing? That is the true meaning of carefree.
We always put up a Christmas village somewhere – on the open shelves of a hutch, on a deep windowsill – and it was my favorite decoration to assemble each year. I almost felt like I was part of the town we constructed, as if I could walk through it if I squinted and imagined myself shrinking to the size of the tiny ceramic figurines. I tried to give it a central square and separate the houses (especially the big “estate-looking” house) from the downtown businesses. I always was fond of building and architecture….
There was just a feeling of magic during Christmas – you know what I mean. It’s just there (and you feel such an absence on December 26th, right?), and you can’t help but get caught up in it. I’m trying to recreate it for our children, but … boy, it feels difficult sometimes to make magic like that as an adult. Kids just see things more simply yet more alive. Channeling a kid’s imagination is tough, but if I think hard enough I can remember those perfect Christmases I had when I was young….