Niagara Gazette

Columns

December 25, 2013

BRADBERRY: What IS Christmas, really?

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Does Christmas really have to be all about the money?

When I think about how much we’re spending on travel, shopping and food for the holidays I cannot help but wonder how in the world my parents could afford it.

Clearly, we spend money on travel because we want to be with family, at least for Christmas; the rest of the year, maybe not so much. Over the river and through the woods sometimes may be more than enough to last for at least a year!

And the gifts; do they really have to cost so much that our entire retail economy depends on it for the whole year?

Sure, when I was a kid, I loved Christmas gifts, I still do, but back then, our presents seemed to last longer even though, I am certain, beyond all reasonable doubt that my parents spent nowhere near $200 each on their eight children; in fact, I doubt that they spent that much for the whole “shebang!”

That Lionel train set I got when I was probably no more than seven or eight years old was made out of real steel; it survived several decades of serious abuse, being kicked, tossed, dropped and submerged hundreds of times without showing any significant signs of deterioration for years even after I handed it down to my younger brother who decided to see what it was made of and could never seem to put completely back together.

I was perfectly happy to get any additional accessory that I could add to my set every Christmas.

We always had huge jig-saw puzzles depicting Currier & Ives Christmas scenes piled on a big card-table set up someplace near the big tree which we all helped decorate with special baubles, bulbs and trinkets that Mom cherished for their memories; she’d say, “and this one was MY sister’s favorite” or, she might say, “We put this one near the top, the year YOU were born” she might whisper to each my baby sisters.

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