Olaf, my new favorite Disney character, waits patiently for Christmas to arrive. Me … I’m finding it difficult to believe it will arrive at all this year. After so many years, I find it nearly impossible to get excited about almost anything. So I think back on childhood memories in the hopes of finding it there.
The square in Enid, Oklahoma glowed with magic exactly like the songs described … a magic no indoor mall could ever recreate. The simple single string lights hung across the narrow streets surrounding it and each department store created window displays that glowed in the dark and drew you in. Just after Thanksgiving the Sears Roebuck catalog arrived with a few pages of toys to dream about and beg for. The only Santa in town was at Newman’s department store and once there you made your final choice of that one unwrapped present he would bring Christmas Eve.
Now, we cruise around neighborhoods to see huge displays that brag on the millions of lights used this year. Music loops and blares in every store and parking lot until you can’t remember why you are there. Stores are lined with toys six shelves high on numerous long wide aisles. Competition and extravagance abound in America. No wonder we can’t find Christmas amidst all the hyperbole.
My favorite Christmas quote is from the Dr. Seuss story, the Grinch.
“It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages boxes, or bags! And he puzzled and puzzled, till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more.”
As I search for my excitement for Christmas, I think back on Olaf making snow angels in the snow and his infamous words: “some people are worth melting for.” And “I like warm hugs.” And the meaning of Christmas comes back to me. Giving is far more fun and far more meaningful than receiving. So I head to the kitchen to cook for my adult children and to fill the stockings I’ve filled for over forty years. I turn on the tree lights, tell Alexa to play some Christmas music and smile at Olaf. And so this is Christmas …