With the holiday bearing down on us like a wintry blizzard, my thoughts drift to so many present-surrounded Christmas trees of days gone by. They haunt me. The decorations, the smell of the homemade cookies filling the house, tins filled with sugary goodness stacked high throughout the house, sweet music floating in from the living room, and March of the Wooden Soldiers silently flickering in the corner. The days prior were consumed by boxes from the attic brimming with collectible ornaments and trinkets made in different grades through school filling the space around the tree, waiting to be unpacked for another Christmas.
I am overflowing with memories triggered by the smell of pine and baking cookies. Some are of Army men under the tree or my first racetrack buzzing around wrapping paper on Christmas morning. Others are of bouncing on Mom and Dad's bed as they pretended to sleep and the sprint to the Tree. Memories of my uncle, withered by cancer, opening his presents on his final Christmas weigh heavy while my daughters' first holidays lighten my spirit. My oldest found the box her first teddy bear came in to be the best toy anyone could ever make. The food seemed to never end and relatives visited late into the night. Many of those Christmases were snow-covered events with all the joy those flakes bring to young hearts.
Of course, these vision are seen through the tinted glasses of childhood, where everyone is happy, the mood perfect and each present thoughtfully chosen. There was no such thing as work or responsibility. The presents somehow merely appeared and weren't saved for all year or bought with overtime money that had been squirreled away. Each and every visitor stopped by the house to spread cheer and not out of feelings of obligation. Dysfunctional was a good thing back then and the tinted glasses kept the holiday grand.
With the blizzard of Christmas quickly coming, I prefer to don those childhood-tinted spectacles and keep the Christmas spirit. Everything seems to sparkle. I welcome the wintry weather. The overtime doesn't seem to be that bad. And the memories were worth the journey. They haunt me and I do not mind...especially the smell of baking cookies.