All I Want for Christmas…


Everywhere I looked I encountered the phrase: “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”. I didn’t understand it; I thought it must be in reference to some children’s book I was not familiar with or perhaps was a television show on a cable channel I didn’t get. Who was this “Virginia”? and Why was it so important for her in particular to understand that Santa Claus existed?

I didn’t know.

So, product of my generation that I am,  I turned to the internet and this is what I found: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yes,_Virginia,_there_is_a_Santa_Claus.

I’m not sure what I expected: a book, maybe, or an advertising gimmick. I didn’t expect it to be a newspaper editorial. I didn’t expect it to be so beautifully written. I didn’t expect the response to be so sincere and philosophical.

I didn’t expect to feel so lost after reading it.

I believe in many things that I cannot see or prove. I believe in Santa Claus too. But I’m a Grown-Up now and I don’t expect him to arrive during the night in a magic sleigh with magic reindeer for the express purpose of delivering a gift just to me. I don’t feel the same sort of breathless anticipation about Christmas Day that I used to either. The days leading up to Christmas are just days like any other full of stress and frustration and aching feet and bad moods. Christmas Day is a marathon of appeasing relatives and overindulging.  Gifts are just stuff. Cookies are just calories. Decorations are just another thing to clean up later.

To be a  Grown-Up is to be a wretched creature.

About a week ago my husband and I went to the hardware store to buy our first Christmas tree. We settled on a four foot plastic monstrosity that managed to look like a tree and a toilet brush at the same time. We brought it home and set it up on a makeshift table near our makeshift couch and we strung it with the string of lights we’d bought; an inadequate string of lights I might add that ran out halfway through being strung and leaving the tree naked from the waist down. And then that was all we could do: we didn’t have any more lights and we didn’t have anything else to decorate it with. It is probably my lamest Christmas tree ever. What once stood out in my mind as a symbol of transformation and beauty now stood on my end table as a symbol of disappointment and half-assery and it failed to put me in the Christmas spirit. So much so that the next day I found myself in a mall being literally bombarded by Christmas cues and thinking that “it doesn’t feel like Christmas time yet”.

It used to be that I believed that Christmas was special because I believed that my life would be fundamentally different because of it. I would stand outside  on Christmas Eve and look up into the dark, cold sky and imagine I really could see a tiny sleigh and reindeer and I would believe with all my might that Santa did exist and that he had a gift just for me that he was making a special trip to deliver. I could believe that this gift was anything and everything that I ever wanted from a pony to popularity and for one night everything that I ever wanted was within my grasp. I want, more than anything that could be wrapped in paper or tucked in a stocking to feel that way again. All I really want for Christmas is Christmas.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on December 10, 2010.

One Response to “All I Want for Christmas…”

  1. OMG! Christmas is a season of hope. It is a season of rebirth, beauty, celebration of renewal. How did those parts get lost for you, dear friend? The symbol of the birth of Christ brings joy, even to my broken heart. All the rest is fluff. Like I said regarding the wedding, all that mattered was that you and Ron and the minister showed up; all the rest was window dressing. This is a season to remember how much you love each other, your families, your friends. Smile and take a picture of that tree now and after you string some cranberries and popcorn and decorate it the old fashioned way. And do buy more lights!

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