My whole life I’ve struggled to enjoy Christmas.
Growing up I wondered what Santa Clause would bring me as the day grew close. My twin brother and I knew that Mom and Dad were hiding the gifts that Santa would bring and we would look for them under every hiding spot in the house.
As I reflect on why I really didn’t like Christmas it was because I missed tbe true meaning of what it should really be.
Having grown up in a Christian based home and crafty Mormon families in Utah and the lights of Temple Square being so festive. The Holiday spirit was always displayed and you could really feel the Spirit of Christmas.
There were several years that I would get things under the Christmas tree that really wasn’t expected. Id like to remember them and try to think about what Mom and Dad did to try to provide happiness to each of the children.
One year I was gifted a puppy a small Poodle we called Snowby. She was white and fluffy and so loving. This was a highlighted Christmas gift and I would love that dog for almost 15 yrs.
Another Christmas I enjoyed was a time that we spent at Grandma and Grandpa Taylors. Such a small house on the farm, we all woke up to gifts and family and a day filled with Uncle Howard driving us around in a sled with his jeep. No seat belt and no rules just hold on or your about to break teeth and bones. Life was fun back when I was young.
I spent a few teenage years trying to figure out what to buy girlfriends as a young man. I usually could only afford a box of chocolates. Wasn’t a bad choice. Most people still actually enjoy that simple gift.
When I joined the military I joined during Christmas. I spent Christmas away from my pregnant wife in the company of other scared Airman who missed home. We were given a really good meal and for some reason I do remember that the drill instructors were particularly nice that day. I may have only been yelled at once. Now that is truly a gift to remember Sgt Jones not yelling at us to get in step or to clean this or whatever…He may have been the real Santa Clause that day.
I deployed to Desert Storm during Christmas. I remember filling sandbags and digging bunkers on Christmas Day in a land I wasn’t Lokal to Saudi Arabia. We were preparing for gift from the sky. These weren’t from Santa but from Saddam Hussain. His idea of showering us with bombs was a far cry from reindeer flying above. Lord help us we made it through and we all embraced each other and there was a sense of togetherness that we all shared. Our family was truly one filled in camo patterned Chem suits.
I even played Santa for 13 yrs to my best friends son who believed Santa would call him every Christmas Eve and ask him if he was good enough this year that I could stop by while he was sleeping to drop off some really neat gifts. Donn finally asked me when Tyler reached 15 to stop because he was getting in arguments at school because he and Santa were really good friends.
Roll forward a few years I found myself on the Aleutian Islands spending time away from Sylvia. The work crews were busy pushing snow off the runway so that the planes could fly over the Russian skies. We had a really nice dinner that night and my friend Big AL would give a nice speech about the meaning of Christmas. He is a big man. 6’5″ 280lbs. I kept looking at him eyeballing the king crab and the prime rib while he gave his speech. I was happy I was closer to the food than he was so I could get my share of those crab legs. Later we all sat at the table and enjoyed the commaraderie between us. What a great year it was with Bodden, Big AL Verley Ebner Weidauer the list goes on. We truly were family there and that was Christmas enough for me.
Spending time in Korea for Christmas was fun. What some people don’t realize is that for a white boy I speak pretty good Korean. Santa Haraboji was just as jolly and significant as he was in America and Saudi Arabia. Christmas Spirit was alive and well and even the dirt poor Koreans enjoyed singing carols during this joyous season.
Several years later and several locations away from my family I always struggled knowing why I didnt relate to Christmas. Was it because I was somewhat slighted when I received less than what my spoiled sister got for Christmas? Was it because yet another Christmas has slipped away without being close to my family? I dont really know
This year is special. I’ve been blessed to find peace and happiness with my Dad and my Mom and make peace with myself for the grudge I’ve held onto for so many years. I’m very close to my cousin Paige who reaches out to send me the Ballard Christmas Letter and thoughts of love from the family I hold dear. I’ve made amazing friends this year and spent some really awesome time with special people in other states. Oregon was one of my favorites as well as California Arizona Montana Utah New Mexico and of course Washington. Who knew there was a Milwaukee Oregon…fond memories of the PNW.
Christmas may actually be something I will learn to love. Somehow I’ve been gaining a better understanding that we are all guided and given things and none of this would be possible if we weren’t truly blessed by a bigger power to guide us along the way.
As much as I dislike Christmas I love my Christian beliefs and if we didnt try to make it more than what it really was I may enjoy it more. We celebrate the birth of Christ. I’d like to stick to more of that than gifts.
I’m lucky this year. I may have recently reconnected with someone who has shown me it’s best to enjoy my own company
Getting a puppy at the age of 6 was special but being back with her is surreal to me. I can only hope to have as many wonderful years with her as I possibly can and find a way of celebrating Christmas time as something special for both of us.
The Lord works in mysterious ways they say. I can only hope his plan is guiding me to be better. looking out the window tonight there is no snow on Dec 15th. But CHRIST…No Mas No Less is here.