Reflections on Christmases past

It won’t be the same next year when my daughter is at college (bah humbug)

I don’t take a whole lot seriously. However, there are certain things in life that require nothing less than solemn attention to details and traditions. I’ve compiled a list of those things that I shall now present. Henceforth they are committed to paper and nailed to a virtual door for all to see.

  1. Christmas.

Yeah, that’s it.

There’s nothing I look forward to more than the day that I wear down my wife’s resistance and all the boxes come out of the Christmas Closet. Every ornament triggers a memory from Christmases past — our daughter’s first; the year the power went out; that Christmas Eve when it was 60 and humid. Then we get to the decorations she made in school — crafted from yarn, glitter and Popsicle sticks. Near the bottom we rediscover way too many Star Trek ornaments and a Wayne Gretzky New York Rangers figure.

I’m not exaggerating when I say my love of Christmas is literally imprinted on our daughter. When she was two, I brought home a pair of heavy, hard-edged, iron stocking hangers, one of which she promptly yanked on and brought tumbling down. It just missed her head but left a bit of an angry reminder on her upper lip. It’s her own Harry Potter scar, only a little lower and with slightly less style. It’s not noticeable, but I see it.

For someone so enamored with Christmas, I’m happy that I seem to have passed the jingle bell gene along to my daughter. We got our dog on Dec. 12, 2012. He ran into the room, and she named him Figgy Pudding. Every night — from Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve — we hit the couch and start scanning for animated specials. She and I have created a holiday hierarchy — Rudolph is at the top, Frosty is a reluctant fallback. Dishes need putting away? It can wait — Heat Miser is singing. Got homework? Doesn’t matter — The Grinch is on.

We quote them year-round, and there’s a Leg Lamp from “A Christmas Story” that shines as a beacon in our front window no matter what season it is, alerting all passers-by that herein resides a weirdo.

I’ve been known to be a little nostalgic (see: 14 years of columns about my kid), so I view our annual Christmaslanche as a direct connection to the past. There’s no such thing as a time machine, probably, but when the Nativity scene is returned to its rightful place in the living room and I try to put antlers on the dog, it’s 2003 again.

Next year when my daughter is away at college, there will be a conspicuous void next to me on the couch as Linus asks for “lights, please,” and we may be putting the Christmas tree up without her. That should go fine.

Bill Burke used up all the glue — on purpose. He is a writer who lives in southern New Hampshire with his wife and daughter. He’s also the managing editor of Custom Publications at McLean Communications.

Categories: Dad on Board