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Merry Christmas

December 20, 2019

Yet another Christmas is upon us but unlike past years, I will not bore you with our normal greetings or lists of what we have done this past year. Instead, I wanted to turn to the subject of the Christmas Spirit.

However you define it, the Christmas Spirit is something that is almost totally lacking in our society today. It might be the spirit you feel in church, with your family or simply the warmth in your heart. Whatever it is to you personally, it has changed and evacuated for the most part from our Christmas experience.

In our house, we celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve because that’s how it was done in the Tirol. Santa would ring a bell at midnight so that anxious children would know it was time to leave the bed and join the family in front of the tree. I remember those Christmas Eves from the past when my whole family was together. It wasn’t about fancy gifts; most of our gifts were hand-made crafts of one sort or another. Even into my adult years, I would bring my father a gag gift with many empty boxes inside each other, usually with a Provalone cheese in the most inner box. These were simple times but the true spirit of the Christmas season seemed always to have prevailed. It was about being with loved ones and sharing a special time with them. It was about recognizing a special time of year reserved for reflection, pride and love.

By contrast, Christmas today is marked by panic buying of loads of Chinese crap that no one really needs nor wants. It’s all about money from every angle. Who is greedier: The merchants or the public? People feel forced to put up an artificial tree. It is done out of laziness and without spirit but is excused as being environmentally correct. Worst of all, the Christmas Spirit has been largely lost in a vacuum of commercialism combined with a loss of soul.

Often family members are scattered across the globe and there exists little will to bring the family together for the holidays. Johnny just got a huge promotion in New York and can’t make it.  Jane would like to come but the four children would be too much of a hassle. Let’s just go out to a restaurant and have some turkey with strangers.

Distinctly I remember my favorite Christmas. Christmas Eve was spent with my parents and my siblings as we enjoyed our traditional evening together. It was a quiet evening of love and good food prepared with love. Gifts consisted of home-made beef jerky, smoked salmon and the now familiar Provalone. The next morning, Christmas Day, I got back up well before dawn and walked alone in the Oregon woods. I climbed to the top of a small hill and sat, surrounded by whispering pines in a light breeze, reflecting on all that was good in the world as dawn spread its first rays.

To all of you, my dear readers, I wish you a Merry Christmas. Please remember what is merry in your life and keep the Christmas Spirit alive and well within your hearts.

Photo: Christmas in 1960. I am presenting a handmade gift to my mother.

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34 Comments
  1. We’re having a quiet Christmas, too. Half a tree on an antique library table makes the neighbors think we have a full-sized tree. Hey, there’s a wreath on the front porch. Making donations to favorite ministries, thankful to be alive and able to share. Thank you, Allen.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Buon Natale anche a te.
    Noi ci riuniamo io e i miei due fratelli con i nostri figli e ormai qualche nipotino ..Siamo in 12 . Una cena tutta rossa con le candele Insomma un po’ di atmosfera ci vuole per distinguerlo da tutti gli altri giorni.
    Ormai da anni i regali tra noi grandi non ci sono perché vengono fatti soltanto ai bambini.

    Noi ci vogliamo molto bene e non potrei pensare a Natale senza di loro.

    Un abbraccio grande e grazie dei tuoi ricordi.

    💚🌲🌲🌲

    Liked by 2 people

  3. L.Roach permalink

    Buon Natale e Felice Anno Nuovo! Looking forward to your posts in 2020!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Merry Christmas to you. May the spirit of this sacred time be with everyone.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Merry Christmas and Buon Natale.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Buon Natale! È la festa dello stare insieme, purtroppo anche con i nostri cari si va spesso di corsa. Per me è sempre la migliore occasione per capire che basta poco per sentirci felici.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Great memories
    I often miss my past Christmases, too
    🎄❤🎄❤🎄

    Liked by 2 people

  8. wünsch euch !! friedlichen und stressfreies wochenende-,, alles gute zum weihnachten !! vielen dank !!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I remember many of the cheesy handmade and gag gifts I used to dole out at Christmas.😄 One Christmas when I was alone, the dogs and I went early into the mountains to cross-country ski. I brought them some goodies and myself a shrimp cocktail. It was a special day in many ways.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. You make a lot of good points, Allen. Christmas Eve was always the focal point for us when growing up in Brooklyn. Because we were poor (no shame in that), we always waited until the last minute to purchase our tree. My dad would bargain and haggle until he finally obtained a skinny balsam for three or four dollars, usually positioning it in our living room with its inevitable bare spot hidden in a corner. Then, my brother and I would help with the decorations, including those bubble lights that are now collectors’ items. Last, but not least, we would toss lead (yes, I said lead) tinsel and marvel how it always managed to catch a branch and hang down perfectly straight. Ah, yes, those were the days. Thanks for reminding me of them. Buono Natale to you and Rachel!!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. All the best to you and yours this holiday season. 🎄🍹

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. OKONKWO BEN CHINEDU permalink

    Like your write up

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Wishing you a wonderful rest of your holidays & a great 2020. I agree — more & more people are getting fed up with expectations & materialism of holidays…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I’m really glad to read such a wonderful thought, it’s good to have people on this planet who have internalised the essence of Christmas and celebrate it in true sense and spirit !

    Liked by 1 person

  16. BING CROSBY 4EVER&4ALWAYS ❤ MERRY CHRISTMAS TO EVERYONE

    Liked by 2 people

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